So, You Want To Make A DIFFERENCE??

So, You Want To Make A DIFFERNENCE??

First of all, you are alive; accept it.

The absolute most important thing is to know is yourself.

Love yourself as a creation of supreme existence. Cherish and Love yourself and YOUR LIFE. It is a gift that you chose and are choosing to accept.

Live it.

Let change move you into higher grounds, and allow others to change.

Number two, some suggestions:

Quit smoking FOR THE AIR, let your body benefit.


Never buy paper towels again FOR THE TREES. Use a towel. Or save and use your napkins that are otherwise getting tossed.

FOR THE OCEAN: Everything you touch that is plastic, THINK about whether you need that thing. Can you live with out it? If so, then you don’t need it!
that includes:
-Your daily starbucks coffee drink (bring your own cup)
-To go salads (make your own)
-The straw from lunch (just let your server know that you don’t use straws when you sit down)
-Plastic containers of detergent (you can buy powdered detergent in a cardboard box), etc, etc.


Take a shower every other day, or at least take short showers — your body cleans itself naturally. Use essential oils like a victorian princess.

Make your own cleaning and beauty supplies:

Walk or ride a bike whenever you can — your transit might be the best part of your day and a beautiful way to spend time with yourself.

Eat wisely, you are what you eat. Consider and respect the animal on your plate. Consider and respect the extra box of organic spinach grown hydroponically and transported across three states. Consider and respect the tomatoes from your neighbor, from the hand of an immigrant farm worker, from a can. Consider your organic, processed health bar you bought on sale. Consider eating whole foods and growing your own.


And how about new clothes? It is not unlikely that you never need to buy another article of clothing ever again, considering you can live naked from the moment you were conceived until your last breath.

The truth is we are not far removed from anything; not from the Great Depression Era that only a few generations ago forced every single individual in the U.S. to conserve and save everything, food, water, clothes, paper, and everything was a commodity, nothing was wasted. Ask your Grandma.

Nor are we removed from the indigenous peoples world wide that live traditionally to this day.

We are not far removed from the hunger, the happiness, the hate, the humanity.

Wether you choose to see it or not, we live with thousands of individuals and families who live on the streets, scraping their lives together;
and maybe in the past that was even you —
maybe it will be you in the future…

You are not separate from the animals.
You are not separate from the grasses, cactus, fruit trees.
You are not separate from the war, from the tsunami.



Know this and grow with it. Feel it.

Sulking gets us no where. LOVE MOVES.

Let the shadow push you to the light.

Connect with others in GENUINE experiences. You are your greatest judge. Release from your culture and live through your heart.

Your heart is the culture of all beings. Open it. Relax and breathe into it.

I like to imagine the powerful energy field around my heart and visualize it connecting with people, even when I’m in a conversation with someone that I don’t agree with, even when I see or hear politicians that I don’t agree with, with my family members, with hate, with pain, because love is more powerful.

Open your heart to spread the connective energy. The planet needs it now.

The first, the last, the only step to make the REAL difference in the world today, in your friend group, in your family is to OPEN YOUR HEART TO YOURSELF.


You don’t need to read a book, or take a class, or fight, or even think about a thing; you must look within. This is the absolute most important thing that has ever existed in yours or anybody’s life.

Make a difference and:

“Know Thyself”






Abigail Tirabassi: writer, dreamer, believer, artist, ocean lover, finding joy daily.

IG: @scrambby

Sustain the Flow: Doug Swenson


I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Swenson in South Lake Tahoe, California where he holds annual yoga teacher training courses. As the years pass by, I am becoming more and more inspired and intrigued by people like Doug who have dedicated their life to the path of yoga. Doug’s passion for connecting with nature and his enthusiasm for life is contagious. Here we catch up with Doug as he shares some wisdom on how to ‘sustain the flow‘. Thank you for shining bright Doug!

When did you get introduced to yoga?


I was first introduced to yoga in 1963, when I was 13 years – my parents belonged to a church group (Unitarian Fellowship) which was a diverse group of ideas – with no one certain concept. Ironically one member of the Group was a Yoga master, Ernest Wood and he would teach some of the kids yoga a few times a month.


How has your yoga practice changed over the years?


My yoga practice is constantly evolving and changing, much like all of life. Specifically my practice has become more refined and very expansive, to touch every aspect of my everyday life, helping me to embrace more clarity, awareness and gratitude in all ways.
Most important – I am not so focused on doing the best asana, yet feel deep appreciation for just doing yoga under a tree and the amazing feeling of clarity I am rewarded with, this is a heavenly gift.

What are your tips on how to “sustain the flow”?


I assume you mean the (vinyasa of life), which can be represented as a river flowing to the sea. We can be conscious and aware in life, or just walk around mindlessly, not paying any attention to what we are doing and how our existence creates ripples in time. My suggestion is to live simply, create a sacred bond with nature, and adopt the highest quality vegan diet. Most important in this computer age – embrace gratitude for simplicity and try your best to get off electronics whenever possible, touch the earth and breathe light.

You travel A LOT….what helps keep you grounded while always on the move?


I stay grounded by embracing a mostly raw vegan diet, drinking fresh squeezed green juice, and enjoying daily fitness, including my own personal yoga practice.

Words of wisdom on the importance of COMMUNITY?


Community is the fabric of society and yet community is also the dark side to persuade humans to fall from grace. In any group – you have to be strong with an independent and progressive mind, be respectful and mindful of others and yet – Be the Light and you will never be afraid of darkness.
Learn to be the one with the good influence, not the one who is the gravity of failure, self-destruction and ecological disaster. Everyone is different, I am more of a loner, or recluse, most of the time, because I learn more about myself and find great joy in quiet time and self-reflection – this is where I draw my strength to interact with society.  

What does “living in the current” mean to you?


To me it means the moment is eternity, yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not arrived, so by being present we are more successful in all ways. Reflect on the past as a learning experience and priceless moments, then envision the future as a positive path and yet all the while – most importantly life this moment right now.  

“Life is what happens ~ when we are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

It can also mean – being a part of the life force energy – being prana.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?


To me time is only a number for mathematicians to stimulate the brain – I do not think in years – humans are much too busy counting steps of the sun, as the moments pass by and you miss the bus. I only aspire to see myself and all things in greater light!!!   

Who or what inspires you most?


Mother-nature, moonlight on the midnight ocean, sunrise in the Mountains and playing on waves with dolphins. The simplicity of picking wild berries on a warm summer day and the gift of true love.

What mantra resonates with you most right now?


I rarely follow the path of others – So will jump the fence on this one and say:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time – you might just find you get what you need “ – Rolling Stones  


Anything else you would like to share?


Yes, a philosophical poem I wrote:
Be The Light
If the desert would give back
This sand, like a mother’s touch of warmth
Yet cactus just dreams of a watery life
And ask why – as the night whispers
Tomorrow needs our love, our kindness
And genuine integrity – this flower slow dances
Like a homeless thought, lost between time
Ego fishes for answers and yet – finds no truth
The taste of yesterday’s richness
Touched stray mountains – where sunbeams seek peace
It is not enough – to be the love of the wind
We must find the heart in preservation and be the light…




Doug Swenson began his study of yoga in 1969. He has had the fortune of studying with many great teachers including Dr. Ernest Wood, K. Pattabhi Jois, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, Ramanand Patel, and others. Doug is a master yoga practitioner, philosopher, poet and dedicated health advocate. He has incorporated influences from several different yoga systems along with his passion for nutrition and the environment to develop his unique approach. Over the years he has authored several books; “Yoga Helps”, “The Diet That Loves You Most”, “Power Yoga for Dummies” and “Mastering the Secrets of Yoga Flow“. Doug is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and travels extensively offering workshops, retreats and teacher training courses around the world. Doug’s classes are always invigorating and inspirational and his supportive style of teaching and keen sense of humor send his students home with a smile on their face and a softness within their heart.

YogActivism: Peggy Oki

Cover Photo: Matt Dayka

The Power of YogActivism

As yogis we have a special responsibility to use the increased awareness and energy that can come from our practice and put it towards something positive. If we’re not careful, yoga can at times lead to a self-centered sense that it’s all about us. On one level that is certainly true, our thoughts and actions do have a very definite impact on our life and the lives of those around us. Collectively our thoughts and actions weave together to create the society we live in. When we make a committed decision to engage the aspects of ourselves that we need to work on, it’s important to also find ways to externalize that effort out into the world. Injustice exists in the world, perhaps it’s all just the gears of karma slowly churning their way through the universe. And perhaps the passion you feel in your heart for a particular injustice are those same karmic gears at work inside of you. Calling you to take action. Calling you to stand up for what you believe in and make a difference, however small it may seem. Through yoga we learn that given enough time, our bodies will start to respond to the practice. Softening, opening, strengthening. If we apply that lesson to the places in our lives where we feel called to action, amazing things can happen.

Living our yoga combined with a consistent effort toward social change we feel passionate about = YogActivism

In this episode of Radio Lantern, a podcast that explores and illuminates the many pathways to a fulfilled life, Angelo sits down with Peggy Oki, an activist and Founder of the Origami Whales Project who puts her energy where her heart is and works tirelessly to affect change in an effort to help save our oceans and the beautiful sentient beings who inhabit them. Through yoga and surfing, Peggy is able to weave joy into her life while she makes the difficult journey of the activist.

Listen to the podcast here: PEGGY OKI



Video by: Angelo Regalbuto

Home Free Yogis

After an epic El Niño sunset surf session in Santa Barbara, I decided to wind down with some yoga. Being new to area I ventured to the DiviniTree studio having no expectations. It was there I met the inspiring souls of James and his partner Krista who were in town preparing for Lucidity Festival. James was subbing the class I attended, and in that moment it was just what I needed. Come to find out, we all have a lot in common; enjoying a life of purpose and growth while living nomadically and home free. Grateful for the opportunity to catch up with James as he shares some of his insights, knowledge, and experience as a roaming yoga teacher… 

Cover Photo: Setareh Vatan Photography

What life events led you to become a traveling yogi?

I became a traveling yogi out of a desire to participate in creative opportunities and fun adventures that present themselves, from festivals and snowboarding, to workshops and exploring new places. Instead of spending a lot of time working to pay rent and having to say no to invitations to create and engage with life, I chose to open my world and hit the road. It didn’t make sense to be paying rent somewhere I wouldn’t be at half of the time anyway, and I wanted to experience more freedom and availability for projects, people and spontaneity. Living nomadically means following my path and being in the flow. I’ve realized if you give space, have trust and allow, there is so much potential for life to show up for you, things reveal themselves if you give them time.

What has allowed you to continue to live nomadically?

I am able to be a nomad by needing little, being frugal, having lots of community support and continuously developing relationships and skills. There are great resources already in place to experience the world “outside the box”, such as Craigslist rideshare, couch-surfing, Yoga Trade and mostly having a strong network of others who live alternative life-styles, including yogis, festival goers, earth guardians, and those not seduced by the typical American Dream, of consumption or ownership through acquiring debt. After all, it’s all borrowed anyway, the more things you own, the more your things own you.


What are the benefits of being a nomadic yoga teacher?

I am free to follow my intuition and be guided by Spirit because I’m not committed to a job. It’s like having an “open relationship” with employers; we can work together, rather james5than me working for them. I have more opportunities for collaboration and co-creating events; offerings become more a choice than an “obligation”. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people show up that I wouldn’t connect with if I was just staying at “home”. I don’t have a boss. I am empowered to share the message my way. I get to spread yoga, particularly yin, in different environments, like at studios and transformational festivals, to out-reach yoga through collaborating with organizations, like teaching yoga in prisons and free yoga in the park. Creating different events and offerings stretches my creative and organizations skills.

Another benefit of being a nomadic yoga teacher is my expenses are low, which allows my life-style to be sustainable; I make decisions based on inspiration, creativity and choice rather than finances. I have the opportunity to enjoy fun free activities and experiences, like going to the beach, park or a hike, and being able to say yes to things that arise. People wonder what they’ll do when they don’t have a job, but consider all the things that show up that you have to say no to because you have to go work. I love the freedom to explore and say yes, to connect and share inspiration.

Any hardships you deal with being a nomadic yoga teacher?

It’s more challenging to create certain types of routine, you have to be more innovative, creative and have foresight with things like food, laundry, showers and basic necessities that are easily provided with a home. Also, like in most industries or careers, it is easier to build students (clients/customers) when you are still and consistent. I have been able to build a student population that appreciates my teachings and respects my life-style choices. Everything takes more work when it is a single offer; creating titles and descriptions, negotiating price and percentages, scheduling and marketing. When you are a teacher that has regular classes it is more of a routine to go to work.

There’s a challenge for me with some people because when they know I am transient, they are less inclined to engage with me, be vulnerable or build relationships. Some people have trouble comprehending where you live when you’re a nomad and there can be judgments from that. On the other hand, I meet a lot of folks who are inspired and interested, they share my excitement and love to be connected to what I’m doing. I’ve learned my quality time with people is often better because I’m either coming or going, there is a recognition the time we spend together is valuable, maybe because of it’s rarity.

How does your partnership with a fellow yoga teacher inspire your teachings and life?

My partnership with KristaLove is inspiring because of the level of accountability we hold. We are committed to honesty, transparency, authenticity and clear communication. We support each other to continue to practice this way of being in our partnership and other realms of life. We are in an Open-Relationship; for us this meansjames6 rather than denying our thoughts and feelings to ourselves or hiding them from each other, we openly share what we are thinking and feeling, and openly receive the other’s thoughts and feelings without reaction and with compassion.

Our relationship is uplifting because we share similar aspirations, particularly in spreading the power of yoga. We share values of how we want to live in the world, dietary practices and a commitment to enhancing our individual connections to Spirit.

I enjoy witnessing Krista’s growth in her practice and teachings. I love receiving her teachings because I know she has intelligent sequencing and a deep knowing of the practice that comes from years of experience. Krista reinforces my alignment with myself, in my asana practice and in romantic partnership. We create opportunities to unpack life, to be curious together and to teach each other things we’ve learned before we were in partnership; it’s amazing to be a teacher and a student for each other. A perspective we both share of partnership is the chance to have a mirror, someone to hold a clear reflection to receive and integrate feedback. We love having fun, sharing emotional and physical intimacy, and celebrating personal and collective growth. We choose to see relationship as spiritual practice, a space for true presence, a catalyst for healing and growth. Even if there are moments we need space from each other, we give that space to support the Love that is there.

Implementing partner yoga as part of our practice has been a potent avenue to assist and support each other. Our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage goes beyond yoga for both of us; it incorporates the necessity and benefits of touch and affection. Krista’s interest in conscious sexuality and responsible relationships has allowed me to reflect on how little people get touch, particularly outside of family or romantic relationships. As affection advocates, we are inspired to create a culture of affection and connection. We’ve learned platonic and romantic touch and affection support our health and well being, the neurochemistry of affection is fascinating! Check out our blog “Home Free Yogis” to learn more. I love being a Yoga Ambassador with her, co-facilitating workshops, assisting each other’s classes and educating others on how to teach yoga safely, effectively and creatively.


Tell us more about your current projects…

One of my biggest callings and passions is being a Yin Yoga Ambassador, spreading the transformational power of yin yoga, along with teaching many other styles of yoga. I james4have multiple offerings for sharing yin yoga, from specialty seasonal classes, introductory workshops for those new to yin or wanting to learn more, and teacher trainings that concentrate on sequencing, meridians and creating well-balanced classes.

My partner Krista and I are excited to share our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage. This practice uses the power of yin yoga to open and balance the body and move chi, while applying elements of Thai Yoga Massage to increase stimulation and enhance the practitioner’s experience by supporting their unique shape. An important element of Yin Yoga Massage is sharing touch through teaching people to assist and massage each other with compassion.

I am also thrilled to be a collaborator with YogiTunes, an affordable online resource for yoga teachers and studio owners to play conscious music, with the profits going directly to artists because the rights are owned by the organization (which is becoming more of an issue as far as legality of rights and playing music in classes). I am a YogiTunes DJ with multiple themed playlists made by incredible producers and musicians I find inspiring.

I am the creator of the Sac-Sierra Yoga Pass, a multi-studio passport good for a single drop-in at over 40 studios from the Sacramento area to Lake Tahoe. This was inspired by my desire to create a bridge for the yoga community to share offerings, rather than being competitive or individually business-minded.

Another major collaborative project I’m a part of is Lucidity Festival, a transformational gathering in its 5th year in the hills of Santa Barbara, CA. The folks who produce the event are raising the bar as far as conscious festival production. I am inspired by their integrated way of working together which is highly effective and forward thinking with the systems in place for alternative conflict resolution to help the community thrive. They are moving towards larger aspirations, including and not limited to, supporting artists and artisans, offering alternative education opportunities, acquiring and creating sustainable community and shared land projects. Festivals are a play-ground for experimentation as we move towards re-establishing a village. Lucidity is an incredible experiment I am grateful to be a part of.

And I am always seeking ways to continue to network the yoga highway as a yoga ambassador, through supporting transformational festivals, conscious artists and continuing to share and teach. I’m excited for upcoming creations, like downloadable yoga classes and Yin DVD’s to reach a broader audience and more!


Why do you think we are seeing more wellness events and yoga as an aspect at transformational gatherings?

Transformational gatherings by nature are supporting people’s conscious evolution through personal and collective transformation. This culture is growing because people are acknowledging they want more out of a gathering than just a party. There is a genuine desire to connect and experience community. There are more spaces for elders to come and teach, and for families with children to experience music, art, education and creative expression. This demonstrates a recognition that community means multiple generations and lenses of perspective.

Wellness offerings are increasing at festivals as well as contributions in art, yoga, massage, permaculture & sustainability, do-it-yourself workshops, professional education, and a more holistic understanding of intimacy and relationships through offerings and human relationships. These festivals are a space to re-establish the village, the collective perspective. The stereotypical options we are given by mainstream culture are less attractive to people. We are waking up to the knowing that there are more options than what we’ve been told, rejecting the limited view of ways to be, and awakening to their authentic, unique and creative truths.


Who or what have been your greatest teachers?

Reading the Tao Te Ching has been one of my greatest teachers. This simple yet profound text encourages a contemplative way of being, to be a witness and observer of life. It gives examples of the watery, fluid like quality of existence, and I try to use that example in my life by creating fluidity and freedom.

Ram Das is another of my favorite spiritual teachers. He is an incredibly accessible, james1funny, and non-dualistic Western teacher who is a bridge, bringing Eastern philosophy and wisdom to the West.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk and international peace activist, revealed to me the Truth behind Buddha’s message on the lack of independent origination, he calls it inter-being, which means nothing arose independently, nothing is isolated. Everything you identify with has been influenced by others or something before you, you are connected to everything in the realm of form: physical, thought energetic, emotion. And we are all one in Spirit.

Finally, my puppy Stitch is one of my favorite teachers because he take nothing personally, is unconditionally loving, is happy to see every living thing he comes into contact with and his natural disposition is to be playful and curious.

Life and its series of trial and error, pitfalls and successes, has taught me that as you move with your own flow, sometimes against the current of “traditional culture”, truth will always support you.


If you could share one sentence that the whole world would see, what would it be…

Trust your Intuition.


Anything else you would like us to share…

Festival culture, collaborating in the yoga world and learning about sustainability, and conscious relating allow me avenues to be a bridge builder and thread weaver, to create a more supported, connected and authentic world. I invite you to step into your unique expression of life and do what you love and are called to. It is through this that you will offer your best to yourself, humanity and our planet.


James Kapicka is a yoga ambassador and event producer with a passion for bringing together community in a way that supports acceptance and forgiveness as we learn to evolve as beings. Through sincere and heartfelt expression, he creates an environment that empowers students to stay in their integrity and trust their intuition. James offers sacred ceremonies intended to facilitate personal growth and healing through the unconditionally giving of authentic self in a way that protects innocence and promotes creative play and expression. His classes, workshops, and events center on profound re-evolutionary change both within and in how we exist in society and in our relationship with Mother Earth.

Lakey Peterson on Yoga & Life

Lakey Peterson is one of the world’s leading female surfers. Beyond being a superior athlete, she also has passionate commitments to community and helping the planet. Here Lakey shares some of her insights on wellness, the environment, and what inspires her most. Thanks for taking time to share and for being YOU Lakey!     

How do you think all athletes can benefit from a yoga practice?

I think yoga is such a great way to slow down your mind. Often times as an athlete you are doing so many things in a day from training, interviews, emails, watching footage, surfing (or whatever sport you do) that you forget to just take a moment and breathe. The mind is so powerful and I find in yoga I always finish a class with a clear head and ready to go again.

Do you have a meditation or visualization practice? How does it help your surfing?

Yes! I think that meditation and visualization are so powerful. Your mind is strong and you have to exercise it like the rest of your body.

Advice on how to stay grounded and healthy while traveling?

After you fly always do some form of exercise. You need to get your blood pumping and sweat out everything. Also, bring your own food on the plane. I never eat plane food. I bring an avocado, apple, nuts and drink a crazy amount of water.

Any insights on how we can all serve the greater good of humanity and the environment?

We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use. It is the biggest issue in today’s world. Start using your own coffee cup in the morning, bring your own forks and knives so you don’t need to use plastic ones, and try to challenge yourself to not buy anything in plastic at the supermarket. Its nearly impossible but really eye opening. Also, when you are out and about pick up five or more pieces of trash every time. All of these things add up, get involved and spread the word. It’s a team effort!

“We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use.”

Tell us about your vision at The Salty Coconut

Its really been a fun project for me. I just want to inspire people to be healthy! It makes life so much better and brings so much happiness to people. So that’s really why I started it. Right now I am really focused on my surfing career and the last 6 months I have realized how much I want to put all my eggs in that basket. So I am actually at a bit of a standstill with the site, but will be a big focus of mine in the future!

Who have been your greatest life teachers? What inspires you most?

My mom probably. She has a pretty crazy life story and she is still so strong! She always does the right thing. I really think she has taught me the most in life and inspires me a lot.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’ll be 31! Thats crazy! Haha…By that point, I want to have a family. I still will surf for fun of course and hopefully be involved with the industry in some way. I would love to be working a ton with The Salty Coconut then as well, and hopefully building my business in that way and inspiring others.
Lakey’s interests not only lie with surfing. She is an all-around athlete and deeply committed philanthropist, connected to several non-profits that serve the greater good of humanity and the environment. She has raised funds for H4O (Hands4Others) and lakey5worked hands-on in the implementation of their clean water systems in 3rd-World countries. She sits on the Advisory Board for Ocean Lovers Collective and is a spokesperson for the SCA (Student Conservation Association), which is the largest volunteer organization for students in high school and college, to help keep our national parks and trails pristine. Lakey is also deeply passionate about raising awareness and money for children’s cancer and is connected to several children’s hospitals in Southern California. Lakey also has her own yearly surf contest for young kids in her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. She wanted to be able to give kids a chance to experience the ocean from a young age and have a fun day at the beach with family and friends. Last year, close to 250 kids came to the event, with the goal for more and more to attend each year.


Lakey Peterson

The Salty Coconut

Facebook | Instagram

All Article Photos By:  Willie Kessel Photography

Yoga Teachers: The Importance of Continuing Education

The yoga industry is expanding faster than ever these days. If you aren’t a yoga teacher, there is a good chance you probably know one…or many. It is a beautiful thing to see wellness programs popping up all over the place in everyday “conventional” life situations; schools, hotels, community centers, parks, etc. Yoga teachers are now able to make a living as many people are interested in the wellness industry and yoga teachers make positive contributions into the lives of other people. One thing is certain: yoga has made a worldwide presence. How do we as yoga teachers, wellness educators, and holistic practitioners, ensure that we are still growing, learning, and being responsible teachers?…By continuing our yoga education! While there are many places out there to study yoga, it is wise to take time to choose teachers and schools that resonate with YOU. We highly recommend Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico and the Living Yoga Alchemy continuing education programs. Yandara is one of the most established and successful educational yoga centers in the world, and a great place to dive into advanced trainings in an off-the-grid sustainable environment.


“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.” –Albert Einstein





To live life to the fullest, we must always look for ways to grow. Continuing education allows yoga teachers to acquire new skills, enhance personal practice, and master newyandara4 techniques that will make working with diverse populations possible and effective. We must invest in ourselves and the future. Practice makes practice, it takes continuing work to evolve. Get excited to learn more about yourself and create positive personal impact.



When we embark on pilgrimages and delve into new areas of learning we will most likely become inspired. This helps with our creativity, and gives us brighter energy. This magnetic energy ends up having a spiral effect on everything around us. Inspired learning keeps us from becoming bored and getting out of our comfort zones keeps us interested and motivated. Becoming part of yoga trainings also allows us to meet new people and make connections from around the globe. Life is grand adventure, let’s enjoy the ride.



Furthering our education allows us to keep the “beginner’s mind” active and to stay curious. Many teachers need time off so they can revisit what it is like to be a student. This can help us to relate to students in a more effective way, and also gives us time to be a “receiver” instead of a giver. New information can be stimulating and allows us to live life as a journey in which to continuously learn. Add depth to your life, broaden your horizons, and open your mind to new ideas and methods.



Continuing education helps to build your following and allows you to feel more confident. Many teachers worry if they leave for chunks for time, they will lose their students. Actually, people are attracted to the fresh energy that teachers gain from new experiences. Becoming more adaptable can make you more valuable as a yoga teacher. The world of yoga instruction can be competitive so putting effort and time into trainings helps you stand out in the crowd. Become more confident in teaching private yoga sessions, bodywork, and encompass more wellness skills.



Stay humble! Change is inevitable and there is always more to learn, not only in yoga but in everything in life. The best yoga teachers in the world don’t act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful. Learning creates ambiguity. Be willing to let go of past ways of doing things in order to come up with new ways of doing things.



Become happier: The more we continue to challenge our growth, the happier we are. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within. Self growth is key yandara11for us to live fulfilling lives and to have a successful career. One of the best feelings in the world is teaching others what you’ve learned. Not only will it affect the person you’re teaching, but also they in turn will teach others! Learning into the golden years also keeps you healthy. Stay forever young and become a living yoga activist.


Continued study is necessary and important. There is always something new to discover in the world of yoga. Create balance by cultivating harmony between the inner and outer environments and become more skilled in guiding people to personal transformation. Gain a deeper understanding of the incredible benefits of a holistic health and yoga methodology. These life-changing advanced teacher trainings at Yandara are a great place to start:


∞ 300 Hour Advanced Training: Living Yoga Alchemy – March 14-29, 2016 and November 14-29, 2016.


∞ Yoga and Ayurveda: Living in Tune with Nature – April 1-10, 2016.


∞ Yoga Life Coach Certification – April 1-10, 2016.


∞ Yin, Bhakti, and Restorative Training –November 3-12, 2016.





“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi





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!


Photo Credit: Yandara Photography





Eco Yoga Surf

I met Natalie many years ago surfing at Pavones in Costa Rica. It was a small, but fun day and I remember we saw some dolphins jumping out of the water and she immediately started paddling over to say hello to them. That image stuck with me of how devoted she was to the ocean and her strong connection with nature. Many moons have passed and I am glad to see she is still living her dream of dancing with the waves and practicing yoga energy activism. Thanks for sharing your time and wisdom Natalie!

Tell us how you believe that ecology, yoga, and surfing are related…


I’ve always been passionate about all three (eco yoga surf), but as time went on I found ways to intertwine them more intrinsically… practicing yoga outdoors or on my SUP I would able to experience a greater sense of nature… through surfing I would have milliseconds of clarity between the waves and uncover layers of mindful meditation to fleetingly relish in the same peace I found flowing through vinyasa on my mat…  I learned to witness my body and my breath, as much as I would other species like dolphins and whales with a curiosity and wonder that expanded into immense gratitude for being alive on this incredible planet.  Everything is connected and I began to learn this truth through my explorations, internally through yoga and externally through surfing and environmental campaigns around the globe. During my recent permaculture studies I was able to break it down and understand things more pragmatically… the planet is our zone 5, the wilderness and the wild that makes up our global habitat; and our body zone 00 the most intimate space in which we inhabit. Yoga is the permaculture of the heart, the tool to enable us to observe ourselves.  Our task is to stay present and rooted in our body, understand our own mind, “know ourselves” and then we can begin to cultivate our garden, drive our vehicle in the right direction and travel between the zones and the edges of this world as consciously and mindfully as possible. The Yoga Farm in Costa Rica was where I first encountered and truly experienced a strong connection between ecology and yoga; it was a turning point being able to practice and teach yoga in the jungle!

What are some challenges that you face as a traveling yoga teacher?

This year I have gone from Jersey to France, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Bali, India and continue onto Sri Lanka then back to Europe.  My biggest personal issue is how my travel impacts the planet.  I am looking for ways to offset all my flights’ carbon emissions and support tree or mangrove planting projects, yet I am still to find one I truly connect with – any ideas!!?  What I take with me also impacts my travels, in India clothing needs to be light and covered up, where as it was still Autumn in NZ, so making sure I have everything I need yet fit it into one bag can make packing rather challenging.  Being grounded, free and personally sustainable is my main focus this year, which can be hard when living a transient life so I am looking for a base now, somewhere to grow veggies and build a home rather than continually travelling.

Can you share some wisdom of how to “travel lightly”?

“Travel lightly” to me means being aware of any kind of baggage – physical, emotional, nat12mental, spiritual – and avoiding collecting any excess along the way!  Being aware of my inputs and outputs, my out-dated beliefs and moving forward with clarity and compassion.  My way is not the high way and respecting the opposing or differing views I am faced with when visiting other countries and cultures is part of the parcel of conscious travel. I feel very privileged to have opportunities in this life like freedom, health and wealth and I travel to expand my knowledge and learn, but what’s the point in doing so with a closed mind and heart? Leave something positive wherever you go – whether it’s a simple smile, learning a few words of the local language or collecting rubbish off the beach –  leave a legacy you can be proud of.  Do something to connect with the local community; I get so much joy out of the weekly kids club for locals at Soul & Surf.  Sharing experiences of how to travel consciously is integral to making us better at it, I am constantly learning and love hearing about other peoples experiences too.

How do you deal with societal pressures that may come from living an “unconventional” lifestyle?

In the past I have perceived societal pressure as something negative, but through facing my own fears and leaving a home and job, I have realized that this was an imaginary barrier I needed to pass through.  It has taken commitment to a positive and healthy mindset, trust in my own heart and values and belief that I can actually create my own lifestyle to get to the other side.  Finding balance in this world when there are so many messages about what we “should” do, how we “should” behave, how we “should” look… well, it’s tough!  It’s a continual navigation with twists and turns to find truth. How I deal with this, is ocean time; solitude – just a little bit, every day and EFT! It is uplifting to meet others on the same path, in fact it is what gives me more energy to continue to explore; and collaboration is the best!

What does YogaRama mean to you?

YogaRama is the infant I am nurturing right now in the context of starting a business.  YogaRama represents connecting with my own power and energy to find my place in the world, something greater than me.  I love the concept of the marriage of Yoga – the yoking of the body and breath to invite spiritual connection and Rama – the deity representing our highest purpose.  This marriage invokes the responsibility I feel to the planet or a greater force. It is through the heightened awareness of the body and breath (yoga) that we are able to feel deeper into our existence (rama) and notice the connections within everything we experience – the patterns to detail; the macrocosm and the microcosm.  It is being more aware of these connections that allows us to expand on so many levels.

Any advice on how to practice living yoga by answering the call to action?

Be open and receptive to “messages”!  I first shifted into activism because I saw photos of pilot whales being killed and it propelled me into taking part in my first protest.  That led on to years of campaigns; with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage, Surfers for Cetaceans and Women for Whales; where the energy of individuals and collectives would help carry me. However, I would also feel drained so I found my way back to yoga to ask some important questions.  Was I living in tune withnatsea my body, or was I exhausted and fighting, coming up against conflict – internally and externally?  I realized I needed more balance and to heal some past wounds, so had to let go of some commitments. Not long ago I asked the question if I could help the planet through teaching yoga. I believed the answer to be YES! So this has helped draw the three themes of surfing, yoga and permaculture together in my mind.  The final piece in the puzzle is how this will manifest as projects or ventures, I visualize myself and the global surf and yoga community stepping up to the plate of environmental custodians, and I’m excited for how this intention unfolds.  As a surfer I have been exposed to so much devastation but I see the land as where the changes need to happen – our physical practices of dealing with food, waste, shelter and water; our mindsets and resistance to change; our outdated systems and linear economy; our disconnection from nature and our food… all this can truly shift towards something more positive.  And every individual has the power to increase the shift by waking up.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How do you balance “living in the moment” while also having goals and growing as a person?

As humans I think we are becoming very good at manifesting our desires and, seeing our goals accomplished helps to reinforce the strength of the ego mind and self power. I am trying to balance my “I want”s and the “doing” with how that can also serve the planet and my community, and being open rather pushing.  And at every step I take a couple of Natalie Foxmoments to address the why behind any intention.  Being playful, joyful and seeing the humor in my unfolding human drama is absolutely essential, for when things don’t turn out as expected or inevitably go wrong.  Surfing always helps me to bring me back down to Earth. Sometimes you catch the wave, sometimes you fall off and sometimes you get the ride of your life!  Understanding the concept of dharma has helped me to transition into doing something I love as a living… so that it feels like I am actually living and growing with every day.  Teaching yoga and surfing energizes me, it fills me up and so it feels right and necessary to do this as a profession.  I hope to study and practice sustainability on a deeper level and find ways to interlock the practices of permaculture into surf and yoga tourism.  Hmmm…. in 10 years time I hope to have a wonderful, supportive partner, a family I have time to enjoy and connect with, a permaculture property overlooking a point break, a yoga studio, a kitchen to indulge in raw chocolate making and be connected to a conscious community of special humans.

What is your definition of happiness?

I feel like happiness can be fleeting and fickle, and there is almost too much emphasis placed on this one emotion when there is a whole spectrum of incredible flavors of feeling we can experience. What I am more intent on now, is being open to the full range of my emotions, not fleeing from my sadness because I cannot handle it, not running nat10toward ecstasy because feeling pain is so scary.  And not hoping my highs will last forever, because nothing is constant in this world and attaching to happiness is like latching onto an ice sculpture in the sun! In the past I have managed to disconnect from and numb my feelings so now I find happiness in simply feeling!  I now also appreciate the lessons that come from the lows and with that acceptance has come a deeper, more stable sense of happiness.  Perhaps this is more like peace, and peace is something I can’t get enough of! Of course, I do love to be happy and appreciate the things that bring me happiness – peeling left hand point breaks; organically grown veggies straight out the ground; raw chocolate; journaling in nature; laughing with my friends; leopard print yoga pants, spending time with my beloved; crafting, creating and designing; diving deep in the ocean and if I’m lucky, sharing space with other sentient beings, especially cetaceans.

Anything else you would like to share…

Just love, light, gratitude and presence 🙂

Natalie Fox

Natalie Fox is a roving surf and yoga instructor, Roxy fitness ambassador, and cofounder of Women for Whales, originally from the UK. She has travelled to Antarctica with Sea Shepherd to protect minke whales, guided surfing on deserted Panamanian islands and taught yoga in the jungle. She is currently the resident yoga teacher at Soul & Surf Sri Lanka, where you can find her teaching an array of classes from Yin to Vinyasa to Quantum Yoga. You can join Natalie for surfing, yoga and SUP adventures in June on her Portugal retreat with Jennifer Moore. Her online portal is

Photo credits:

Surfing Cover Photo:  Robbie Dark
Yoga, Garden, and Bio Photos: Ilona Henne
Kayak Photo: Hilton Dawe (featuring Lauren Hill of @theseakin)
Sea Shepard Photo: Simon Ager

Making It Up As We Go Along

Have you ever dreamed about living in a van down by the river? Here is a little inspiration to follow that dream. Meet Holly Gable. Holly, her boyfriend Angus, and their dog Jella are ‘Making It Up As We Go Along‘ while living, loving, and learning in their home-on-wheels. 

Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Where are you currently? What are you most passionate about today?

Currently we are in a small village outside of Berlin. It is very peaceful, we’re surrounded holly1by forest and beside a lake which every evening at dusk becomes a landing strip and party for hundreds of laughing, migrating geese. The recent news tells of killings all over the world, of horror and despair, accompanied by a myriad of hateful opinions and blame towards religion, race and borders. Today we’re trying to hold on to a passionate belief that there is much more love in this world than hate, to continue to cultivate the kindness and compassion that we know to be inherent within all of us.

How did you and Angus meet?

Angus and I met through a series of what seemed like bizarre, chance, same-place-at-the-same-time, happenings in South London, where we studied.:)

Tell us about your yoga journey and tips on keeping up personal practice while traveling.

My yoga journey begun with a simple determination to beat my family’s inflexibility holly4genes and to be able to touch my toes. This did not come easy, and for the first months I thought of yoga as an irritating discomfort that I tried to convince myself to avoid. But separate from the yoga, I had a lot of anxiety, which to me, seemed to be preventing me from leading the life I wanted to lead. As my yoga practice (very) gradually developed, between styles and teachers around London, my fingers got closer to my toes, but I also felt that my mind and body were more in tune, I was calmer and happier. Recognizing the difference in myself and witnessing how yoga was helping others, each on their individual and very different journeys, I decided to deepen my knowledge and to learn how to share it, completing a 200hr Teacher Training course at Arhanta Yoga Ashram in India.

That was in January, and since then we’ve been back on the road in our home-on-holly5wheels. Keeping up a personal practice while traveling has sometimes seemed hard, surrounded by uneven, muddy ground, only enough space in the van for a few seated postures… And sometimes easy, in homes, yurts, forest huts, fields, at river-sides, fire-sides and sea-sides. But the most important lesson I’ve learnt, is that rather than to feel disheartened at not finding space to do a sun salutation without hitting a wall or slipping face-first into a clay-pit, is to instead remind myself that to practice asana is to practice just a part of yoga; When yoga is recognized as a lifestyle, every moment becomes an opportunity for practicing.

How do you practice sustainable living while on the road?

We spend most of our time on work-exchange projects around Europe, exchanging our help for food and living space, and having wonderfully rich, fulfilling experiences in holly6different cultures, communities, natural building and self-sufficient living. We’re trying to discover ways of living that aren’t dominated by money and capitalism, where value is put upon gift and exchange to deepen inter-personal connection and equality. We create objects from recycled materials and waste plastic from the beach, which we sell online a pay-what-you-can-afford basis, and we forage as much food as we can from the wild, and supermarket bins!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Using the inspiration and skills we’ve gained from our journeys, we hope to build a home and to create a space, from natural and recycled materials: a space for sharing what we have learned, for yoga, for creativity, for living surrounded by nature, and hopefully for many other things we don’t yet know! We would like to put emphasis on providing for those with learning difficulties or disabilities and/or past trauma. After working at art workshops for individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities, we feel very strongly about the empowering benefits of creativity, and want to combine this with the quiet yet tremendous healing potential of yoga as a lifestyle.

What inspires you most?

Helping people! Maybe that sounds twee, but if we’re learning anything, it is that nothing feels more rewarding, fills us with more joy, and gives us a more determined sense of purpose, than helping someone or something. And that kindness is contagious.
My name is Holly. I am a yoga teacher and an artist, living and travelling in a home-on-wheels with my boyfriend Angus and our dog Jella! After graduating with Art degrees in 2013, we moved out of our flat in London and traded the flat keys for a set of van keys, which we converted into our new home. We try to live simply, to explore, experience and to gain a greater connection with communities and the natural world. Choosing experiential chaos over steady 9-5s, living, learning and loving in a home-on-wheels. 

Holistic Adventures & Green Goat Guides

It seems as though more and more people these days want to get rid of all their “stuff”, pack a bag and travel the world. Many people are already doing this; creating a life for themselves thru travel while inspiring along the way. As travel tourism becomes more popular we must remember to do so lightly and to respect nature in every possible way. Antonio Jaimez Vega and Jennifer Caravella are perfect examples of people who are following their dreams and living life as earth loving sustainable travelers. Their new project, “Green Goat Guides”, is lighting up the pathway for others. Read on to learn more about rewarding and sustainable holistic adventures.


Green Goat Guides is a grassroots project of climbing and adventure travel guidebooks founded by two wanderlust rock climbers who believe in creating a more beautiful world. The Green Goat duo are using their creatively designed guidebooks as a platform to help raise awareness and educate people about sustainable living practices, holistic wellness, and ecotourism.

Live Free. Travel Lightly. Respect Nature.

These guidebooks are a hippie gypsy dream come true. Adventure nomads, climbers and earth stewards will find all of the information one would normally find in a guidebook asgreengoat1 well a goldmine of resources such a list of eco-friendly businesses, where to find organic food and local farmers markets, how to support the local economy, volunteer and work-trade opportunities, animal rescue centers and shelters, edible plants and medicinal herbs you can forage, recipes to keep you well, where to get a great massage or take a yoga class, vegetarian/vegan restaurants, adventure activities, holistic health practitioners and more.

The Green Goat duo has just launched an Indiegogo fundraiser for their first book, ‘The Green Goat Guide to Portugal’. With your support, you can help manifest the Green Goat vision of creating an international series of holistic adventure guides that inspire, educate and open the doors to a more sustainable world for future generations of all life on earth. Check out the campaign HERE.



Capitol City Designer Finds Inspiration in Living Yoga

One of the beauties of yoga is that we can bring it into all aspects of our lives. Here we catch up with the super talented Northern California interior designer, Amy Aswell. In this talking story, Amy shares how her living yoga practice assists in inspiring her designs and keeps her spirit alive and at peace. Thanks for the inspiration Amy!!!

Photo Credit: Kat Alves Photography

Tell us a bit about your yoga story….How does yoga benefit you as a busy professional?

I enrolled in my first yoga class when I was 20 while living in New Hampshire on a amy5school exchange program. This was around the time (1999) in my life when I began hearing more about yoga and it piqued my curiosity. At the time, I was continually physically active while becoming increasingly interested in the mind-body connection.. While that experience was positive, I practiced only sporadically for the next few years, until I was in my second year of graduate school and feeling beaten down by the rigor and associated stress of my program. I enrolled in a series of yoga P.E. classes at the student fitness center and became addicted! It not only helped me feel calmer and more in control of the stress, but it relieved the chronic back pain brought on by hours of hunching over a computer and constructing design models. My favorite pose during this time was wheel because it felt great on my back and I remember I could hold the pose longer than anyone else in the class, including PAC-10 collegiate football players! I revisited yoga again a few years later during another period of professional and personal angst, this time falling in love with Yoga Nidra or ‘yogic sleep’. The guided meditation and supported, restful poses helped keep me centered and calm outside the studio. I attended classes 3-4 nights per week and felt the residual positive benefits every day. Now that I own a small business, I lean on yoga and meditation more than ever to conjure a sense of balance and strength in my busy life. I now practice Power Vinyasa 1-2 times per week and love the energetic and upbeat nature of my classes. I also have a teacher who cracks great jokes and plays the best music during class, which is great. I’ve found I really appreciate and am inspired by the combination of physical rigor and humor.

How do you bring yoga off your mat and into your designs and every day life?

Yoga inspires my life off the mat in that I’m much calmer and better at handling stress when I’m actively practicing (at least once per week). I think practicing yoga takes aamy2 great deal of discipline, and for me especially Power Vinyasa because the poses are so dynamic. My energy level is also higher and I’ve found that I also make better food/drink choices too. Another benefit is posture. Finally, I like how a particular class becomes a ritual. For the past few months, I have attended the same Saturday morning class with a good friend, and we have a habit of going out for healthy organic smoothies afterward. So it also has social benefits. 

Can you share a few tips on how to create “zen” spaces?

I believe that the things we choose to surround ourselves with have a significant impact amy6on our overall happiness, well-being and quality of life. I’m currently reading and loving ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo, who advocates for having a de-cluttered home full of belongings that ‘spark joy’. Another simple ‘zen’ philosophy that has always resonated is by iconic designer William Morris who said, ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. In my professional design work, I have been told that I’m an ‘intuitive designer’ which I think translates into creating spaces that are understated, thoughtful, timeless and sometimes provocative. Another favorite inspirational design quote is by Dieter Rams, who said ‘good design is as little design as possible’; emphasizing the boiling of life down to its purest essence.  


How can we all bring more sustainable design concepts to our homes and businesses?

Sustainability ideally should be implemented comprehensively, but there are also little things we can do to make a big impact on the earth and uplift our spirits. We’re currently experiencing a severe drought in California which is making everyone, either by choiceamy3 or mandate, rethink their daily water habits and lifestyle. I’ll use the toilet as an example here…we can all make more sustainable choices by reducing our water use by replacing with a low-flow dual flush toilet (if you’re remodeling) or by placing a brick in your toilet tank (if you’re stuck with an existing, older toilet) or even using the ‘if it’s yellow…’ strategy. I feel encouraged just knowing that every time I have the power to make a design decision for my home or for a project, it can be informed by sustainability. For instance, I can hire the local furniture fabricator, who sources reclaimed wood for his products, which keeps these items out of landfills, retains money in the local community and reduces transportation reliance on fossil fuels for transport. There are so many pieces to the sustainability puzzle and often it’s a matter of just doing a little extra research and asking questions that can make a huge difference. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like our choices are small and insignificant in the grand scheme, but even just attempting to live more sustainably can bring about increased feelings of well-being, which is reason enough for me!

What inspires you? What makes you happy?

Happiness for me is being around people I love, who make me laugh and push me outside my comfort zone. I feel instantly gratified when I’m in nature, and often in water (aka. swimming in a scenic river). I’m also made happy by completely losing myself in an artistic endeavor; one where time melts away and I’m fully engaged. I’m equally happy exploring new (and old) cities by foot, visiting art museums, hiking, riding a bike and lying in the grass with my terrier mix puppy, Gus. Finally, using my body in a physically challenging way every day, being optimistic and believing in myself makes me happy. 
amyyogaAmy Aswell is a Northern California-based commercial and residential interior designer who draws upon her almost two decade-long love of yoga to create thoughtful and engaging yet minimalist interior and exterior environments. Before establishing her design practice, Amy taught interior design at a college for the arts and worked for both large and boutique-size design firms. Being both a ‘Certified Interior Designer’ and a LEED Accredited Professional, she has demonstrated her value of professionalism in practice and the importance of sustainability in design. Amy’s current love of Power Vinyasa and meditation influences her daily business practices and her design concepts and philosophies.

Connect with Amy: