Mountain Meditation in India

It was only a few years ago when I first became curious and wondered what India would be like. For those yogis out there, you might relate that the more you deepen your yoga practice, the stronger the pull to India becomes.

I had been waiting for the right time to head over and when my teacher suggested that I join his India trip this pasted September in the Himalayas for more training and to explore the more subtle aspects of yoga, I knew in my heart that it was meant to be.

India is a crazy, magical and beautiful place. I had no idea what to expect but went with an open mind and heart and left with a bright soul beaming with warmth. I definitely feel that the mountains have helped awaken my meditation practice and also taught me to be quiet and more content with myself.

Here are some pictures from the teacher training of where we were based and what we got up to:

 

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Mussoorie

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The view from here is pretty spectacular and worth the three hour car drive up the windy roads. We met and started the training in the beautiful town of Mussoorie.

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Franks and Zoe taking it all in.

 

Uttarkashi

 

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We stayed at Monal Guest House for the first half of the training. Uttarkashi is on the doorstep of the Himalayas. We had our morning meditation and asana practice every day up on this roof with the most glorious view of the mountains and the Ganga.

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Homemade Gomutra in the making; Gomutra is cow urine that is used for therapeutic purposes in traditional Indian medicine.

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Walking through the village.

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This is one of my favorite photos of the trip. Natural mobile bodies do exist in the mountains of the Himalayas.

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Market Life in Uttarkashi

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It took one sticky, sweaty afternoon session in the market for me to adjust. After that the chaos evaporated and I was able to find my way around.

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We received blessings after a visit to our first temple.

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Local barber shop.

 

Hiking in Uttarkashi

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We spent one day hiking in Uttarkashi. The first stop was this beautiful temple in the middle of the forrest.

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Hard workers at the construction site by the temple.

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Our second stop was a secluded Ashram at the top of the Mountain.

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We were invited to have some chai with the Swami-ji.

 

Gangnani

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En route up to Gangotri, we stopped here to take a bath in the natural hot springs.

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Blowing off some steam.

 

Food for the soul

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Getting some street food on the way up to the Mountains.

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The food in India was delicious. Northern cuisine is mainly vegetarian and would usually consist of dal, a curried vegetable and lets not forget the chapatis.

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Taking recycling to the next level! Plate and bowl was made from dried leaves.

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Sweet Tooth Heaven.

 

Drinks

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One day when we were walking around the Village, we were invited into someones home for a drink. They kindly offered us some home made Lassi which is a popular traditional yogurt-based drink.

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Chai. Yes please!

 

Gangotri

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We stayed in an Ashram just outside of Gangotri in the center of the most majestic mountains.

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Our room in the Ashram.

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Every morning we would wake up to a view of those snowy mountain tops.

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In the early mornings and evenings the temperature would drop to -2 degrees.

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Mountain Yogi.

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Sitting by the Ganga.

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This was the highest bridge in India and if you look over the left side you were able to see Tibet.

 

Meditation

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I have always found sitting quietly pretty challenging which was one of the reasons I was so keen to explore and practice more meditation. The Himalayas is such a special and spiritual place that created the perfect environment to find stillness.

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The view for our morning meditation overlooking the Ganga.

 

Squad

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Selfie with the Swami-ji of the Ashram.

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My India experience would never have been the same without these beautiful souls. I learnt so much from each person and catch myself reminiscing of our adventures and sweet memories daily.

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We had a closing ceremony down by the Ganga and tied thread around our wrists, binding us to this experience forever. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a student again and learn from my wonderful teachers Jim Harrington and Raghavendra Adiga-ji.

I left the training feeling more grounded than ever and excited to share my new experience with all of my students. I can’t wait to plan my next trip back to India. Until we meet again…

 

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Chasing the Sunshine in Lanzarote

Since London ‘spring’ was an anticlimax, Dan and I decided to chase the sunshine and head to one of the beautiful Canary Islands – Lanzarote. The island is known to attract all kinds of athletes from cyclists, triathletes and a lot of Europes big surfers; however we decided to take a skip on an active holiday and settled for a  low key vibe with lots of beach time, sunshine, good food and some yoga from time to time.

We stayed in small towns to avoid the masses and were able to find some local spots that that turned out to be absolute gems.

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La Asomada

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Our first two nights we stayed in a beautiful Airbnb in La Asomada. I was blown away at how beautiful the architecture was, especially as it incorporated a Moroccan feel.

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Chilling out in the court yard. The eucalyptus tree above me is three hundred years old.

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La Santa

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We stayed in La Santa for our remaining three nights. The town is in the north of the island and Dan chose this spot as its known for its epic waves, particularly the break right in front of our apartment known as ‘the slab’. Unfortunately (to Dans utter disappointment) we narrowly missed the Atlantic swell and there weren’t many waves available, but this view from our balcony, looking onto the point break, more than made up for it.

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Yoga on the rooftop while the sun was showing off.

Teguise

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We spent a morning in Teguise. This beautiful town is known for its Sunday markets with a variety of clothing, crafts and delicious food.

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Dan found his new favourite hat at the market.

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Timanfaya National Park

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We spent another morning at the national park. As you enter the park, the landscape completely changes to volcanic wastelands; its quite something to behold with amazing craters still blowing steam out of them. The restartaunt in the park even serves food cooked over the heat of the still active volcano!

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Yes! You can take a camel ride up one of the volcano’s if you fancy.

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One of the craters of the volcano.

 

James del Agua

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A beautiful oasis in the middle of nowhere.

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Beaches

My two favourite beaches

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Papagayo Beach

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Playa Les Mujeres

 

La Graciosa

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I highly recommend taking a 15 minute ferry from Orzola across to the little island of La Graciosa. This was hands down the best day we had; the island is mostly a national park with very few inhabitants who speak very limited english.

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We had fresh fish on the beach in the harbor town with our feet in the sand.

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There were no tar roads, just sand and 4×4’s. You are also able to rent bikes and cycle around the island and to explore the deserted beaches.

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We walked down the coast and found this breathtaking beach, Playa Francesa.

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The perfect end to a day in the sun. I’m a sucker for ice scream.

Food

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Our Airbnb host recommend this authentic wine farm not far from La Asomada. Bodega La Querencia.

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Mediterranean diet at its best. Home made cheese & wine, home grown tomatoes, bread and olive oil.

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The wine farm had so much character.

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El Pescador is a small restaurant on the beach in Playa Quemada.

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The seafood was delicious. Octopus, fresh dorado and seabass.

 

 

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The landscape as we travelled around the island. I would definitely recommend renting a car to explore the island.

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G’day mate!! Thanks to Dan my man for the awesome company!

Weekend Away In Prague

When you live in a fast-paced city like London, its crucial to take some time to get out, unwind and enjoy some of the more simple things in life. This last weekend I was lucky enough to do this in the beautiful city of Prague; a place I have been wanting to visit ever since I arrived in Europe.

Here are some pictures of my favorite spots and some suggestions of things to do if visiting for a long weekend.

The Timeless Architecture:

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View from the Castle.

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Prague astronomical clock.

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We stayed in Mala Strana. It’s perfectly located, within walking distance of the castle and Charles Bridge.

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The Dancing House.

Charles Bridge:

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John Lennon Wall:

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I was able to spray paint my Peace sign on the famous wall.

The City’s Unique Charm:

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Tiny piece of Africa in Prague.

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The one morning we did a walk up to the small Eiffel Tower and then around the hill. There are beautiful walking and cycling paths to get some fresh air and enjoy the breathtaking view or the Town.

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The Food:

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One of the most inventive desserts I have ever seen. Gastro-punk dessert -small sweets selection (pistachio macaron passion fruit praline chocholate truffles coconut dust and caramel sauce) at the Ginger & Fred Restaurant located at the top of the Dancing House Building.

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My favorite street food in Prague, a traditional Trdelník.

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Pancakes for Breakfast at the Den & Noc in the Old Town.

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Delicious light meal at Vegan’s Prague in Mala Strana.

The Beer:

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We found a traditional Czech Pub called Convikt

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I’m not a beer drinker myself but according to Dan it was lush.

I loved every second of my experience of Prague especially the part where I got to explore the Town with my best friend.

 

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League Collective

Towards the end of last year I was approached by a new fitness clothing brand, League Collective, to feature in a dance video wearing their incredible line.  Naturally I accepted and was excited to work on a dance project where I could collaborate with creative individuals.

I fell in love with their designs during the shoot! My favorite pieces were the hoodie and one-piece; the hoodie is extremely comfortable to warm up in and, as a dancer, you can never have enough leotards with beautiful open backs.

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I was blown away at how the final video came out. Thanks again to  Ania Straczynska for creating the movement and to Lilly Richardson & League Collective for the opportunity to showcase the products.

Video and photo by: PIIPELINE Productions

Christmas Adventures In Bali

After a physically taxing 2016 I was really looking forward to ending off the year with a new adventure which came in the form of a trip to Indonesia. The holiday to the island of Bali posed to be the perfect escape from London; it was a trip that I anticipated would be full of much needed sunshine to help recharge my yogi batteries for the exciting new year ahead – and I was not disappointed!

Bali was my first visit to Asia and I loved every aspect offered by the tropical island life. The holiday was right up my ally with amazing beaches, yoga, food and temples.

Here are a few pictures of places we visited, food we ate, and some yoga life during my trip:

Balangan

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We stayed at the most incredible resort “La Joya” on the Balangan cliffs.

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We arrived late at night and woke up to this spectacular view (please ignore our pasty white faces!!)

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Beach life in Balangan. Watermelon juice was definitely my favourite.

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Purple skies in Balangan.

Kuta

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Walked past this beautiful Temple in the middle of Poppies One.

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Kuta Beach

Ubud

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On the outskirts of Ubud, there are the most incredible coffee farms. We tried the famous Luwak Coffee which was delicious.

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I had no idea that cacao came from this fruit!!

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The most beautiful yoga studio I have ever seen!! If you are ever in Ubud, take a class at the Yoga Barn.

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Delicious vegetarian food at Warungsopa in Ubud

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We ended off the day at the beautiful Tegenungan Waterfall.

Jimbaran

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Exploring the local fish market.

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Fresh fish for lunch. The restaurants are literally on the beach.

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Candisasa

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On our way to the Virgin Beach we stopped in Candisasa and found this beautiful spot.

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Virgin Beach

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I highly recommend missioning out to the Virgin Beach for the day.

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Happy Feet.

Mount Batur

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We hiked Mount Batur (an active volcano) at 4am to catch the sunrise. And what a spectacular view it was.

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Managed to find a rainbow too.

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We hiked that bad boy in the background. Jumping for joy as we reached the bottom.

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My favourite picture of the holiday.

Best things about Bali

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Fresh young coconut water.

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Corn on the cob.

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Fresh spring rolls.

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Travelling with Dan my Man.

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And lastly the incredible company, there is never a dull moment around the McCarthy’s. Our christmas photo says it all!

Bali was just my first small taste of Asian, and I can’t wait to explore more.

 

Travelling the Greek Islands

I was so excited when our plans came together for this holiday. Greece has a special place in my heart and it has been 7 years since I last visited. I could not wait for the coffee, food, beaches, sunshine and nightlife. Naturally, the trip proceeded to exceed all of my expectations.

Here are some pics of the places we travelled and the spots I liked the most.

Athens

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We stayed in Monastiraki and had the best view of the Acropolis

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So many drinks to choose from in Athens. Frappe and Dan’s new favourite Freddochino, an amazing  juice bar right by Monastiraki Square & ouzo and wine tasting in Plaka.

Paros

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Walking through the streets of the Old Town in Paros which had some of the best hand made jewellery I have seen.

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My Favourite day in Paros was hiring a quad bike and exploring the island. We picked up some coffee and delicious baklava on the way then first stopped at beautiful beach called Kolimbithres.

Then we visited an incredible small fisherman’s town Piso Livadi. We walked the harbour, chilled on the beach and then had the most delicious meal at Apaggio.

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Sunset in Paros.

Santorini

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The scenery and views were absolutely breathtaking. I loved hearing bells jingling and then seeing all the donkeys make there way up the streets of Fira.

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We walked up to a little church that looked over the Black Beach.

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More wine tasting at Santo.

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The famous sunset in Oia.

Ios

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I loved walking around Ios and relaxing on the beautiful beaches.

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We had the most delicious seafood dinner at a place called Drakos right on the beach front. I highly recommend the fresh fish, calamari and stuffed squid.

Another amazing holiday catching the final few days of summer with awesome friends from home. Thanks Stasi and Se for the company. And thanks to Dan my man!

Summer Loving In Croatia

After a good 6 months of non stop working and teaching I was able to make the time to escape to the beautiful country Croatia to get some much needed sunshine. It was amazing to relax with my incredible partner Dan my Man, and to fit in some self practice here and there.

Here are some pic of our short time spent in 3 different charming cities:

Dubrovnik

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The most Beautiful Old Town with incredible stairs.

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My favourite spot was this incredible Cave bar that we chilled at the whole afternoon.

Hvar

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My Favourite day in Hvar was renting a scooter and exploring the island. We found Hora, a beautiful wine farm, and spent the afternoon sipping home made wine and tasting cheese and olive oil.

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Dubovica the best beach by far. Extremely low-key with a sweet little beach bar. Be aware that it is a nude beach but totally worth checking out.

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Hula hula beach bar for a cool vibe and fresh fruit.

Split

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Another beautiful beach called Kasjuni

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Zinfandel restaurant was the best food we had in Croatia! I recommend the Tuna or the Sea bass .

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The best part about the trip was travelling with my favourite. Until next time..

Jim Harrington in London

I’m thrilled to share that Jim Harrington, who I did my  Yoga Teacher Training with in South Africa, will be in London offering a series of workshops for one week. Here are more details for those of you who are interested:

Yoga for Sport

Date:  Monday 20 June to Wednesday 22 June

Venue: The Light Centre, Victoria

Time: 9am to 5pm

Cost: £260

Book through Yogacampus

Here is a short video clip of what to expect from the specialist training:

Upgrade your Asana Practice

Date:  Sunday 26 June

Venue: Stretch Yoga

Time: 11.30am to 5.30pm

Cost: £75

Book through Stretch

jim

 

 

Yoga Show Manchester

Round two of the “Om Yoga Show”

This time I travelled with fellow members of the awesome Hotpod team up north to Manchester. Once again it was a successful weekend for Hotpod. All of our classes were fully booked and we were able to connect with amazing people in the industry.

In between teaching classes and manning the Hotpod Yoga stand I was able to snap some photos of the this amazing experience

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Hotpod team family photo. Yoga expert Sarah Lindsey, marketing manager Alex Irving  and franchise manager Emmanuelle Andrews.

 

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The most delicious take on modern Asian food in Manchester at Tattu restaurant.

Me and fellow yoga teacher Sarah Lindsey playing around in between classes:

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And my favourite stand at this Yoga show was definitely Eugene & Pip from Acroyogadance. I was lucky enough to do some AcroYoga with Eugene! Thanks Sarah Linsey for spotting me:

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Rapping up this weekend at Event City with fellow team members. Thank you Manchester and thank you Hotpod Yoga for another amazing trip.