Yes.

While pilates is a form of exercise to strengthen the core and many muscles that can become weak in our bodies, yoga is an ancient philosophy, of which movement is only one small part.

Yoga as an exercise:

Yoga movements can be a wonderful way to mobilise, lubricate, strengthen, lengthen and stabilise the muscles, bones and connective tissues in the body. The owner of my yoga school in Byron Bay always said that we should aim to move every joint in every way, every day. Some styles of yoga, particularly here in the west, are very focused on exercise. Styles like hot yoga, vinyasa, ashtanga and many more can provide a full body work out that leaves you sweating, yet unlike some other forms of exercise; in yoga we use the power of awareness and dharana (single pointed focus, often on the breath) to find a sense of calm even in our stresses and exertions. It’s often due to the physical aspects of yoga that many people find themselves attending a class, without realising what lays behind this supposed form of movement.

Yoga as more:

Asana (which translates to ‘comfortable seat’ but is understood as the postures we make with our bodies in order to find our ‘comfortable seat’) would be a much closer comparison to pilates; asana is merely one eighth of yoga, according to Patanjali. In accordance with ashtanga yoga, there are eight elements to this practice, in sequential order, moving towards enlightenment. Before we begin practicing asana, really we should work on our morals, both toward the world around us and within ourselves (yamas & niyamas), then we can begin to work physically with the body. It is understood that the body is important because it is where the soul resides. Our physical yoga practice is also a good place for us to begin to practice the rest of the limbs of yoga which work with breath control (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), single pointed focus (dharana), and meditation (dhyana). For serious yogis, they may even begin to take small steps towards the final stage: samadhi, which means complete transgression of the physical body, unity with the divine and a feeling of complete ecstacy.

As you can see even from this extremely tiny description of a gigantic topic; yoga goes miles beyond a physical practice. Asana is an important factor which plays its role within a much larger holistic, sacred practice.

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I think we probably all have our own ways of either mindlessly reacting or mindfully responding to feelings of anxiety. This is often the time we will turn to our vice: eating/drinking/smoking etc but by doing this, instead of actually facing the cause, we are merely masking the uncomfortable effect.

When we actually focus on the feeling within the body, then we can address it and help to guide those emotions of fear into a place of safety.

Even though I’ve travelled a lot, I still get anxious if I have a big trip that I’m doing alone. I feel this slight pang inside and I know that I must tend to it immediately, otherwise it will span completely beyond my control. Here are some of my tried and tested method that provide me with a sense of safety in the moments I need it most.

Tea

Yes I’m English and we’re known for our tea drinking but there really is something so soothing and calming about holding something warm and sipping that gentle heat into the body. Anxiety is a symptom of vata imbalance which has a cold, harshness to it, so warming food and drinks are a must over dry, cold salad and sharp ice cold beverages. I always take teabags with me on flights (and also everywhere else I go!) so that I can enjoy calming herbs and caress my senses from touch to smell to taste, allowing my body to soften.

Essential Oils

Aromas are a great way to fill the whole system with a particular feeling, perhaps taking you back to another occasion where you felt safe. Certain herbs and oil extracts are known for their calming benefits such as lavender and chamomile. You can simply smell the bottle or dot them on pressure points to reap the benefits from the inside and out.

Stretch

Emotional tension stores itself as physical tension in the body so by releasing physical tightness, we can indirectly work on our emotional angst. Personally, I choose seated postures to help me to feel grounded and connected. I like to open up my feet and wrists first, areas which are often forgotten but I find so helpful to release.

Water

The element water teaches us how to let go; it’s soft, adaptable and flows with total ease. When we float in the ocean or swim in a pool we can allow ourselves to be held, releasing our grip. Although in a bath we are not floating, it still feels wonderful to be one with the water and in this case you can come back to the sensation of warmth and allow your tense shivers to melt away. Even listening to the sound of water is so thoroughly calming; perhaps you can listen to rainfall, the waves of the ocean or the pouring of water from the kettle into mugs.

Breathe

When we’re anxious, our breath shortens and quickens (or perhaps when our breath does this, then we become anxious), so by changing the pattern in the breath, we can signal to our brain that actually we are calm and at ease. Simply stopping and focusing on full breathing again can have an incredible effect. However, sometimes it’s not quite so easy. When I am struggling for breath I take some weight/pressure to my belly. This can mean laying over a bolster, laying on my front on the floor, laying on my back with weight on my front or pressing my hands against my middle; of course it depends on your situational context. This allows my belly to feel safe and protected and I find it easier to allow it to naturally expand and fill with breath.

Touch

The emotion of anxiety is very airy and spacious, to balance ourselves out we need to ground to the solid; physical touch is a beautiful way to do this. Whether you want to give a loved one a heart-felt hug, go to a spa for a massage, or have some alone time with your oils and enjoy an abhyanga (self-massage) to feel a connection with yourself and the present moment.

All of these methods are not just cures to a problem, they are forms of ritual which can be enjoyed every single day. This will help to keep your vata in balance, massively reducing the risk of anxiety arising at all and when it does, you can catch it early and tame the irrational mind chatter and draw yourself back into the here and now. You are OK.; we’re all in this together.

January 20th-26th 2019

Check-in Sunday 20th from 3pm

Check-out Saturday 26th 11am

Join me for a winter warmer under the African sun. The gentle rays will caress your skin, allowing you to soften in every way; the medicine this world really needs.

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Our stunning Moroccan riad is an architectural dream, with small details really making the difference; beautiful bedrooms, open sea views, a private pool and an outdoor mosaic shower all set within a stunning landscape of ancient olive and argan groves, surrounded by the enchanting Atlas Mountains. With a location just 5km from Taghazout, Morocco’s surf capital, you’re close enough to spend your free time relaxing on the beach, perhaps incorporating a surf lesson into your experience, yet far enough up into the mountain to breathe in that deep relief of silence, only sounds of nature to tickle your heightened senses.

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On this adventure, together we will learn about Ayurveda; the ancient system of medicine that addresses what you think, what you do, how you breathe and what you eat. Ayurveda is a holistic practice that helps us to find our balance. I will lead you through an interactive workshop on the importance of routine and ritual as well as a hands on Ayurvedic cooking workshop where we will address and reawaken our hot flame of agni (the digestive fire), before enjoying the feast that we have all lovingly prepared together.

Each day (minus the day we are crafting our own brunch) will begin with a flowing morning practice where we feel into what our body needs… which may differ every single day! What will stay constant is the need for love and attention, and that it will receive ten-fold. We will work to elongate our movements, in turn, elongating our prana (life force/breath). I enjoy teaching vinyasa like a dance; poetry for the body to feel. Investing this extended period of time into your yoga practice, will afford greater opportunity to delve into the study of pranayama and meditation with the sweet curiosity of a child.

Our restorative evening practices will provide you with the opportunity to feel and connect in this safe space we have created and simply to enjoy each delicious moment…

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Speaking of delicious… every morning we will feast on a plant based, organic brunch and each evening will bring a traditional Moroccan affair, both served up by our private chef. The food is vegan, although there will be local honey as well as our homemade organic ghee and we can cater to any gluten allergies (please specify when booking). The ingredients are sourced from the local souk which you will also be given the opportunity to explore, in preparation for your cooking class. This traditional Moroccan market provides fresh produce from the mountains; hearty pulses to ground, colourful vegetables to rejuvenate, and aromatic spices to tantalise!

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In amongst our foraging excursions through the mountains, weaving words in our sacred writing circles and an array of workshops each contributing toward a discovery of your own daily medicine, there will be plenty of free time to relax and absorb all that’s going on around you and within you. You may like to explore the local towns and beaches, take lessons on surfing the wave, try out a traditional Moroccan hammam (body scrub) & massage or perhaps simply soak up every part of our luxurious riad in paradise, taking in the views of the surrounding Atlas Mountains, resting by the pool, reading that book you’ve had on hold…

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I can’t wait to share this slice of paradise with you and assist you in your discovery of your own medicine, both on retreat and thereafter.

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What’s included:

– 6 nights accommodation in an ocean view Moroccan riad up in the mountains; roof terrace, private pool, outdoor shower, and beautiful gardens
– 10 yoga classes, both yin and yang. We will explore asana, pranayama and different forms of meditation: seated, walking and yoga nidra
– Workshop on Ayurvedic routine & ritual
– Ayurvedic cooking class utilising local, organic produce from the market
– Excursion to traditional moroccan souk
– Hiking and foraging in the mountains
– Guided writing circle
– Morning fruit & tea
– Daily brunch buffets
– Daily traditional Moroccan dinners

Optional extras:

– Surf lesson(s)
– Traditional Moroccan hammam and/or massage(s)
– Taxi to/from Agadir airport which is about a 45 minute drive away – I will link you up with any yogis arriving at a similar time. Marrakech is about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride away so is very accessible if you’re wanting to make a visit there before/after the retreat.

Price pp & Rooms:

Triple Share: £855
– Early Bird: £795 > SOLD OUT

Double/Twin Share: £960
– Early Bird: £900

Delux Double En Suit: £1065
– Early Bird: £995 > SOLD OUT

Early bird price is available if full fee can be transferred by the 30th September.

Single suite may be possible on request.

Email me at ella.young@outlook.com to secure your space by paying an initial £200 deposit.

The full amount can then be paid up until 20th December.

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What to bring:

– Journal
– Swimmers
– Comfortable clothes for yoga
– Layers for the evening; it will be winter in Morocco and the temperature drops considerably at night, an opportunity to get snuggly and cosy
– Yoga mat (there are mats you are welcome to use but you may prefer to have your own for a week filled with practice)
– Morocco is a Muslim country where it is seen as respectful to wear clothes that cover the body. However, Taghazout, the town closest to us is the surf capital, drawing people from all over the world. It is liberal and it’s very common to see people wearing very little, having come from the beach. Nevertheless, I would advise you to bring at least one option that covers the knees and shoulders for getting to/from the retreat. It’s absolutely fine to wear whatever you like at our own sanctuary!

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Final important travel information:

– You will not need to apply for a visa and can freely visit Morocco for up to 90 days

– Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the moment you enter the country

– You must sign ‘Yoga with Ella’ terms and conditions prior to the retreat

I’ve wanted to visit Copenhagen for a long time after learning about the alluring concept of ‘hygge’; the danish word that means something like cosiness of the soul, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and that soothing sense of home. I began researching the culture of Danes and learnt that they are consistently rated as one of the happiest nations on earth. There are a few reason for this, I’ve read, and lots of it relates to health:

1. They cycle.

2. They eat porridge.

3. They cook, eat and live with love and happiness as their main ingredient (as opposed to a sense of what they ‘should’/‘shouldn’t’ be eating, feelings of guilt, nor a rushed ‘grab and go’ meal culture).

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Grød porridge cafe

The second thing I learned about Denmark is that it’s expensive, very expensive, and as Copenhagen is the capital, it can certainly pull on the purse strings!

However, I did some research and I’ve rounded up a whole host of freebies and money saving tips in the hope that more people can travel to Copenhagen and enjoy every minute without worrying about money.

1. FREE yoga

I taught classes at Urban House which is a hostel/hotel offering yoga, runs and other fun group activities that are free to guests. Pick your accomodation carefully, I would massively recommend Urban House.

Some studios, like Power Yoga Copenhagen, offer your first class free and others offer a full free week, such as Yo Studios and Soul Fitness. These are really lovely centres but just beware that many classes are in Danish so if your new to yoga you may want to check there’s an English class to attend.

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Power Yoga Copenhagen

2. FREE Fitness Classes

I took a great reformer pilates class at Powerhouse CPH which is a very swanky studio. I’d never tried this style before and again the class was in Danish so was a little tricky to know exactly what was going on but it was great! I’d definitely recommend it, but be sure to book here as it’s a very popular studio. They offer a whole host of other fitness classes like TRX, power Pilates, yoga based movement classes and more – take your pick!

3. (Almost) Free Walking Tours

In most cities there are now free walking tours which highlight the main centres: places with political importance, historical relevance and perhaps food hubs, meeting places, artistic highlights, etc. I say ‘almost’ free because generally there isn’t a price which is why they advertise as free, however this means the tour guide isn’t paid and instead makes money through the tips given by the participants – you decide how much you’d like to pay.

Also, of course, you can lead your own walking tour, discovering the parts of the city most intriguing to you; perhaps colourful Nyhavn, liberal Cristiania, the grand castles or the botanical gardens. This is my favourite way to explore – completely alone.

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4. Food For All

Eating out is pricy as the best of times, I’m all for eating in (so always pick accomodation with a kitchen!), although even the supermarkets and markets can be very steep in this capital city. Trondheim market is a beautiful place to visit and great for speciality goods, however when I went to a stall and was told that 5 medjool dates came to the equivalent on £10, I was out of there.

WeFood is an incredible organisation that takes supermarket goods that will be thrown in the bin, deemed unsuitable to be sold in their store the next day; perhaps due to damaged packaging, incorrect labelling, ‘best before’ date, etc. The profits from these sales then go to charity.

WeFood sell items for a fraction of what you’d find in any other food store in Copenhagen: plums & peaches for 1 kroner (about 10p), big bunches of spring onions and coriander for 3kr (about 30p) and I filled a big paper bag full of sweet potatoes (a few kgs) for 10 (just a pound!). There was rocket, tomatoes, crisps, frozen raspberries, bread, pastries and many other good here to fill your boots! My shop made up the most of my next three main meals (with the addition of just chickpeas & tahini).

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The gooiest of gooey delights. These bad boys are one of my best creations; from the the soft, moorish texture with bites of plump raisins and sweet grated ginger, to the the spiced flavour with extra pazzaz, to the the warming, wholesome smell, just everything about these makes me drool.

They’re fairly simple too. Unfortunately I broke our food processor recently when trying to make seed butters. This recipe can be made without a machine to blitz and instead you can just mash the cooked sweet potato and date mixture, meaning you simply boil, mash and mix, then bake!

Ingredients:
2/3 Sweet Potatoes, depending on size
100g Almond Meal
100g Fine Oats
1c Dates
1 tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger
1 tbsps Ground Ginger
2 tbsps Maca
1/4c Coconut Sugar
1/4c Raisins
2 tbsps Coconut Oil
Salt

For the Frosting:
2 tbsps Coconut Oil
2 tbsps Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Ground Ginger
2 tbsps Tahini
Salt

1. Firstly wash and chop your sweet potatoes into bite sized cubes. If you want to hide the fact that there’s a sneaky vegetable in these blondies or you’re just not a fan of the skin, you may like to peel the potatoes. I like the texture contrast so keep them whole.
2. Add these cubes, along with the pitted dates to a saucepan along with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. At this point, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is soft. During this time you can turn the oven onto 180 degrees.
3. Turn off the heat on the saucepan but before the next step, add your coconut oil to the mixture, allowing it to melt.
4. If you have a food processor and want a smooth finish, blend this boiled mix (you may also wish to blend your fine oats into a flour if this is the case). Otherwise you can either mash with a fork or use an easy pull food processor (no electricity, just hand pull processor!) to combine and break down the ingredients.
5. Add the rest of the blondie ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir together then add the boiled ingredients and mash it all up. [note: I like to soak my raisins in boiling water for a few minute then drain and rinse as often they come coated in some sort of oil.]
6. Put the mixture into a lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the icing by adding all ingredients to a small saucepan to melt and give a good mix to combine. Put this into the fridge/freezer to firm up a little, depending on how long it will sit in there.
8. Take the cake out and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before adding the icing and then slicing up into your blondie bites. Enjoy!

This homemade scrub is a luxurious way to treat all of your senses. Creating your own body products is a fun and sustainable hobby to enjoy and allows you to delve further into ritual, based around self-love. When you smell and feel this scrub, you know it’s time to tune in, connect and make time for you in this present moment.

I made this scrub this week and filled an empty Neal’s Yard glass jar as part of my boyfriend’s birthday present. This really makes a special gift for another or for yourself. The combination of lime and coconut is invigorating yet soothing and is the perfect blend for summer.

I announced on my instagram (‘wellnesswins’) that I am about to embark on a whole new adventure. We are in the process of converting a van into a home for a long summer of European travel! Due to this lifestyle change, it’s even more important than ever to be using all natural cosmetics as our ‘showers’ will lead to our grey water flowing straight back into the earth via the ground (bag shower), rivers, lakes or the ocean. This scrub is good enough to eat (although I don’t recommend it even though it looks deceivingly tempting!) and will allow the largest organ of your body to shine, while Mother Earth is able to digest the concoction you’ve rustled up for her.

Ingredients:

2c Dead Sea Salt
1/2c Coconut Sugar
2 tbsps Coconut Oil
2 Limes (juice & zest, preferably organic)
1/4c Desiccated Coconut
10 drops Pure Lime Essential Oil

Grate the zest and squeeze the juice from the limes into a mixing bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a small frying pan while adding the salt, sugar, coconut and essential oil to the limes. Pour over the coconut oil and mix well to break up any clumps of coconut sugar and blend the essential oil thoroughly. Put the contents into a reused container.

I then sliced a lime finely and roast in the oven lightly to dehydrate it and place on the top of the body scrub mixture to make it extra special as a gift.

This bread is sure to win over any sweet tooth. The combination of ingredients create an aromatic flavour with lovely textures, particularly from the seeds of the dried fig. I have used apple purée before to bake with which works as a great binder and source of sweetness; I wanted to try pear as they are my favourite fruit and I feel they are quite an English staple, with a variety of types available for most of the year. Simmering and mashing the pear did the job but I also like to leave one cut into pieces, again to develop the texture journey more!

This recipe requires no blender, no nuts and contains neither gluten, nor dairy, making it very accessible to all.

If you are not a fan of pears, swap them for apples; if you’re not a fan of figs, swap them for apricots; if you’re not a fan of cardamom, swap for cinnamon. These are just examples, of course make the bread exactly as you like it and enjoy being creative.

Ingredients:

3 smaller or 2 larger Pears
1 large very ripe Banana
2 tbsps Chia Seeds (in 5tbsps water)
1/4c Coconut Sugar
2c Buckwheat Flour
1/2c Fine Oats
1 1/2 tbsps Ground Cardamom
1/2c Dried Figs
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2c Water
Salt

1. Make purée: cover 2 of the 3 pears with water, just. Allow these to simmer for around 15 minutes until soft and squishy then take a fork and mash into a purée.

2. Make chia egg: soak the 2 tbsps of seeds in 5 tbsps of water, leave for 10 minutes.

3. Mash the banana in a large mixing bowl. Chop the figs and the last of the pear into small pieces. Combine all of the other ingredients.

4. Taste test. This will taste different when baked but if it doesn’t taste sweet enough for you then add more coconut sugar as it will taste less sweet when cooked.

5. Bake: add the mixture to a lined loaf tin and cook for 40 mins at about 150 degrees.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes before enjoying your soft, sweet bread.

1. The nature
Although Berlin is a big city, it really doesn’t feel like it! During my stay, I didn’t once get that claustrophobic feeling that I often do in a highly populated central area. The city isn’t piled high with skyscrapers; instead, many of the beautiful, colourful buildings are covered in greenery, huge plants line the pavements and trees are even often the centrepieces throughout a main road. Granted, I did visit during spring: its prime, but my it was a beautiful sight indeed. In the south east of the city are the lakes. I took a bike all the way out to Krumme Lanke and my trip was made. It was absolutely stunning and so quiet! I felt like I had my very own private paradise and thoroughly enjoyed my time with the birds and fishies, even when I plunged into the freezing, pure water that revitalised every cell in my body!

2. The people
This was my first ever visit to Germany and I can honestly say that I found the German people to be some of the nicest I’ve come across; I didn’t have one single negative interaction. I always carry my water bottle with me and rely on people filling it up when I’m out all day. In some places around the world, they’re funny about it; in Germany, shop assistants, bar staff, and pretty much anyone near a tap did it without question.

3. The transport
Riding a bike across the city was one of my favourite things I did and I didn’t have to hire it for the day and take it back; instead I downloaded the ‘My Next Bike’ app and was able to pick up any ‘Deezer’ bike from around the city and lock it back up (finish paying) wherever and whenever. Although this isn’t strictly true, I rode it all the way out to the lake which was unknown to me, out of the ‘zone’ and so I had to pay a fine. This was my fault though and I would highly recommend using Deezer bikes to explore Berlin. They’re cruiser bikes which are so nice to ride and there are amazing bike networks throughout the city, keeping cyclists safe.
I even liked the trains/U-bahn. Here the underground doesn’t remind me of London at all. Instead of going further down underground than you could ever imagine, you usually go down just one or two sets of stairs then you’re on the platform. Also, there’s no equivalent of that crazy London rush hour that can happen at any time during a bank holiday, festival, etc. In Berlin, there’s a lot less people (partly to do with the fact that many are enjoying the fresh air on their bikes) and a hell of a lot more space! I found travelling a much more pleasant experience than I have in most other cities.

4. The commitment to reusing & recycling
The public bins throughout Berlin tend to have different sections allowing for the recycling of different materials. In homes, residents separate their paper, plastic, organic food waste and then the rest. There’s a system in the shops where you can return glass bottles to receive money. When you buy a bottle of beer, part of the cost is a deposit, when the bottle is returned you get the deposit back. I love this empowering yet simple system that encourages everyone to participate in local recycling schemes.
My friend who lives in the city was telling me that there are groups on Facebook where Berliners give away their unwanted furniture; this occurs a lot as it’s a city where many come and go.
I spent a whole day shopping in the city, something I had planned to do as I’d heard there are lots of second hand shops. I try to buy all my clothes (minus sports wear and undies) second hand so this was the perfect opportunity. I was not disappointed; I was in and out of so many shops from high-end designer vintage to up-cycling fashion to thrift stores where you buy per kilo. There was something for every desire and every budget.

5. The commitment to organic produce
This awareness and drive towards sustainability doesn’t end with advanced infrastructure for cyclists, appreciation of plants and trees and second hand treasures in the form of both home furnishings and personal clothing; in Berlin, organic is important. In many supermarkets only organically produced goods are sold. It seems that eating organic is fairly standard, it’s the expected way of sourcing food. The organic choice is still of course more expensive but it seems that people in this city are willing to pay more for quality food that nourishes the soil it’s grown in and the farmers who make a living from it. Berlin is an inspiring place to be – power to the people!

Often when people talk about travelling, the topic of money can be one of the first. The thing is, everyone travels differently and even from trip to trip. Soon I am to embark on a totally new adventure (all will be revealed soon!) but before that, I thought I’d share my tips for budget backpacking. For me it’s not about how much money do I have, I just always choose to spend as little as possible, I actually get a thrill out of it. Of course I don’t mean missing out on all of the things you’d love to do (or there’d be no point), but I mean finding pleasure in the simple things and saving in the places where it’s hardly going to make a difference to your experience.

Accommodation:
Sometimes the cheapest bed isn’t always the best way of saving money (although sometimes it is!!) as, if a hostel offers lots of extras it can mean you don’t spend money elsewhere. Some of the hostels I’ve stayed in are super basic and that’s worked totally fine, but other times they offer much more than that.
Here’s just some of the ‘freebies’ I’ve enjoyed over my travels: water (this can save you a substantial amount of money and the environment when you can refill!), tea, various breakfasts ranging from just bread to the full mashings where you can order from a restaurant menu and recently there was porridge (THE reason I picked a hostel in Arequipa, Peru), pool, yoga classes, circus equipment with lessons, homemade pasta, bikes, language lessons, snacks, complimentary laundry, tours (usually walking but once in Bagan, Myanmar there was a free moped tour!) and also just good, reliable advice.

Transport:
Do your research as often there’s more than one way to travel and I think it’s really part of the fun trying out various modes. When I was in Laos we could get cheap speed boats to islands; when in Asia in general tuk tuks are cheap; when in Europe sometimes you can bag a cheap, quick flight.
If you’re a student you may be able to get discounts on certain transportation but not others, always look into it. If you have a rail card then of course that can bring costs down. Whether you’re booking in advance or last minute that will determine where the best deal lies.
Getting overnight buses is a great way of saving money as you will travel a big distance for a very small price and you’re getting a night’s accommodation too. In Australia, the greyhound bus was literally bus seats for the night – nightmare! And I experienced a similar discomfort on an overnight cargo boat to Sardinia. In Asia I experienced a variety and one was a full on horizontal double bed with a curtain! Luckily I was travelling with my friend at this point otherwise this could have made for a much too intimate setting!! In Peru, the overnight buses, and even the short buses come to think of it, brought around snacks or full meals; way better than aeroplane offerings, it would include street food from the locals.
Another tip that mostly refers to island travel is scooters! Maybe the best tip, yet also the most ironic as I don’t ride them. I’ve just always made friends with lovely people who allow me to jump on the back (score!!). It allows you to explore so much further, away from tourists and away from the beaten track. It gives you so much freedom and is so so much cheaper than getting taxis. If you can’t ride on a scooter, at least motorbike taxis are much cheaper than cars so if you’re on your own this can be a good option but be sure to be careful!

Food:
Experience the street food and know that you’ll get the most authentic, tasty and cheap vendors away from the centre and therefore away from the bulk of tourists.
Cook in hostels whenever possible – not really possible in most of south east Asia but it certainly is throughout Australia. In other destinations it can vary, but this comes back to choosing your accommodation modation carefully.
Eat at the markets. I LOVE going to the local market, looking at the array of colours, oo’ing and ahh’ing at the fruits and vegetables I’ve never seen. The markets will serve up local produce without the add on charges you get at a cafe or supermarket.

The Rest:
– Swap and change books: lots of hostels and cafes offer a place for this; you can take a new book for yourself and leave behind the one you’ve already read instead of buying a new one if reading is your thing.
– Know the things you like: I always think it’s fine to spend money on the things you love but then a annoying when you spend a lot on doing something OK that’s not really your cup of tea.
– Don’t feel like you need to be DOING something each day: booking onto guided tours or taking on a new adventure sport each day can hugely costly! Travel is so much more than ‘doing’, it’s about ‘being’; being with yourself in a new environment, wandering the streets, allowing your feet to take you wherever they please, leaving time and opportunity for spontaneous adventure, meeting the locals, sharing with fellow travellers, simply smelling the air and soaking up your new surroundings with a total sense of freedom and unknown.

 

 

In yogic philosophy, we are taught that everything in the material world is governed by these three gunas; that includes the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to and even our own being.

Sattva
Sattvic equals ‘goodness’. This is the light guna that we can feel in the expansion of nature, the serenity of silence and the comfort of a warm bath. A sattvic wardrobe would consist of linen and cotton; clothes which are loose, comfortable and light in both colour and weight. Sattvic eating is eating with total awareness, being wholly involved with every colour, texture, flavour and smell. The food would be unprocessed whole-food and the sattvic person would stop when full.

Rajas
For something to be rajastic it is fast-paced and passionate; for example, watching action thriller films, rushing in a busy city to work or talking at a fast pace. Rajastic qualities can be linked with high pressured environments, a sense of drive and also, feelings of anxiety. Much of ‘city life’ links with this guna with the idea of the ‘rat race’ being about a rush to the top of the economic ladder, as well as there being a pressure to socialise just as hard as you work.

Tamas
Tamasic behaviour is that which is slow, very slow. Tamas is a dark, dull energy that weighs us down. This guna would be linked to wearing dark, heavy clothing such as black, platformed leather boots. Such behaviours may involve oversleeping until late in the morning, watching horror films and eating highly processed foods and stimulants, which are void of prana (life force) and will also lead to a crash later.

Here I have attempted to state the pure guna by itself, however we as individuals are made up with a unique combination of all three of these gunas and we need/like to draw on each at different times. In this modern world sometimes it is necessary to be very organised and tick things off a to-do list in order to follow a trajectory towards where you’re hoping to grow. Similarly, after periods of stress; be it emotional, physical or mental, we may need to take some deep rest, which could perhaps be seen as tamasic.

It’s great to have an understanding of the three gunas and really feel the effect each has on you. Then we can generally recognise that the more sattva we can bring into our lives, through our environment, interactions and behaviours, the more content and at ease we will become. Have a think of ways you can achieve this more peaceful state and write them down. Here’s a few ideas to get you started…

Sattva: love, light, truth:

1. Connect with nature: watch the sunrise/set, walk in the countryside, smell the flowers, spend time in open space, swim in the ocean, listen to the birds.
2. Create a peaceful home: bring nature inside with plants & flowers, listen to soft, soothing music, light natural candles, keep a clean & tidy space that feels organised and pleasant to be in.
3. Self love: meditate, wear natural fabrics, take time off social media, read, create rituals where you become totally mindful in daily acts e.g. when drinking your favourite cup of tea and showering in warm cleansing water.
4. Connect with others: smile, laugh, enjoy heart-felt hugs and massage.