Monday, 17 August 2015


I’ve mentioned before that I’m not all that up-close-and-personal with Yin and Restorative Yoga because I have the attention span of a gnat and don’t like being still for long periods of time, but every now and then I teach slow paced classes, and I do have a tendency to throw the odd restorative pose into a regular class if I think the students need it.  One I often use, and I know students usually love, is a Restorative Pigeon.  Pigeon is one of those poses which gets a lot of yogis in an emotional pickle because it’s either incredibly intense for their crazy-tight hips, or they’re doing it incorrectly and therefore hurting themselves.  A long time ago, I started shoving blocks and folded blankets under the hips of any student who refused to admit that they couldn’t get both sit bones down on the floor; mostly because I don’t want them to hurt themselves by torqueing their knee in at an unnatural angle, but also a little because….you know…I don’t want to get sued for allowing my students to hurt themselves. 

Whenever I teach this pose to a student for the first time, most look at me like I’m crazy for about three seconds, and then realise that it’s pretty awesome when they get over the peculiarity of it.

How to Restorative Pigeon


1.        Place a bolster smack-bang in the middle of your mat so that is horizontal before you.  Place your hands in front of the bolster and lift into a Downward Facing Dog with your feet behind the bolster.  Lift your right leg into the air for a Three Legged Dog. 


2.       Swing your right knee over the top the bolster and bring it down to the floor so that your right heel can rest alongside the long edge of the bolster before your left wrist.  Lower your hips onto the bolster with your left leg extended behind you.  YOUR RIGHT KNEE MUST BE FLAT ON THE FLOOR! Slide as far forward onto the bolster as you need to in order to make this happen. 
3.       Check in with your right foot and ensure that you’re flaring the toes back towards your knee.  Check in with your left leg and ensure that your hamstring, calf and heel are all pointing up to the ceiling.  The leg should be straight out behind you with no sickling in the ankle. 


4.       Walk your hands as far forward as you can to lower down onto your elbows.  If it’s comfortable to do so, lower your chest down until you can rest your forehead on the floor or a prop of your choice.  
   Now... take a little nap.


REMEMBER!  Look after your knees!  If this posture hurts your leading knee in any way, get out of the pose immediately.  If a regular Pigeon stretch causes pain in your knee, a supported stretch may still not be appropriate for you, so please listen to your poor aching joints and avoid any permanent damage.  


I’ve mentioned before that I’m not all that up-close-and-personal with Yin and Restorative Yoga because I have the attention span of a gnat and don’t like being still for long periods of time, but every now and then I teach slow paced classes, and I do have a tendency to throw the odd restorative pose into a regular class if I think the students need it.  One I often use, and I know students usually love, is a Restorative Pigeon.  Pigeon is one of those poses which gets a lot of yogis in an emotional pickle because it’s either incredibly intense for their crazy-tight hips, or they’re doing it incorrectly and therefore hurting themselves.  A long time ago, I started shoving blocks and folded blankets under the hips of any student who refused to admit that they couldn’t get both sit bones down on the floor; mostly because I don’t want them to hurt themselves by torqueing their knee in at an unnatural angle, but also a little because….you know…I don’t want to get sued for allowing my students to hurt themselves. 

Whenever I teach this pose to a student for the first time, most look at me like I’m crazy for about three seconds, and then realise that it’s pretty awesome when they get over the peculiarity of it.

How to Restorative Pigeon


1.        Place a bolster smack-bang in the middle of your mat so that is horizontal before you.  Place your hands in front of the bolster and lift into a Downward Facing Dog with your feet behind the bolster.  Lift your right leg into the air for a Three Legged Dog. 


2.       Swing your right knee over the top the bolster and bring it down to the floor so that your right heel can rest alongside the long edge of the bolster before your left wrist.  Lower your hips onto the bolster with your left leg extended behind you.  YOUR RIGHT KNEE MUST BE FLAT ON THE FLOOR! Slide as far forward onto the bolster as you need to in order to make this happen. 
3.       Check in with your right foot and ensure that you’re flaring the toes back towards your knee.  Check in with your left leg and ensure that your hamstring, calf and heel are all pointing up to the ceiling.  The leg should be straight out behind you with no sickling in the ankle. 


4.       Walk your hands as far forward as you can to lower down onto your elbows.  If it’s comfortable to do so, lower your chest down until you can rest your forehead on the floor or a prop of your choice.  
   Now... take a little nap.


REMEMBER!  Look after your knees!  If this posture hurts your leading knee in any way, get out of the pose immediately.  If a regular Pigeon stretch causes pain in your knee, a supported stretch may still not be appropriate for you, so please listen to your poor aching joints and avoid any permanent damage.  

Monday, 13 July 2015

I realised early on in my time in Los Angeles that being a foreigner made me somewhat exotic as a yoga teacher.  People often comment on my accent and my style of teaching.  Sometimes, students note how different my use of language and names of poses can be.  I admit, I am lazy when it comes to Sanskrit - I use a little here and there but my use of English names is....often under scrutiny.  I began practicing yoga in London, trained as a teacher in Vancouver, started teaching in Perth, and finally ended up in Los Angeles where yoga is decidedly modern, but still, there are differences in the way teachers approach yoga depending on the origins of their practice.  

For example, Twisting Gecko.  I cannot, for the life of me, remember when I started calling it Twisting Gecko but I did not make it up.  Perhaps it was in a class in Australia.  Most teachers here seem to refer to it as a variation or modification of Lizard (utthan pristhasana).  I refer to Gecko as the motion of altering Lizard by lifting up in the inside edge of your front foot, rolling your knee to the side.  Then, if you have the flexibility in the quad of your extended leg, reaching back to hold that foot with the opposite hand, moving into Twisting Gecko.  It's not just about hip flexibility, this one will also make your quads scream if they're tight.  Listen to your body and be very careful with the knee of your back leg as you lift the foot.  

Here's how.... 


1.  Find Lizard by swinging your right foot forward between your hands from Downward Facing Dog.  Drop your left knee to the floor and shuffle your right foot to the right hand side of the mat, angling it at a 45 degrees.  

2.  Roll the outside edge of your right foot onto the mat.  You should be able to look down and see the sole of your right foot.  

3.  Yogis with tight hips can keep their left hand on the floor, towards the middle of the mat, with their right hand resting on their right knee as they look over their right shoulder.  More flexible yogis will be able to lower their left elbow to the floor, rotating their forearm until it is parallel with the top of the mat, before resting the right hand on the right knee.  

4.  Super flexible yogis will be able to lift their left foot up towards their seat and reach back with their right hand to hold the left foot.  

I realised early on in my time in Los Angeles that being a foreigner made me somewhat exotic as a yoga teacher.  People often comment on my accent and my style of teaching.  Sometimes, students note how different my use of language and names of poses can be.  I admit, I am lazy when it comes to Sanskrit - I use a little here and there but my use of English names is....often under scrutiny.  I began practicing yoga in London, trained as a teacher in Vancouver, started teaching in Perth, and finally ended up in Los Angeles where yoga is decidedly modern, but still, there are differences in the way teachers approach yoga depending on the origins of their practice.  

For example, Twisting Gecko.  I cannot, for the life of me, remember when I started calling it Twisting Gecko but I did not make it up.  Perhaps it was in a class in Australia.  Most teachers here seem to refer to it as a variation or modification of Lizard (utthan pristhasana).  I refer to Gecko as the motion of altering Lizard by lifting up in the inside edge of your front foot, rolling your knee to the side.  Then, if you have the flexibility in the quad of your extended leg, reaching back to hold that foot with the opposite hand, moving into Twisting Gecko.  It's not just about hip flexibility, this one will also make your quads scream if they're tight.  Listen to your body and be very careful with the knee of your back leg as you lift the foot.  

Here's how.... 


1.  Find Lizard by swinging your right foot forward between your hands from Downward Facing Dog.  Drop your left knee to the floor and shuffle your right foot to the right hand side of the mat, angling it at a 45 degrees.  

2.  Roll the outside edge of your right foot onto the mat.  You should be able to look down and see the sole of your right foot.  

3.  Yogis with tight hips can keep their left hand on the floor, towards the middle of the mat, with their right hand resting on their right knee as they look over their right shoulder.  More flexible yogis will be able to lower their left elbow to the floor, rotating their forearm until it is parallel with the top of the mat, before resting the right hand on the right knee.  

4.  Super flexible yogis will be able to lift their left foot up towards their seat and reach back with their right hand to hold the left foot.  

Saturday, 6 June 2015

via La Tartine Gourmande
I started reading food blogs close to 10 years ago.  I’ve been reading La Tartine Gourmande for the majority of that time.  That’s because Béatrice Peltre is fabulous.  A French food writer, stylist and photographer, she is based in Boston and has been making the internet foodie contingency salivate over their computer/tablet/phone screens for a number of years.  

via La Tartine Gourmande

Her focus is very much on homemade food, created from scratch with an emphasis on wholefoods and healthy living with a French influence.  But ultimately, despite her lovely recipes, the photography is the star of her site.  Seriously, the photographs are incredible.  Go see, be transported, and run to your nearest farmers’ market as soon as you can to start making her recipes with the freshest ingredients possible.  

via La Tartine Gourmande

via La Tartine Gourmande
I started reading food blogs close to 10 years ago.  I’ve been reading La Tartine Gourmande for the majority of that time.  That’s because Béatrice Peltre is fabulous.  A French food writer, stylist and photographer, she is based in Boston and has been making the internet foodie contingency salivate over their computer/tablet/phone screens for a number of years.  

via La Tartine Gourmande

Her focus is very much on homemade food, created from scratch with an emphasis on wholefoods and healthy living with a French influence.  But ultimately, despite her lovely recipes, the photography is the star of her site.  Seriously, the photographs are incredible.  Go see, be transported, and run to your nearest farmers’ market as soon as you can to start making her recipes with the freshest ingredients possible.  

via La Tartine Gourmande

Sunday, 31 May 2015


Over the last couple of weeks, that horrible sickness called home has been gnawing at me.  Sometimes, it’s big things like a longing for people and places that are familiar.  Sometimes, I’m in the supermarket and I would do anything to find a decent substitute for my favourite brand of West Australian iced coffee.  Sometimes, I absent-mindedly let myself into the passenger seat of my car and miss driving on the opposite side of the road.  Sometimes, I walk between the piers at Venice Beach and Santa Monica, and desperately long for clean beaches and equally clean water to swim in. 

So I made a yoga playlist built on music from home, or songs which remind me of home for some reason.  I have been listening to the Chet Faker/WKND version of You Don’t Treat Me No Good on serious repeat, repeat, repeat.   I switched to SoundCloud to publish my playlists because there's a wide variety of tracks on there you can't find on other sites, but even so, there are still the odd bits and pieces I can't find..... so you'll have to listen to the great tracks by Lisa Mitchell and Busby Marou on You Tube - 

Sweet Disposition (Yinyues Remix) – Temper Trap
Comin’ Around – Faithless ft. Temper Trap
Drop the Game (The Golden Pony Remix) – Flume & Chet Faker
Free – Rudimental ft. Emeli Sande
Straight Lines – Silver Chair
Lover – Chet Faker x WKND
Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder
Mess is Mine – Vance Joy
Trembling Hands (Chet Faker Remix) – Temper Trap
Don’t You Give Up On Me – Milo Greene
Edge of My Dreams – Lisa Mitchell
Better Be Home Soon – Busby Marou
Different Worlds – Jes Hudak
Lonely Boy – Matt Corby




Over the last couple of weeks, that horrible sickness called home has been gnawing at me.  Sometimes, it’s big things like a longing for people and places that are familiar.  Sometimes, I’m in the supermarket and I would do anything to find a decent substitute for my favourite brand of West Australian iced coffee.  Sometimes, I absent-mindedly let myself into the passenger seat of my car and miss driving on the opposite side of the road.  Sometimes, I walk between the piers at Venice Beach and Santa Monica, and desperately long for clean beaches and equally clean water to swim in. 

So I made a yoga playlist built on music from home, or songs which remind me of home for some reason.  I have been listening to the Chet Faker/WKND version of You Don’t Treat Me No Good on serious repeat, repeat, repeat.   I switched to SoundCloud to publish my playlists because there's a wide variety of tracks on there you can't find on other sites, but even so, there are still the odd bits and pieces I can't find..... so you'll have to listen to the great tracks by Lisa Mitchell and Busby Marou on You Tube - 

Sweet Disposition (Yinyues Remix) – Temper Trap
Comin’ Around – Faithless ft. Temper Trap
Drop the Game (The Golden Pony Remix) – Flume & Chet Faker
Free – Rudimental ft. Emeli Sande
Straight Lines – Silver Chair
Lover – Chet Faker x WKND
Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder
Mess is Mine – Vance Joy
Trembling Hands (Chet Faker Remix) – Temper Trap
Don’t You Give Up On Me – Milo Greene
Edge of My Dreams – Lisa Mitchell
Better Be Home Soon – Busby Marou
Different Worlds – Jes Hudak
Lonely Boy – Matt Corby



Tuesday, 7 April 2015


I wrote recently that I wondered if I should play some more 'chilled' music in yoga.  I tried.  This happened.  
If I could be in any band, it would be Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  I would play the guitar (badly), sing (badly), wear flowers in my hair, and trim Alex Ebert's beard whilst he was sleeping. Then, when I threw my inevitable rock star tantrum and stormed out to be a solo artist, I would ask Sia to write songs for me.  Better keep up with those guitar lessons...


Mona Ki Ngi Xica (Synapson Remix) – Bonga
We Don’t Eat (Plassix Edit) – James Vincent McMorrow
Home (FlicFlac Edit) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Burn the Pages – Sia
Twice (RUOBIN Remix) – Sarah Lee
Man on Fire (Little Daylight Remix) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Life is Hard (Teen Daze Remix) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
What My Last Girl Put Me Through (Bluewave Edit) – Nicolas Jaar
Like Real People Do – Hozier
Perfume – Sia


I wrote recently that I wondered if I should play some more 'chilled' music in yoga.  I tried.  This happened.  
If I could be in any band, it would be Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  I would play the guitar (badly), sing (badly), wear flowers in my hair, and trim Alex Ebert's beard whilst he was sleeping. Then, when I threw my inevitable rock star tantrum and stormed out to be a solo artist, I would ask Sia to write songs for me.  Better keep up with those guitar lessons...


Mona Ki Ngi Xica (Synapson Remix) – Bonga
We Don’t Eat (Plassix Edit) – James Vincent McMorrow
Home (FlicFlac Edit) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Burn the Pages – Sia
Twice (RUOBIN Remix) – Sarah Lee
Man on Fire (Little Daylight Remix) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Life is Hard (Teen Daze Remix) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
What My Last Girl Put Me Through (Bluewave Edit) – Nicolas Jaar
Like Real People Do – Hozier
Perfume – Sia

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


I'm Australian.  We don't do brunch.  We do breakfast.  We get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, get to the beach before all available parking spots disappear, and then rush to the nearest cafe for breakfast before the line to be seated is so long you expire in the sun long before you get a coffee.  In Los Angeles, a lot of restaurants and cafes don't even open for weekend brunch before 11 am; the menu consists of a combination of breakfast and lunch options, and you're as likely to indulge in a mimosa as a coffee.  So, lining up for brunch at midday is not unusual in any way, but when a girlfriend and wandered down to Courtyard Kitchen after morning yoga, we were famished and spent 40 minutes longing for our brunch.



I've been to the Courtyard before and it's a sweet little place with a good menu which is a little cheaper than other options near by.  We had the Ratatouille Eggs and Tale of Two Green Eggs (my girlfriend didn't even look at the menu, she's obsessed with this one dish) and they couldn't come fast enough.



I've been having this savory vs. sweet conundrum for a few weeks now when I go to brunch. I spend forever trying to decide which I want and then ultimately always want the option I didn't choose.  I'm definitely having pancakes next time.



The Courtyard Kitchen on Urbanspoon


I'm Australian.  We don't do brunch.  We do breakfast.  We get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, get to the beach before all available parking spots disappear, and then rush to the nearest cafe for breakfast before the line to be seated is so long you expire in the sun long before you get a coffee.  In Los Angeles, a lot of restaurants and cafes don't even open for weekend brunch before 11 am; the menu consists of a combination of breakfast and lunch options, and you're as likely to indulge in a mimosa as a coffee.  So, lining up for brunch at midday is not unusual in any way, but when a girlfriend and wandered down to Courtyard Kitchen after morning yoga, we were famished and spent 40 minutes longing for our brunch.



I've been to the Courtyard before and it's a sweet little place with a good menu which is a little cheaper than other options near by.  We had the Ratatouille Eggs and Tale of Two Green Eggs (my girlfriend didn't even look at the menu, she's obsessed with this one dish) and they couldn't come fast enough.



I've been having this savory vs. sweet conundrum for a few weeks now when I go to brunch. I spend forever trying to decide which I want and then ultimately always want the option I didn't choose.  I'm definitely having pancakes next time.



The Courtyard Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Whilst taking a class this morning, I considered the possibility that I need more chill-out music playlists.  This is not a chill-out music playlist.  It’s a hot power yoga playlist.  It’s also a collection of music from some boys I love – or music which reminds me of boys I love.  Totally all over Caught a Ghost right now thanks to Bosch.  And….. did I mention I love Chet Faker?  No?  See below.

Nevermind Sleep – Chet Faker
Cigarettes and Chocolate – Chet Faker
Sober – Childish Gambino
Rev – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Joe Goddard
A Beautiful Mine – RJD2
Can’t Let Go – Caught a Ghost
La Ritournelle – Sebastien Teller
No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
House Atriedes – Chet Faker
How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
Roslyn – Bon Iver & St Vincent
Treefingers - Radiohead

Whilst taking a class this morning, I considered the possibility that I need more chill-out music playlists.  This is not a chill-out music playlist.  It’s a hot power yoga playlist.  It’s also a collection of music from some boys I love – or music which reminds me of boys I love.  Totally all over Caught a Ghost right now thanks to Bosch.  And….. did I mention I love Chet Faker?  No?  See below.

Nevermind Sleep – Chet Faker
Cigarettes and Chocolate – Chet Faker
Sober – Childish Gambino
Rev – Chet Faker
Gabriel – Joe Goddard
A Beautiful Mine – RJD2
Can’t Let Go – Caught a Ghost
La Ritournelle – Sebastien Teller
No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
House Atriedes – Chet Faker
How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
Roslyn – Bon Iver & St Vincent
Treefingers - Radiohead

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