Category Archives: Ayurveda

A rejuvenating and soul-nourishing week of growth and insight coming to an end

A week of yoga retreat is over and once again I cannot express the immense gratitude for being able to do what I’m doing. It’s been relaxing and it’s been deep. Every single one of us has ripped out a stiff and stale part that was ready to go, and replaced it with more insight, flow and loving kindness. Everyone’s come a bit closer to the best we can be. There’s been laughter. There’s been tears. There’s been a few falls and lots of rises. There’s been challenges, and there’s been victories. There’s been amazing home-made culinary treats every day. There’s been Shakti circles, full moon ceremonies, vinyasa flow yoga almost every morning, rejuvenating yin yoga and meditation at night, acro yoga, Ayurveda, chakra cleansing, visualizations, walking meditations and excursions inside and out.

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The free boat service down the Dalyan River to Dalyan’s bustling markets and of course the hammam and spa. Incredibly friendly and attentive staff at the Sultan Palace Hotel. Sunshine every minute of every day. Gazing at the stars by night, and grazing through the petals by the pool during the days which flew by. More than that, it’s been a most incredible group of yogis coming together, sharing open heartedly, embracing, accepting and cherishing – ourselves and one another. Many arrived as strangers and leave as best friends.

I see this happen over and over again at my yoga retreats. Things happen for a reason. People meet for a reason. The groups always flow perfectly. There is no such thing as coincidence, it seems. Just a magical and magnificent Divine order which we can only start to grasp and understand in the deepest depth of our meditations.

Sometimes we need to step away from everything to be able to make sense of it all. Hopefully you’ll take the opportunity and join us for a soul-nourishing retreat some time in the future. I cannot wait to start planing the yoga retreat for November in the Cape Verdes and mid/late 2016 in the Caribbean. Stay tuned – in bliss.

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Love, gratitude and prayers to all my wonderful participants, past, present and future – and all other fellow yogis and peaceful warriors who are making little changes in themselves and in this world, every day, to ultimate bath everyone in a vast ocean of peace, love and loving kindness. Namaste – Soul Greetings. Be happy!

Don’t waste the moment, or else the moment will be gone.

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Rawesome Berry Cake

It’s not that I’m obsessed with raw. Not anymore since better understanding the workings of Ayurveda, including at times the need for more warm and nourishing foods. However, when the Doshas are balanced and the circumstances rights (eg a hot summer day as is the norm here in Greece and Turkey), the Prana (lifeforce) and joy in a slice of this creamy wholesome treat are unbeatable. Even more so if the alternative to satisfy your creamy sweet cravings were some processed old dairy version of a Cheesecake or other.


What’s in it for you?
Cashews – This native Brazilian is full of antioxidants, a good source of phytochemical and rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and zinc are only one way to start. What does all that help? Prevents cancer, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves bone health, makes hair colour fuller, prevents gallstones and keeps our nerves relaxed (thanks Magnesium!) and cramp free. And all this is just an intro!
Berries – is almost an equivalent to antioxidants these days, which boosts your immune system, protects your skin and gives your eyes and hair this extra special lustre. Ayurvedically speaking, sweet berries are pitta soothing, thus good to reduce inflammation, too much anger and heat in the body. Both raspberries and strawberries are made up of at least 85% water, plus quite a bit of fibre which makes them a great candidate for weight loss. Their high Vitamin C content potentially reduces arthritis age-related memory loss and eyesight problems, and aids healthy skin and hair.
Coconut Oil – Many people ask me about the saturated fat content of coconuts which they seem to be terrified of. The short explanation to sooth fat-fears is that the triglycerides in coconut oil are much shorter than this fat content in animal fats. This makes it easier to digest, absorb and utilize in the body. Moreover, it stimulates your metabolism and is an excellent nourishment for weak or sick people who struggle to digest the more complex animal fats.
Ingredients for base
1/2 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of dates
2 tbsp of coconut oil
Pinch of Himalayan salt
What do do?
Blend it all up – some like it creamer (blend more), other crunchier (blend less to leave chunks of the nuts in tact). Press into the base of a cake form and put in the fridge.
Ingredients for the creamy layers
3 cups of cashews soaked over at least six hours, then rinsed thoroughly
1/3 cup of honey (more if you like it sweeter) – Vegans use Agave or Maple Syrup (which may make your cake a little less firm)
1 cup of raspberries, strawberries or a mix thereof (I have used fresh and frozen (thawed completely before using!) – both work)
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (optional)
1/3 cup + ¼ cup of coconut oil melted
Juice of one big lemon (absolute must to give it the tangy cheesecake flavour!)
What to do?
Blend the cashews with honey, lemon juice and ½ cup coconut oil until its really creamy. Adjust the sweetness to your liking, bearing in mind that once refrigerated it tends to taste a little less sweet than when in making. Place 2/3 of the blend on top of your base and put back into the fridge. Mix the remaining 1/3 of the creamy layer with your berries and ¼ cup of coconut oil. Blend until super creamy. Again adjust the sweetness to your liking with more honey if the berries aren’t too sweet. Place on top of the second layer once this ones hardened a little. You’ll have to wait close to an hour or so, unless you use a freezer to speed the whole process up a bit. Once all three layers are in the cake form, place it in the fridge for at least 12 hours before delving into your first slice.
Enjoy, let me know how it turned out and check out some more of our wholesome recipes inspired by vegetarians around the world and all the wonderful places we sail by and practice yoga in.

From one yoga retreat to the next

Half a moon cycle after the last retreat, this short recap video still brings a blissful smile to my face.

If you missed this retreat and are keen to join in the next one, get ready for Turkey’s stunningly beautiful Dalyan Delta, local food, great yoga and nature at its best: 29 June – 6 July 2015.

A healthy outside starts from the Inside

Here’s some powerful cleansing instructions which the wonderful yogis from around the globe found next to their welcome cards upon arrival next to a couple of fresh local organic lemons in their luxurious four star hotel suites:

Dear Yogi,

If you would like to add a few powerful yet simple Ayurvedic cleansing practices to your retreat, here’s the ‘How to’s.
• Spend a few breathes or minutes in the lying twist on each side, deepening the breathe and exploring the energy flow up and down the spine, as well as massaging your inner organs and activating your metabolism before getting up in the morning.
• Upon rising, spit out any saliva which might have accumulated in your palate overnight (toxic!), rinse your mouth, slash fresh cold water onto eyes, nostrils and ears, and scrape your tongue with your fingers or a tea spoon. Observe the colouring of (if any) tongue coating. It is a map to what’s happening along your digestive tract. Want to know more? Check into the informal, informative and free Ayurvedic chat on Sunday morning after breakfast.
• Before your yoga practice and long before breakfast, squeeze the juice of ½ organic local lemon provided into 1/2 glass of water and drink. One of the most alkalizing cleanses you can treat your body with every morning.
• Smile.
• Make your way to yoga (ideally after a bowel movement).

A healthy outside, starts from the inside.

R. Ulrich

Fancy some silence?

Once again I’ve teamed up with local Maltese Michelle Bartolo Yoga, to host another unforgettable body, mind and spirit experience. This time we are offering a silent weekend in Gozo from Friday March 13 – Sunday March 15th. An opportunity for you to cleanse from speech, to spend some time drawing inwards and experience a closer connection with your ‘real’ self.

What does your silence feel like?

We will be guiding you through Yoga classes (Kriyas, Yin and Vinyasa Flow) and Meditation (various techniques will be introduced) to assist you through this process.

From Friday evening till Sunday lunchtime you will be required to maintain silent, to abstain from social interaction & avoid intoxication. This simple code of conduct serves to calm the mind & gain more self realisation through self observation in the absence of outer distractions. There will be no mobile phones or laptops permitted.

Opening up to a deeper interconnection between mind & body, this weekend will leave you with a deeper sense of awareness, clarity & peace.

The Program

Friday

*3pm onwards, arrivals
*6.30pm Welcome meal & Introduction
*8.30-9.15pm Silence commences with our first Guided Meditation

Saturday

*7.30-8.30am Vinyasa & Kriya Yoga (Michelle)
*8.30-9.15am Guided Meditation
*9.45-10.45am Silent eating meditation over healthy breakfast
*10.45-11.30am Free Silent time
*11.30-12.15pm Silent Seated Meditation
*12.15-1pm Silent Walking Meditation
*1-2pm Silent eating meditation over light vegetarian lunch
*2-3pm Silent Rest & Relax
*3-4pm Silent group meditation
*4-5pm Meditation of your choice (in the hall, your room or walking). Opportunity for 1 to 1 question time on issues of your meditation practice.
*5-6pm Yin Yoga (Dini)
*6.30pm -7.30pm Silent eating meditation over light dinner
*8-9pm Guided seated meditation

Sunday

*7.30-8.30am Vinyasa & Kriya Yoga (Dini)
*8.30-9.15 Guided Meditation
*10.45-11.30am Free Silent time
*11.30-12.15pm Seated Silent Meditation
*12.15-1pm Silent Walking Meditation
*1-2pm Last silent eating meditation over light lunch
*2pm Break of Silence
*4pm Departure

Accomomdation

Accommodation is in shared or single rooms with ensuites in a luxury Gozo farmhouse, overlooking the Sea, in a quiet natural setting and swimming pool in the spacious green courtyard.

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Cost & Bookings

Shared room = 300 Euros
Single room = 400 Euros
Full payment secures your spot
Contact for bookings: info@michellebartoloyoga.com

Your weekend includes

*2 x nights accommodation in a luxury Gozo farmhouse
*Breakfast (2), lunch (2) & dinner (2): All vegetarian meals with locally sourced ingredients where possible
*All yoga and meditation sessions

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29June-6July’15 Yoga&Nature in Turkey’s Dalyan Delta

Nourishing yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity!

A week of yoga in a region designated as a conservation area will allow its outstanding natural beauty to shine within you. Our tranquil family-run guest house is linked to the nearby village by riverboat service. Readily available boats can also take you downstream to the famous Iztuzu turtle beach, past endless treks winding along the Dalyan river banks through the reed beds and up into the surrounding pine covered slopes. Else venture upstream to the renowned Thermal Baths or Lake Koyzegiz or just wander through Dalyan enjoying the café culture and views.

Accommodation in large comfortable ensuite-rooms overlook various aspects of the lush landscaped gardens, swimming pool and surrounding unspoilt countryside. Buffet breakfast and traditional dinner are inspired by local dishes and traditional Turkish cuisine. Ingredients are sourced daily and locally where possible and supplemented by the daily harvest of home-grown vegetable’s from the hotel’s own garden. The varied and plentiful Menu is served in the Garden restaurant after the two daily yoga session which will include invigorating vinyasa flow in the morning, pranayama and yin yoga in the evening. Mid-holiday there is one day without yoga to allow you to venture further afield.

Venue

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The family-run guest house is a real jewel and is situated in a secluded location near to the Dalyan Delta in the Mediterranean region of SW Turkey. A frequent boat service takes guests across the river to the hotel thus preserving its tranquillity.
Boats are readily available on the gently flowing Dalyan River and provide an opportunity to head downstream to Iztuzu turtle beach through the labyrinth of channels alongside the reed beds of the Dalyan Delta or upstream to the renowned Thermal Baths and Lake Koycegiz – or just to wander through Dalyan enjoying the cafe culture and the views across the river.
The entire region is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and is a paradise for ramblers with endless treks winding along the river banks, through the reed beds and up into the surrounding pine covered slopes.
The hotel provides a complementary minibus and riverboat service for guests wishing to visit Dalyan Village. The ten minute trip is scheduled at frequent intervals throughout the day.

Yoga…

Yoga takes place in the purpose built room, in the gardens, or in the upstairs outside area around the tower, according to the requirements of the group. The ambiance of the hotel is well suited to the yoga classes.
There will be two yoga classes a day. Mid holiday there is one day with no yoga so that you can go further afield on an excursion or just relax by the pool. The early morning class is followed by breakfast and the early evening class is followed by our evening meal.

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The morning yoga session will feature invigorating, strengthening and stimulating vinyasa flow through variations of and additions to Surya Namaskars. Dini works without a pre-set schedule, but takes what there is and builds on it. One of the beauties of a yoga retreat is that it allows to spend more time on poses and areas that need particular attention or improvements. Dini doesn’t shy back to gently push her students asana boundaries. The only ‘cannot’ is in the mind and once that is dropped, possibilities are endless.

The evening practice will be a restorative Yin Yoga session whereby seated poses are held for several minutes, letting go of any muscular tensions and alignment issues. This allows the body to release traumas in different koshas, or layers, possibly stored there for years or even decades. As the yin areas of the body like connective tissue, ligaments and bones are accessed in the serene stillness of a yin practice, we open our wholeselves up to boundless opportunities. Letting go of old stresses and sorrows you no longer need, be prepared to leave this practice feeling profoundly relaxed and at peace on a physical, mental and emotional level.

… with Dini M.

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Dini is a sailor, mother, writer and yoga teacher. She lives on a sailing boat with her family and teaches Yoga and Ayurveda at retreats, workshops and festivals around the world.

She has been practicing Yoga and meditation, on and off the mat, since starting university aged 19. Fitness and dance teachings turned towards yoga many years ago. Her continuous studies of Ayurveda, work as Doula, passion for wholesome nutrition and holistic approach to motherhood all influence her teachings. Whilst many great teachers including Iyengar, Shiva Rae, Simon Borg-Oliver, Amanda Fuzes, Cam Storey, Clive Sheridan and Vipassana’s Goenka to name but a few have left traces and inspiration in Dini’s practice, her toughest teachers are her children. They play a transformational role in the journey of taken yoga beyond the mat and into a happier and healthier life. Old yoga scriptures are also a resource she often draws back upon.

Often pranayam, mudhras, bandhas and sometimes even kryas make their way into her classes and give students a whole new angle to approach movement, breath and life. Her subtle, Thai massage influenced adjustments have created a name for themselves and can aid major shifts in body, mind and soul.

Be prepared for more than a normal yoga holiday. Transformation and change are the only constants in life. Dini’s authenticity and aliveness, coupled with a great love and passion for teaching, has inspired many yogis and others around the world to also dare living the life that they dream of.

Accommodation

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Accommodation is provided in comfortable en-suite rooms linked by the central tower. Rooms are large and have a small lounge area. The rooms overlook various aspects of the lush landscaped gardens and swimming pool with uninterrupted views of the surrounding unspoilt countryside.
The tranquil swimming pool and surrounding area envelopes guests with peace and quiet. Loungers near the pool-side area allow guests to lie back in the warmth of the sun, soak up and adapt to the more natural rhythms of a slower pace of life.
Buffet breakfast and dinner are served in the Garden Restaurant. They offer a menu that is varied and plentiful, consisting of local dishes and traditional Turkish cuisine. A light a la carte lunchtime menu is also available.
Ingredients are sourced daily and locally wherever possible. The dinner menu is supplemented by the daily harvest of home grown vegetables from the hotel vegetable garden.

Prices & Travel details

Price: £450 pp shared; £495 pp single

Included – Accommodation, breakfast, dinner and yoga
Not included – Flights, insurance, transfers, treatments, lunch and snacks, all bottled water, teas and coffee.
Flights – There are both chartered and scheduled flights to Dalaman airport. Free Spirit are very happy to help you search the internet for flights. It is usually cheaper to book your flight as early as possible. Prices generally increase as the plane fills.
Transfers – Your transfer can be organised for you. The transfer is 20 minutes by taxi to the river. From there you will be ferried across and taken the short remainder of the journey by the hotel car to the hotel. Total journey time is about 40 minutes.

Join the retreat

To book your place, contact Debbie at debbie@freespirityoga.co.ukor +44 1273 564230. A deposit of £150 pp is due upon reservation, which will be followed by an invoice and information pack. The balance is due six weeks before the course commences.

Malta Monday with Cat from Butterfly Therapies

Another Monday. Another business. Another wonderful lady who leaves me feeling blissfully light everytime I walk out of a massage. Without further due, enjoy learning a bit more about my friend Cat from Butterfly Therapies – or even better, book in with her if/next time you are in Malta!
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You in a few words
Part massage therapist, part mermaid, devout tea lover, dance floor addict, yoga student, life student in search of the best ways to just be
Your business in a few words
A colourful combination of physical and emotional bodywork, chilled out holiday experiences and healthy living advice. The core idea behind Butterfly Therapies is to inspire transformation. (>>www.butterflytherapies.com/blog)
Your greatest inspiration
I’m inspired by anyone who follows their dreams and lives in line with their core values. I tend to be inspired more by the people around me than faraway-seeming gurus, experts, celebrities or spokespeople. I think this is because we are able to see the real side of those closest to us, how they are in their tender moments, their victories and tragedies. So right now my inspirations are my Mum who defies convention and does the things that make her happy inspite of the opinions of her peers and my best friend who is at last fulfilling her dream of travelling the world and searching for her true version of happy. I’m also inspired by clear orators, those who are able to speak their truth in a way that others can really connect to. Maya Angelou, The Barefoot Doctor(>>>http://www.barefootdoctorglobal.com/), Einstein, AJ Leon (>>> http://aj-leon.com/pursuitofeverything/)
Cat
Your biggest dream
To run a BnB with my partner that offers guests unique opportunities to create space in their busy lives and reconnect with their core, through bodywork, meditation, walks in nature, swims in the sea, good food, sharing stories and just being human… in a beautiful setting. With 4 months off a year to travel ourselves.
Leap mid DanceWalk Malta
Milestone moments on the path to get where you are today
A trip to South East Asia in my early 20s that inspired my desire to be a bodyworker, 15 years in public service that gave me the skills I need to run my own business, a chance meeting with a gorgeous Italian cocktail barman in London that inspired the move to Malta, several lucky connections with inspiring people here in Malta that helped me set up my business on the rock, spread the word about my work and continue to inspire me to keep evolving 🙂
And the future?
Right now I am developing my skills in emotional release work by deepening my amanae practice (http://www.butterflytherapies.com/amanae/) and working on a 5 day healthy holiday project for 2015.
Favourite quote
Oh wow, so many! But as huge fan of EDM I am going to choose one from one of my favourite bands of my 20’s, Lamb: “Burn like a good bonfire, in what ever you do”
Arrival in Malta 2011 Hiking preparations at Manchester Picadilly