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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fresh Fit Food: Which Meal Delivery Services I Recommend


I know how to cook, prepare and serve delicious, nutritious meals.
I can also talk macronutrients, energy, allergies, vitamins and minerals.
In short, I'm not in the dark when it comes to food and how to look after myself. There are other reasons for using a meal delivery service.

Good Reasons To Use Meal Delivery:

  • Being caught up in a hectic, unpredictable time where shopping, planning meals and feeding yourself and your family or housemates just isn't possible (ie. new job, illness in the family)
  • Experiencing injury or illness that can sap you of energy and the physical ability to get out and about to shop and then to do the preparations also.
  • Feeling caught in a rut and eating the same meals over and over again
  • Struggling to find inspiration for new ideas at meal times and wanting a kick in the butt
  • Curiosity
Why I Use Meal Delivery

I am guilty of being caught in eating the same meals all the time because it's easy. I know exactly what I need to buy in advance, I know how long it takes me to prepare and I know I like it. Only, I get so bored and if I'm bored, so is my body! Variety - just as in the classes you do, the friends you have, the places you go - is fuel for the soul. The body also benefits in every way from a variety of flavours, nutrients and just the mental effect of discovering something different and inspiring.

Which Meal Delivery Service To Use

There's already some really great services that deliver around Australia, and there are new ones popping up every week. This is both fabulous and also overwhelming if you're not sure where to start or you've had a bad experience. 
I've used the following and I highly recommend them. None of them require contracts or an ongoing relationship. You can order a one-time-only delivery and never do so again if you want!




This is for the person too busy to shop but not completely inept in the kitchen. This is for people who enjoy the preparation factor, but don't want to walk through supermarket aisles for the sake of a few meals. The box arrived for me on Tuesday morning (delivered silently in the very early hours of morning!) and had each meal packaged in a separate large paper bag.

In the box, recipe cards that described the preparation of each meal including cooking and prep time. I was provided herbs, flavourings, raw ingredients and ultimately, I had to cook and prepare. The great thing about this is that I felt like I had control over the level of flavouring I could add, and I could be a little creative as far as presentation and making any little adjustments like changing the choice of herbs or adding different vegetables.

I heartily recommend the chicken and fish meals as well as the superb Superfoods Veggie Bowl. I did add extra protein to this one but if you didn't, it's ideal for vegans and vegetarians.

Marley Spoon




Kate Save is a clinical dietitian with a true passion for food and it shows in the delicious menu options she offers. She designs meals with a real focus on balanced amounts of protein, carbs, vitamins and micronutrients to ensure hormonal balance, weight control and VERY importantly, flavour. From frittata to curries, chunky soups, chia pods, protein ball snacks through to vegetarian friendly tofu dinners, there is no skimping on quality and yumminess.

Kate has worked with eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, juveniles and adults in her clinical role of dietitian and it was this, combined with her genuine love for preparing healthful, flavourful foods, that acted as the catalyst to start her own business. She has raised her children on these same meals and it is imperative to her that they are well fed, nourished and loved. This comes across in the food that arrives on my doorstep. It is full of flavour, perfectly balanced for a fit and weight-conscious individual, and also full of love and soul. There is nothing dry and boring about Kate's meals and even though they are perfectly measured as far as macronutrients (safe for anyone looking to lose or maintain weight), there is nothing boring about Kate's menu.

You can put in an order as late as Sunday evening and be assured of delivery the following Tuesday - everything is prepared and delivered fresh and clearly labelled.

I totally recommend the chia puddings - in fact, I'd put in an order for these alone! - and the frittata with kale and chickpeas. Delicious. Definitely don't skip the Berry Bliss Chia Pudding and the Blueberry with Chia Seeds.
I also loved the South American Chilli Beef And Beans for lunch on the go.

Be Fit Food


My Muscle Chef was the very first meal delivery service I tried and it is not at all what I feared it might be: tiny portions of NASA-grade food for body sculptors who subsist on a couple of almonds and a lettuce leaf. THANKFULLY these are divinely tasty and the fact they are energy-controlled and designed with the ideal ratio of protein to carbs is an afterthought once you dig the fork in. The meals range from vegetarian through to kangaroo, fish, chicken and beef.
I'm a big fan of the kangaroo with brown rice. It's so easy to overcook and dry out kangaroo meat but this is perfectly prepared and delivered for maximum flavour and texture. I admit, the meals are not nearly as big as I need for dinner. As a lunch option, perfectly portioned. I add nuts, extra rice and loads of vegetables to the dinner portion and occasionally, extra protein depending on my appetite. They deliver weekly to Melbourne and Sydney.

My Muscle Chef

Other delivery services I recommend trying include Aussie Farmers Direct, Woolworths Online and Nourished Life for supplements and healthy meal preparation tools.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Be Truly Well and Truly Fit - Free Download

If you have decided - especially coming up to the end of one year and the beginning of another, that now is the time to overhaul your mindset and to embrace a life of being well and fit, I can't do it for you. But I can give you the tools to make it happen. 
I'll be creating some free workout guides in the coming weeks, but this is the ideal place to start. With reflection and setting your intention.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Scents for Your Studio, Your Body and Your Yoga Mat


Don't underestimate the power of the senses in affecting your daily life.

Sometimes it just takes a new soap or rose-scented facial cleanser to pep up the morning and start everything off right. Herewith, my favourite scents for my home, the studio environment, my yoga mat and my limbs.

Home & Studio

Living in an apartment, I have the luxury of knowing a candle or a diffuser will travel. This means, however, that if I pick the wrong scent, I'm stuck with it in every room. So! I am very careful. If you are in a studio environment, you don't want to be overwhelmed by scent nor offended. I find incense really makes me feel congested and claustrophobic and I have avoided going to yoga classes where I know the instructor will be burning it before and during class.
At home, I use MOR Neroli and Clementine diffuser. The beauty of this is that it takes no thought or maintenance. I just set up the diffuser initially and leave it. This is unlike candles where you need to light them and remember not to leave the house while they're still burning.
Neroli and Clementine is citrus fresh but subtle and just leaves a zesty, slightly Mediterranean fragrance lingering.

Body 

There's nothing worse than trying to get your weights workout on when the person next to you is either:
a) not wearing deodorant at all; or
b) wearing a powerful aftershave/perfume/anti-perspirant

Be authentic. Wear a fragrance that reflects your personality, your mood and your style but also be aware that you don't need to intoxicate the people around you. The gym or the yoga studio is not the place for Dior Poison, people.
I love The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Mist because it's fresh, it's subtle and it reminds me of beaches, fresh grapefruit juice, island time and has just enough sweetness to balance the citrus zing. Plus there's no nasty additives and it's ethically produced, you can be sure.



Yoga Mat 



Four Thieves is a combination of organic oils that are designed to not only purify and cleanse, but to uplift the senses and transport you. I use this to cleanse my mat before and after practicing and it has the beautiful, sage-based scent that reminds me of Bali and jungles, beaches, wild nature and beauty. Try Melbourne yoga teacher Amanda's blend - made locally for yogis! Four Thieves by Ananda Aromamist.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Basic Health Hacks


No matter how healthy, well, fit or fully spiritually evolved you are. there can always be little tips and ideas you haven't considered or that you ONCE practiced and forgot about. Without further ado, some basic health hacks you may already be aware of (applause for you!) and some extra ideas you can keep in your arsenal for Living 101.

Keep frozen veggies stocked up
This one is so simple. Mixed vegetables, diced up and ready for cooking. They bulk up any meal from simple steak and veggies to a hearty soup or stew. It's not always convenient to go shopping for fresh veggies and fruit when you're under time pressures. Fail safe!

Flavour with organic herbs and spices instead of chemical laden, sugar and MSG rich stuff
It can be easy to reach for those cheap bottles of "Thai" "Indian" "Moroccan" flavourings in the supermarket, but if you read the ingredients list, chances are they are full of sugar and random ingredients like "chicken flavour" (what IS that?!).
My favourite find is Australian made, ALL NATURAL, gluten free, no additives and preservatives Pinch Spices. The Hunter Valley Rub is delicious on meat dishes and the Spicy Caribbean Rub is amazing with eggs and veggies, pulses and rice based meals. And fish. And pretty much anything really. Yum.

Look for free gym trials and yoga/pilates/dance studio special offers

Try a Google search for local gyms and studios and if they don't list trial offers, don't be afraid to ask. Many studios and gyms understand that you don't want to sign up for a membership or even a month of visits unless you get a good feel for their offerings on the initial visit. 



Keep teabags in your handbag

Found yourself stuck in a meeting or the office for a deadline-based issue and stomach rumbling? Is your colleague offering you Instant Coffee as the only option? You will thank me for this! I take them on flights too. It's like a little bit of home you can indulge in anywhere. 

Stock up on long-life milk and  basics like tinned tuna and salmon, brown rice and quinoa
The best way to avoid indulging in the 2-minute noodles your flatmate has conveniently stocked up on in case of armageddon or even eating Cornflakes for dinner (guilty - but Special K, surely that's a TAD better?) is to ensure you have some basic staples that are adaptable. Since you've already got a cupboard full of Pinch Spices now, any rice and fish, or chickpea and quinoa meal is going to taste delish.
Coles does a range of 2-serve rice, quinoa options. These are genius for the pantry at home and at work. I swear by brown rice/quinoa combo. Zap it in the microwave (or don't, if you're me) and combine it with whatever pulses, veggies, proteins you love and voila! 

Use Facebook groups to buy, sell and swap fitness gear 

There's plenty of location and product/services based Facebook groups where you can buy, swap and sell. This is a convenient and affordable way to pick up new fitness gear, from DVDs and sneakers to leggings and fitness trackers, while also being able to swap or sell what you no longer use.

Learn how to create some basic, healthy meals so that you're confident to cook for yourself

This may be watching YouTube or it may be asking a friend or family member to share recipes and cooking tips with you. For some of us, boiling an egg is a complete mystery. If you're feeling a bit braver and want to make your cooking lesson a bit more of a social affair, see if your local market runs cooking courses. Some councils, food stores and natural health stores run classes too. As per any major life decision, Google is your friend. I love these zucchini fritters with smoked salmon and poached eggs.

Use a meal delivery service for a week to introduce new flavours and recipes to your palate

I can wholeheartedly attest to the quality and reliability of My Muscle Chef. I became addicted to the kangaroo-based meals but the basa fish fillets and chicken were also fabulous. They come in different sizes but all labelled and securely packaged in separate trays ready for the fridge. Pick your meals for a week or longer, and you can take some to work, keep some for home and know that you don't have to worry about shopping or preparing food if you're under enough pressure with work, family or personal issues. Also fabulous if you're injured or post surgery or just unwell. Everything is done for you! These are also ideal if you can't manage to get beyond the same old ritualistic meals - egg and lettuce roll from the cafeteria every day? Steak and potatoes every night? Change it up!

A new player is Marley Spoon. I'm about to give this a whirl as they are releasing a whole new super healthy range of meal options. Their current options look fab too though so go check it out. Never hurts to try something new.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Super Green Beauty Buys

There's a real explosion of brands new and old doing fabulous #greenbeauty products. What's this? Cruelty free, natural-based products that harness the power of plants, oils, environmentally friendly packaging and sustainably produced and manufactured ingredients.
These used to be ridiculously expensive products only available via luxury stores or, at the other end of the spectrum, packaged in ugly brown boxes at the local organic co-op. Thankfully, a rise in consumer demand for ethical, beautiful, luxurious and yet affordable beauty products means you have a treasure trove of Australian and international brands and products to opt for. I've tried, tested and truthfully recommend the following.

For cleansing, Sukin Purifying Gel Cleanser and the Super Greens Facial Scrub are divinely scented, gentle and under $15 each. In fact, the Super Greens is my favourite range (the face moisturiser is a must) and post workout shower time is 100% better with the Botanical Lime Coconut Body Wash. No sulphates and no parabens in any of these products!

Botani is a small, local operation that does beautifully packaged, scented skincare that is environmentally conscious, designed to nourish the skin and also the soul. I know that sounds hokey! I just breathe this in as I'm using it though, and I know it's one of a small batch, not created in some massive factory without heart. It's available at health food stores, Go Vita, Priceline and Great Earth. I especially adore the Acai Berry Active Antioxidant Serum (it's berry, berry good!) and the Boost Balancing Moisturiser for non greasy hydration.
Simple is available all over Australia and online. It's also super affordable for budget beauty babes. The name says it all really. Nothing but the basics and really, you don't want to settle in with a mug of tea and a blanket to have to read through the ingredients list of your skincare. I use their new Aqua-Lock Cleansing Facial Wipes for the post-workout, pre-shower period where you just don't want to get sweat and germs all over your iPhone. The Hydrating Cleansing Oil is ideal for when I've been overdoing the retinol and just need to use something really gentle and non violent.


J'adore this Swiss nail polish and nail care range. Sure, Mavala doesn't have the fancy, funny names like OPI, but it does have the most gorgeous mini nail polishes and if you are a creature who loves change and tends to only use nail polish 10 or so times before the next colour beckons, you won't need full sized lacquers. These are also 5 free, cruelty free and definitely get the Green Beauty prize for nail care. Fabulous range of colours too. Those Swiss beauty designers are way ahead of the game on knowing what the international fashionistas are going to want to opt for in regards to colours. From neutrals through to pastels, brights, gothic to glam, not a colour missing from the range. Love Alpine Green and Blue Curacao mini nail lacquers, and the lip liner in Innocent Pink for an everyday, subtle definition to the lips. I'm all about pencils.
The Body Shop is an international green beauty and wellbeing name that everyone knows. Begun by an entrepreneurial and ethically driven woman with a vision for beautiful products that emphasise sustainable ingredients, manufacturing, fairtrade and supporting farming communities. There is no doubting that vision carries through to this day and while all the classic fragrances and ranges are still going strong (Vanilla, White Musk, Vitamin C) it is some of the newer ranges that are truly exciting me! As a banana paddlepop devotee, the banana shampoo and conditioner is heaven for me. I am also all about a fresh, citrus scent and Pink Grapefruit body mist and the eau de parfum has the perfect balance of sweet and zingy. It can be worn alone or layer the body mist with something a little more herby like sage or jasmine based lotion or eau de parfum.

Avalon Organics does a great range of Vitamin C based skincare as well as their popular lavender range. I use the Vitamin C cleanser, Lavender scrub, Vitamin C Toner and moisturiser. No nasties, just simple formulas that are potent. There's a reason you will easily find Avalon Organics at health food and organic stores. People who care about what they put in and on their bodies are fans of this brand and have been for decades. Vegan, no false fragrances and no synthetics or parabens.

Burt's Bees does the basics with pizzazz, from moisturisers to hand creams, baby powder and lip balms to the new range of makeup that is gorgeously packaged in honeycomb inspired columns. I adore the beeswax based lip and face products. They are fabulously packaged, deliciously scented and sustainably, ethically produced and sourced. I adore the Baby Bee Skin Creme as an all-round balm (even nostril balm come hayfever season!) and any and all of the cleansers.

Eminence Organics is an award winning green beauty cult brand. I have been guilty of opening jars of blueberry and acai berry spiked serums and desperately wanting to eat them! The smell is so divinely pure and genuine, you could believe you were about to coat your face in strawberry puree. While it's not a budget buy, you absolutely get the quality you pay for. I adore Coconut Milk Cleanser (very gentle, very yummy) and the Sweet Red Rose Tonique (will make you want to get out and literally smell the roses!)
Certified organic, Australian beauty brand The Divine Company is a new player in the green beauty game. They hit David Jones stores in Australia only this month! I predict a riot, as some Britpop lads would say. Now, look, I'm as sceptical of marketing messages as any smart, savvy shopper, but in fact I really like what The Divine Company state on their website. They acknowledge that many beauty products and brands are entirely about the external appearance whereas beauty and self-care are much more about being elements of a holistic approach to wellbeing. I've been using The Miniature Series which is excellent, again, for the gym bag or for throwing in your carry-on bag when travelling. Try ACO Organic Certified Illuminating Day Cream and the Purifying Series (cleanser, toner, day cream).
As a pineapple and coconut scent addict, the whole (ALL AUSTRALIAN) bx Earth range totally appeals to me. Fortunately, it is super affordable (you'll find it at the local supermarket!) so you can afford to nab every scent combination. My tips? Desert Lime and Coconut hand wash and Pineapple and Coconut. It's like a G-rated mojito for your body!
Promising to "be friendly to your skin, and the environment" - I genuinely love the playful approach they have taken to product packaging, names and the level of care and consideration they've put into using quality ingredients and crafting the most appealing scents and formulations. Try You Scrub Up Well and Good Morning Sunshine (citrus fresh tangerine!)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Melbourne Yoga Teachers

In the many years I've lived in Melbourne and been doing yoga - mostly around the inner, northern and eastern suburbs, I've had the great privilege of meeting and learning from a diverse and divine variety of Melbourne's finest yoga instructors.
Naturally, the teachers we are most drawn to is a subjective matter and this is not a "Best 10" or "Top Rated" style post. Instead, these are some of the teachers that have inspired me to think, study and appreciate yoga philosophy, culture and physical poses. I would recommend seeking them out and making time to do a class. If time and location doesn't permit that though, perhaps their recommended reading, clothing and cafes will encourage you to connect with them beyond the mat!

Name: Joel Hill

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: My favourite pose for as long as I can remember is Utthita Trikonasana, it always seems to hit the right spots.

Must Read Yoga Book: If I had to choose one book it would be Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar , I always find new inspiration from it and things I've previously missed, even twenty years after I first layed eyes on it.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: The Iyengars are always a source of inspiration as is my teacher Glenn Ceresoli. Their teaching inspires the way I approach my practice heavily. In the last eighteen months I have been following the American yoga teacher and Sanskrit scholar Christopher Tompkins work very closely. His scholarship has very much revitalised my interest in yoga philosophy and history, I highly recommend anyone interested in these areas to check out his online offerings.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: For me these days it's any cafe that is kid friendly, I'm very much out of the loop on this.

Currently Teaching at: Currently I'm taking classes at Gateway Osteopathy and Pilates in Eltham and am also teaching Anatomy for The Yoga Social YTT programs.

Name: Gena Kenny

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week : I’ll begin by sharing my favourite translation of ‘Asana’ which is “To find a comfortable seat within, so that no matter what is happening without, you can remain at peace in your home.”

Yoga for me is exactly that, it is finding ‘my seat’ within.  How I do that is different from day to day; some days it requires simple and mindful breath work, other days it requires more physical movement.  Over the years my work with the physical Asana has become more refined and more subtle.  I have moved into a very different practice that is not necessarily broad gross movement but instead has it’s very foundation in the more subtle realms.  I have found that through sustained and regular practice I have learned how to move into the stillness that is in between, inside and throughout all movement.    This movement into stillness helps me to deal with my day to day life interactions and circumstances with more grace and more ease.  So not a favourite yoga pose, but a favourite way to utilize yoga for a more graceful life.

Must Read Yoga Book :  Wow.. this is a difficult question for me to answer as I love so many different yoga books; some for the anatomical information, some for philosophical learning, others for delving more deeply into the ‘Self’.  So I’ll share one of each with you . J

Anatomical:
“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff

Philosophical:
“Bringing Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi

“Self-work”
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer

 Teacher Who Inspires Me : I am most inspired by Donna Farhi, who has been teaching teacher’s for close to 30 years. I highly recommend any yoga teacher who has not either read Donna’s books or delved into her teachings with the Yoga Teacher intensive programs, teacher training courses or retreats that Donna runs.. to do so!!
What inspires me most about Donna is her embodiment of the practices that she shares.  She has ‘lived’ her practices and embodies them in how she teaches, lives and moves through the world.   I share a quote for you here from her book “Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit”.

“If you go deeply enough inside yourself, you will find not something small but something immensely spacious”.

I had read Donna’s books for many years, but hadn’t actually been to any of her teaching intensives until I suffered a debilitating back injury whilst working as a Firefighter in the Melbourne Fire Brigade.  At that point, I didn’t know if I could ever work as a firefighter again or even complete a yoga practice without pain ever again.  But through Donna’s in depth teachings on the structure, the nervous system and movement patterns, I am now pain free and teaching yoga for spinal care.

 Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : My favourite new cafĂ© is in Albert Park and is called Zea Food Journey on Victoria Avenue (just next to Jocks Ice cream).  For those who know me, you will know that I have a sweet tooth and Zea meets that sweet tooth with a fusion between France and Greece. French style crepes with a Greek style yumminess packed inside!!  Plus they have amazing coffee and real love packed into whatever they do.

Currently Teaching at: I have my own yoga studio which is in Port Melbourne and is called Ohana Yoga.  “Ohana” is a Hawaiian word which is translated to mean ‘connections’ and that is what Ohana Yoga is about.  We  have an incredible community of students and teachers who get to know each other through classes, coffee/tea after class and different events that we offer; which include free talks on different subjects to share knowledge, insight and just simply those moments of being able to connect with others who are in the community.

We also offer a really fair teacher rate which is $10 to encourage teachers to take time for themselves and give back to themselves .. we all know that being of service can lead to the ‘sharing, caring’ people in our world sharing a bit too much, so we like to encourage teachers to give back to themselves through restorative and mindful practices.  I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity, inclination and energy to be able to create a studio that offers an enriching daily yoga practice, yoga teacher training’s and most importantly a space that is real community hub for those who have found us.

Name: Andrew Mournehis

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Savasana (Corpse pose) / Yoga Nidra.
In my eyes, THE MOST IMPORTANT ( yet often neglected) POSE in our yoga practice.
As my Ayurveda teacher and mentor would say... you WILL practice Savasana and yoga nidra for 5 mins every day for the rest of your life... the teaching has stuck!

Must Read Yoga Book: The Bhagavad Gita ... favourite translation by Stephen Mitchell. A must read for any yoga practitioner or teacher on learning how to live, love and serve.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Elena Brower... for her courage to face her shadows, live with integrity and congruence ..:and be willing to live a life of Forgiveness, Light, Love and Truth.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Oooohhh, so many, but my current fave is Merri Cafe at Ceres ... beautiful community.


Currently Teaching at:

  • Pranahouse in Thornbury Mon and Wed mornings 930am-11am
  • Workshops and intensives from "Breathing space yoga" in Prahran
  • Teacher and facilitator for TT at Academy of Yoga Learning since 2003 
  • Retreats both nationally and internationally since 2003

Details at Divine Grace



Name: William Wong

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Handstand!!!

Must Read Yoga Book: Not specifically a yoga book but The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Claudia Whitney

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Pana Chocolate or Raw Trader

Currently Teaching at: Power Living Fitzroy, Yoga 37, Virgin Active and Fitness First



Name: Amanda Pittard

Favorite Yoga Pose this Week: Natarajasana | Dancer Pose as it allows me to open up my body, clear my mind and breathe evenly so that I can unlock truly profound discoveries about myself, physically my flexibility and balance, energetically opens my sacral, solar plexus & heart chakra allowing me to find balance in the realm of sensuality, personal power and love & compassion, Spiritually allowing me to notice where I get unstuck, so I can release my samsara.

Must Read Yoga book: "Your Body, Your Yoga" by Bernie Clark

Teacher Who Inspires Me : Sarah Cresswell at Teacher & owner at KX Yoga Malvern. When I'm on my mat I love listening to her kind thoughts, mindful manner & positive reinforcements of how wonderful we all are & what we bring to ourselves each & every time we come to practice.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : The Bakers Wife in Burke Road, Glen Iris, the menu is amazing & fresh.

Styles of Yoga I teach : Vinyasa Flow, Slow flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Kids & Teens

Currently teaching at : Endless Lifestyle Balwyn, KX Yoga Malvern (assisting) Goodlife Camberwell, ReCreation Malvern, South Pacific Chadstone, Swift Fitness (kids/teens), Genesis Caulfield, Firbank Grammar Brighton (kids), Prana House Thornbury. Will commence shortly at the Habitat Space Malvern & Daya Wellbeing Hawthorn.

Name: Tania Perry

My Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Humble Warrior. I named my business after this pose and tend to incorporate it into most of my classes. It reminds me to stay strong and grounded, to surrender and let go of that which no longer serves, with grace and humility. Humble Warrior symbolises for me the strength and beauty of yoga. It requires a balance of effort, ease and courage.

Must Read Yoga Book: The complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clarke. I have always been a Yang Yogi, this book has taught me how to find stillness and to yield in my practice, to take time in transitions and to be more mindful. I am a convert to Yin Yoga. I always try to find a balance in life, and yin Yoga brings me closer to this. Yin makes me a better Yoga teacher. This a wholistic approach, nurtures the body and softens me both on and off the mat.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: There have been so many over the years, but any teacher who connects with me personally, gets to know my practice, offers adjustments, inspires me and makes me a better yogi. I love Nicky Hanley (AYA Prahran), for her free spirit and creative sequencing. For my own professional development I attend classes with Zoltan - Swami Gopal (Yoga in Daily Life/ Fitness First), he has an authentic, calm nature and his classes always challenge and inspire.

My go to cafe in Melbourne: Combi in Ormond Rd, Elwood. The best raw treats, tumeric lattes, organic, healthy....food to make you glow, from the inside out. The raw caramel slice (sugar free/vegan) is to die for!!

Currently teaching at Om Yoga Sth Yarra, Fitness First, Sth Pacific Gyms and Humble Warrior Yoga and Wellness.
I also teach Meditation, Pranyama  and Chair Yoga at Salts of the Earth Prahran.


Name: Jennifer Crescenzo

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Elephant Pose - it's a dynamic variation of a wide leg forward fold that involves keeping your legs strong and feet grounded while playfully twisting your trunk!

Must Read Yoga Book: Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy, and Movement by Joanne Avison

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Paul and Suzee Grilley - I have studied with them for nearly 8 years now and through the years they have changed the way I understand and experience my own body in movement and meditation.  Whether they are teaching functional anatomy or the Bhagavad Gita, Paul teaches with great precision, passion, and humor and Suzee's boundless curiosity about movement makes the asana practice both practical and playful .  I just returned from studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with them and when I arrived we hugged and then they immediately started quizzing me about my Olympic Lifting and how it was influencing my body and the way I'm teaching yoga.  The way they engage with their students makes for a really dynamic and creative training environment and I always leave their company feeling simultaneously grounded and charged!

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne:  I live and teach south side so locally I like Magic for coffee and Urban Projuice for healthy, nourishing food.

Currently Teaching at: For the past few years I've been writing and co-facilitating 200 Hour Hatha Yoga TT's at The Yoga Social and MOVE Yoga and developing and facilitating Yin Teacher Training in Australia and internationally.  I teach weekly Yin, Yin/Yang, and Flow classes at MOVE Yoga, Ohana Yoga, and Yoke Yoga.  And I'm about to rejoin the team at Yoga Flame at their new Windsor studio!  My schedule of classes and events is available at yoga.jencrescenzo.com



I'm 100% sure I'm still to meet many fantastic Melbourne yoga instructors. Come and let me know whose class you absolutely wouldn't miss on Core Integrity With Cat Facebook.



Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Head & Shoulders: Dandruff Causes and Treatment

Just like drinking milk from the carton or wearing your pyjama pants to the supermarket, dandruff is one of those things we just don’t like to fess up to. Fortunately, aisles full of treatments and targeted products suggest it’s a common malaise though!
In working at gyms, studios and various locations where I put my hands all over weights, yoga mats, fitness equipment of all descriptions and so on, I know I’m coming into contact with all sorts of possible allergens, sweat, body oils and bacteria. This is going to be something many people face in their daily life – whether through work or leisure choices. This relentless bacteria onslaught can put the immune system under stress to battle and react daily. Ultimately, an imbalanced and exhausted immune system will start sending signals that it’s struggling. A sensitised, itchy and dandruff-prone scalp is one of those warning signs.

Ultimately, you must take a holistic approach to ensure that any treatment is long-lasting. That means identifying ways you can strengthen your immune system with lifestyle choices as well as topical treatments (targeted shampoo and conditioner). From the foods you eat, to the amount and quality of sleep you get, to your exercise and creative endeavours... choose an approach that makes you FEEL good so that your body has the energy and the strength to function optimally.
Getting plenty of vitamin rich veggies and fruit, protein-rich grains, pulses, milk, eggs and fish are excellent ways to bolster energy. Don’t rule out any food group unless you have a legitimate allergy. Avoid ruling out whole food groups and remember also that the way you FEEL about what you’re eating affects the way you digest. So if you’re going to eat half a pack of Tim Tams, EMBRACE the chocolate goodness and do it with joy.
I’ve tried a few dandruff treatment shampoos and conditioners and found that many of them are really harsh and leave my hair super dry. Thankfully, Head & Shoulders has a new (very budget-friendly!) range out that is designed for everyday use so much gentler on the scalp and hair. This is down to a pH formula that is effective in treating dandruff deep in the roots without upsetting the natural balance of oils. Head & Shoulders Clean & Balanced 3ActionFormula Shampoo and Conditioner is my secret weapon and  as a dark-haired damsel, I am in need of all the fortification I can get!
I was revisiting some articles I contributed to on yoga for beauty and health on BeautyHeaven and came across the recommendation for Head & Shoulders. You can read reviews on their site.

Post sponsored by Head & Shoulders. Product genuinely used, reviewed and promoted with integrity. 


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Difference Makes Us

After reading my last post about the essential appreciation we must have for being connected, I am posting on the celebration of our differences.
I have the symbol for Pi on my shoulder. When I first had it inked about 8 years ago, I did so with a vague but determined understanding that Pi represented the scientific and quantum concept that there are patterns and powers that govern nature and the elements, including human nature. This doesn't mean anything, especially humans, are predictable and acting and feeling according to scientific formulas or rigid systems.
This means there's mystery but magic existing alongside all of us, interconnecting us and nature, the planets, the elements. Though it can be easy for me to fall into believing I am alone when I get down, I also never feel alone for long because I do feel connected. I imagine that beyond my room is my city and my country and beyond that, every country, all oceans, marine life, clouds, planets, dark matter, meteors, ozone... and we are all affected. It is also inherently tied to ideas within Chaos Theory. The most common example given of this is the butterfly that flaps its wings on one side of the planet and a tidal wave eventuates on the other. Everything affects another.

Well, that was a long way of explaining that despite us all being deeply connected on the deepest level, we are all entirely different and beautifully unique in our self-expression. This is being authentic. We express our style and values, our passions and personality,through fashion, makeup, hair style and colour, the way we move and gesture.

One of my favourite marketplaces is running the Difference Makes Us campaign right now. Etsy has a new Australian homeplace with loads of local makers trading their goodies. Here's the bonus.

Post a picture on Instagram of a unique item you own and love and tag it with with the hashtag #DifferenceMakesUs for a chance to win an Etsy gift card valued at $1000

Here are some of my favourite Etsy finds, local and international.

Handmade Ballet Slippers by Antoni at GrandGear (Australian!)
Customised sportswear by Misty at mysticclothing.
Om Lotus Sterling Silver necklace by elisdesigns.
Nike Sneaker Poster set by PigeonStudios.
Ashtanga Bra at AryaClothing
Glow In The Dark Yoga Shorts at UriahClearLight.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bringing Yoga To Life


Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many books on yoga, but not many really delve into what it means to study and engage in yoga practice beyond the mat. What makes yoga different to simply doing stretches or gymnastics at the local recreation centre?
In Bringing Yoga To Life, Donna has an easily relatable and no-nonsense style of writing and teaching. She can illuminate very complex ideas and concepts through stories, both personal recollections from her classes and retreats, and also from yogic texts like the Bhagavad Gita.
Essentially, though this concept is easily articulated, it is the very heart of yoga and cannot truly be appreciated and integrated into our practice and our daily living until we are open to learning. Yoga is the unity of not only our own body and mind, but a unity with the world. It is, as Donna tries to examine and explain, finding our self in every thing (leaf, animal, air) and every person and also, knowing that we are in everything around us also. Donna describes this idea as being like a matrix of energy, or a silence, that exists behind all the noise of daily living and our own mental chatter. It is our connection to the universe that hums along eternally. This is also the concept of Om, often chanted before and after class. The unity of our bodily selves with our infinite selves and with everyone and everything around us.
If I’ve lost you already, then this book may not be for you yet. If you have just done your first class, or your fifty-thousandth class, this book will confront and challenge your ideas about yoga and about your life. I know I have spent nights awake and stopped at the traffic lights considering everything from my approach as a teacher to whether I’m breathing fully and what my intentions genuinely are for every choice I make. As yogis, we aren’t going to do everything perfectly. Donna recognises the obsessive and ritualistic approach of a well-known yoga instructor in her book and his rigid adhesion to his own practice is so determined, he leaves the class he is conducting to go and do his personal practice alone.
What this also illustrates, inadvertently, is that yoga is a diverse school and there are many approaches. Donna’s most enlightening chapter, for me, was about seeking the teachers who resonate for us and recognising the traits that we most seek, require and benefit from in our teachers are what we really need to absorb into our approach to ourselves.
For me, I seek teachers who are frank, no-nonsense, challenging but also with a deep joy for living, movement, sharing and able to challenge my ideas and movement so that I push further than is comfortable, but doing so with a compassionate and attentive instructor overseeing.
I seek teachers who are passionate about what they know and always open and curious to learning and seeing what they know in a new light. I seek teachers who are exceptional students. I see this in myself as a deeply curious person.
Using anecdotes, spiritual texts, poetry, stories passed down from family and friends, Donna has not written a step-by-step guide for dummies on the spiritual life by any means. This is, however, not also a prescriptive text but one that like all great teachings, invites us to question what we think we are certain about and then to indulge new ideas and practices in our daily life and to also appreciate that our approach to life and to yoga will change with circumstances, age and experience.
My only niggles are very few really. I also think that with time and consideration, and more practice, I may change my mind on finding them niggles at all. Towards the end of the book, one chapter makes a few references to what particular age groups, from the 20s to the 30s “normally do”. As a yoga instructor and a writer, I meet many people of all cultures, ages, gender identity and what I have learned, is that there is no “normal”. In yoga particularly, instructors are a wild and diverse group of spiritual seekers of all ages and physical abilities. To define age groups and what they should or should not be doing is an exercise in narrowing down what a life ought to look like. This is perhaps just my sensitive interpretation though!
Donna is candid to a very controlled and short extent, in revealing family trouble that lead to an eating disorder in her twenties, exacerbated by dance training where her teacher made derogatory remarks about her less-than-bony physique. This is a common experience for many who studied dance or gymnastics as children and teens and found their bodies became battlegrounds for control and aesthetic worth. I know I have had my battles and it is enormously comforting to me to also know there are many well-known and honest international yoga teachers who speak about overcoming these lethal disorders to find a love and appreciation for their bodies through yoga. This may sound simplistic, and it is not through doing tree pose and having some amazing moment of enlightenment that acceptance and appreciation is nurtured in the body.
It is, as Donna reveals in Bringing Yoga To Life, through questioning, studying, and also accepting the mystery of life and having faith. This doesn’t mean worshipping God or Buddha or identifying with a religion. This means accepting the enormous joy and rarity of actually being here at all, of all the endlessly possible genetic and energetic combinations of a human being, you are here. This means accepting that we are not alone – we exist as part of the universe, and it exists in us. I am still considering what I read in Donna’s book. Hourly, daily, weekly. It has inspired me to seek more reading and to approach my classes with a greater curiosity and desire to inspire that same curiosity and joy in yoga as a spiritual practice in which asanas are an element but not the end goal.
Originally published in 2005, this is a book that has not aged nor can I imagine it will ever be redundant. For curious yogis and those who seek to embrace yoga on, off and beyond the mat and the routines of daily life. I had the great fortune to read this book via SocialBookCo.

View all my reviews

Friday, 16 September 2016

Vitamin C For Body And Skin


So many products, from bottled juice to hand cream, claim to be rich in vitamin C. It's a great marketing spruik, but do we actually know what value it has and whether it is effectively absorbed? Do we even need it?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant (fights free radicals) that plays an essential role in collagen synthesis. It is responsible for healing cells and this explains why it is so often a key ingredient in skin care. Vitamin C has been shown to prevent and treat ultraviolet photodamage (pigmentation/burn). The skin is made up of layers of dermis. Both the epidermis and he dermis have high levels of Vitamin C concentration, though this declines with age. Concentration of Vitamin C in the skin also decreases with exposure to pollution (car fumes, cigarette smoke, etc), UV light and stress.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin include increased hydration and a more youthful appearance as a result. The skin is also more resilient to sun exposure and pollutants.
Both topical and oral supplements have shown to have positive results for skin health. Since Vitamin C in the skin is normally transported from the blood stream, an oral supplement that delivers sufficient dosage is beneficial but excessive doses don't increase the concentration of vitamin C in the skin so be sure to follow instructions on any supplements.

Vitamin C is absorbed through topical application where the pH level is below 4.0 (greaer acidity) and greatest absorption is seen in a 20% vitamin C solution. It crosses the epidermis and reaches he underlying layers of skin. Exposure to heat, air and light degrade the quality and concentration of Vitamin C though. Don't store any skin care in sunlight or leave open longer than required.

Vitamin C has shown benefits in boosting skin hydration and improving healing time for wounds.
I like to hit my skin and body with double barrels, so I take high quality oral supplement, Viviscal (all the celebs and models do it, you know!) and Medik8 C-Tetra Cream. Both are not cheap, but they last at LEAST a few months and the high quality means you get results rather than cheaper products with lower concentration and shelf time.
Make sure Vitamin C rich foods are part of your diet too - I don't believe any of us are about to suffer scurvy but better safe than sorry.
I'm a little bit in love with Nourish Atelier for great recipes and inspiring ideas with food. Her latest genius recipe is Butternut and Kale Lasagne with Quinoa and Red Pepper Sugo. Go there.

Thanks to Oregon State University for Vitamin C info.

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