Category Archives: Vegetarian Living

April Updates

First time in exactly three years of blogging that I haven’t posted a thing for a month. First time in three years that I am ten moons pregnant again around this time of the year. With another baby pretty much ripe in my womb, Swadishtana – our creativity chakra – is ringing and vibrating again at its fullest. But this time all that creativity is harder to channel. Where do you put it when you’ve just come back from living your biggest dream?

Luckily the last two weeks we have been blessed here in Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach with the presence of the Dalai Lama’s Gyuto monks from Tibet. Each day’s incredible (and FREE!) program started with kids meditation followed by arts and crafts. My boys loved it so much the first day that we went every single day which  followed, found heaps of peace and healing listening to their teachings and chantings, simple inner contentment as we spent hours with the monks in the park playing and chatting, observed the growth of the stunning sand-mandala – and the complete detached and equanimous desolution ceremony of the same once the event was over. This has been resonating so much so with me that nothing really seems to matter anymore – whether we make it to the birth centre or not in time for the birth; weather one of our friends will make it in time to look after the boys; whether we are having a boy or girl; whether the next adventure is here or there; whether we’ve got a boat at the moment or not; whether some friendships are real or not…

Somehow the sand-mandala made visual to my eyes, what only the inner eye could comprehend before. Everything is impermanent, including the most beautiful and the most challenging piece of art or living-aboard adventure with your kids. Everything in life is a phase, so why get too caught up in it? With the kids still asking every single day when we go back home to our boat, Happy Dancer, it is obvious that sooner or later there will be a Happy Dancer II with us on board crossing the Pacific Islands. I tell them when all three cannot only swim, but snorkel like little champions, the time will be ripe. Until then, it’s easy life in Sydney, or maybe a stint in Asia, but for now, it doesn’t matter much as I’m sinking deeper and deeper into the forceful presence of an impeding labour-land meditation.

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Lastly let me share the latest Orion message with you which strongly resonated with me, especially in the last month. It also would be a great standard answers to all the lovely emails I get from you, dear blog readers, with 1001 different reason of why you think you can’t live YOUR dream the way we did ours…. In summary; sometimes digging in the dark does not make things better, but simply letting in the light does.

“Take inventory—not of the room full of debris—but of the place in your life where you store your hopes, dreams, visions and intuitive flashes! Then, arm those delightful thoughts and feelings with intention, surround them with Light and let them manifest into reality already! Stop holding yourself back! Be free.

Do not even look into the drawer of fear. Simply take the entire contents and burn them symbolically. Then, do not return to that room. Open all the windows, allow sunlight to pierce through the darkness, strip away the maudlin curtains and breathe life into that part of your inner self where you allowed darkness to creep in.

Henceforth, do not permit the dark energy of negative thinking into your mind. Keep the windows wide open, the sunlight flooding through. One does not have to shut one’s doors to keep out darkness. One simply has to fill every crevice with Light, and darkness will automatically be repelled. This, do. This, do daily. OM.”

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Top 10 Benefits of attending a yoga retreat

Nourishing your body, mind and soul is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Often, a break from your busy schedule, bad habits and constant digital bombardment is the best way to set you back on track towards living the life that you dream of.

Here’s the top ten benefits of attending a yoga retreat a friend of mine asked me to summarize for her beautiful blog.

1. Deepen your asana practice
Whether this means finally mastering handstand or simply being able to sit still throughout a whole meditation, the regularity and frequency of classes during a retreat will steepen the learning curve significantly.
2. Dive into the philosophy
Whilst mastering the poses is fun and rewarding, there’s so much more to Yoga. The noble eight-fold path subscribed in the Yoga Sutras brought closer by an authentic and inspiring teacher without appointments either end of a yoga class can help you understand and treasure much more of this ancient art of living.
3. Improve your health with mudras, kryas and pranayama
Yoga and its sister science, Ayurveda, can be used as a powerful way to improve your immunes system and overall health. How do different poses affect your liver and spleen? Have you ever learnt and tried adding a powerful krya (cleansing technique) to your morning routine to boost your digestive juices? Or a bandha to keep energies from leaking from your system? What about specific mudras (subtle energy gestures) to soothe PMS and enhance your wombs’ creative energies or further open your heart’s outreach? Possibilities for optimum health and happiness are limitless and the immersion yoga retreats provide for will allow you to get a much greater grasp on it all.
4. Cleanse your colon
Often retreats include deliciously healthy meals, with some offering the full cleanse program. This is another way of taking your health and well-being to a whole new level while expanding your food horizon. Often we get stuck in a food routine. A retreat is a chance to break bad habits, open up to new recipes and push your taste buds’ boundaries closer to the wholesome optimum.

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Photograph courtesy to H is for Happiness

5. Meditate – find that serenity within
Traditionally, yoga’s main purpose was to still the mind. While your usual Wednesday evening class might leave you feeling much calmer, a deeper emersion away from the business of everyday life can give you a much deeper insight into the blissful nature of Samadhi – the merging with one and all and dropping of all boundaries.
6. Take real time off
Sometimes you can go on a holiday, but phones continue to beep, laptops to peep and TV to shed horrible news. Amongst all that digital noise switching off can be a real challenge. It is of utmost importance for your health to every now and then take some time off the tremendous media input we are usually exposed to. Modern science shows that digital waves can have a detrimental effect on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Giving the body-mind a break from the constant lightning-fast information overflow will give you a whole new perspective on life’s worries and issues.
7. Let go of fears to unlock your true potential
In a safe environment supported by an experienced teacher and like-minded people (sangha) it is easier to dissolve suppressed fears and past traumas to unlock our true potential and take our post-retreat life as close to our dreams as possible.
8. Return refreshed and renewed
Rather than coming back home feeling the need for another holiday, you’ll be ready to conquer the world and bring the relaxation back home with you. Who knows, newly gained outlook and vigour might even encourage you to changer your career, clean out the clutter in your attic or open up to a new relationship.
9. Travel inside and out
Whilst mostly yoga retreats are set in breath-taking surroundings which in themselves promise to have a life-affirming effect on your soul, the trip doesn’t only take you on a geographical, but also deeper journey inside. Connecting with nature takes us back to our alpha mind state allowing you to feel grounded and earthily blissful. Nature has a way of setting you back in tune with your natural rhythm and the world around you that no other thing has. Exploring the depths of your soul, darkest corners of your heart and brightest spots of your soul can open your life up to boundless new opportunities.
10. Make new like-minded friends
Last but not least, a yoga retreat joins like-minded people open to share their journeys and learning about yours. Practicing yoga and meditating together for several days or even weeks creates a foundation for friendship hard to topple in a busy everyday life environment. Equally, if you are after some time off, they will understand.

About the Author
Dini Martinez is a travelling Yogini, free spirit, Ayurvedic practitioner, experienced Doula, child-birth educator, mother of two, international yoga teacher, sustainability dudes and passionate writer. She lives on a sailing boat with her family, travels the world and runs yoga retreats on the way – inspiring others to also dare living their dreams.

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

Eating fresh

In search for the freshest, most natural and organic produce for my family and my retleatlers next week, I’ve come across this lovely man on the other side of the island. Call him farmer. Call him down to earth. Call him back to basics. Call him real. Call him wonderful.

We got there when it started pouring down rain. Instead of a semi-expected little farm shop he rolled up with the wheelbarrow to lead us through muddy trails down to his fields and pick the greens and lemons straight from where they grew. Doesn’t get any fresher than this. When was the last time you tasted produce whose smell made your senses smile?

A sailorette on Christmas break

Gingerbread Smilies baked and decorated. Massive alkaline veggie stew devoured. Delicious and creative Christmas pressies in creation. Kids sleeping. Bath bubbling. Raw indulgent chocolate & cream cupcake waiting with a steaming hot mint infusion and a good read. Happy Dancer in the distance safely docked to the quay, not a breeze of wind through the water. Valletta’s twinkling lights painting the most ideal backdrop to this wonderful evening of me time. Bliss right in this moment!

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 Gingerbread Smilies Recipe

1 cup of hazelnut flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

pinch of Himalayan Rock Salt

3 tbsp xylithol

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 cup molasses

4 tbsp coconut oil

drop of vanilla essence

Just as gingerbread men don’t need to be men (but can also be smilies, Christmas treats don’t need to be bad for you to be yummy!

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together. Mix both together. Put dough in the fridge for an hour or so. Then shape 1/2 golf sized balls, press them to a few millimeters width, place them on a cooking tray and put int the preheated (175 C) oven for about 8 minutes. Let cool while preparing the coating to paint the faces.

1/2 cup cashews soaked over night, then rinsed

juice from 1/2 lemon

3-4 tbs of maple syrup (honey if you are not vegan as it sticks better)

5 tbsp coconut oil

dash of lucuma (if available)

Blend everything together in the strongest mixer you have until it has a smooth and creamy consistency. Cut a tiny whole in one of the bottom corners of a sandwich bag. Fill it with the cashew cream. Press and draw the faces (or other patterns) on your cooled down gingerbread smilies. Put in the fridge for an hour or so for the cream to harden. Enjoy!

Malta Monday with Charlene from the Soap Cafe

The cinnamon tea is brewing, my newest raw cake creation served and the kids’ advent calenders hung up. Before this lazy Monday comes to an end, I need to introduce another fabulous and inspiring local woman to you. Several weeks ago I started this Malta Monday series to demonstrate the bustling creativity of this tiny island, this year’s wintering stop spot, not only through our own experiences and observations, but also through actual local enterprises which play a huge role in giving Malta the charm and sweetness it has today. Without further due, here’s the usual seven Monday questions for beautiful Charlene from the Soap Cafe.

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You in a few words

Stubborn, creative, passionate and constantly hungry for knowledge. I’ve worked in a variety of sectors and qualified as a beauty therapist, herbalist, masseuse and later on as a product designer. Even though at the time it seemed like I was hopping from one sector to another, my passions led me onto the path of a ‘beauty chef’ – creator and designer of natural cosmetics

Your business in a few words
My shop and my products are an extension of my personality. It’s all that I believe in – the importance of living a holistic life, the use of products which are not only beneficial to the individual wellbeing but also to be cruelty free eco sustainable and eco friendly. I try to transmit this passion to children by organizing SoapMaking parties which have been very popular. We also specialize in custom made products where we create a variety of handmade soaps and beauty products as wedding favors and other souvenirs for all special occasions. And to compliment our beautiful natural products we also pamper our clients with our skin loving facials and relaxing massages.

Your greatest inspiration
My clients are what inspire my work. Their needs and their dreams fuel my creativity.
To some, it might seem that a small thing like a soap bar cannot make a great difference to him/her or the environment. But when people start understanding and experiencing that ‘feel good’ sensation and notice the difference, they become completely hooked. That is an extremely fulfilling feeling.

Your biggest dream
All I want is to be happy, fulfilled, at peace – a life without any regrets.

Your favourite quote
If you really want something the world will conspire to help you achieve it

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Milestone moments on the path to get where you are today
My first was at age 16 – my tutor at the beauty school who believed in natural remedies (at the time i.e 15 years ago in Malta, such things where considered a myth) .
My second most significant milestone was when I got into design school. This is where I discovered my creative side and started putting it into practice
My third is when I opened my shop 6 years ago and got to experience what it means to run my own business

And the future?
New products, new events, maybe a new shop outside our little island …who knows! I definitely need time to plan some ‘traveling time ‘ soon which I’ve really missed since I had my own shop.

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From Gozo back to Malta

A week back into Malta, it is interesting, once again, to observe how everything in life depends on perspective. When we first arrived here well over a month ago, it seemed like one of the most laid-back islands. Typical Med style, really. Creativity was bustling, business happening, but you’d never see anyone stressed out about anything. A healthy pace of life, one could say. And everyone who gets back from a city break in London’s always so relieved about being able to breathe deeply again here. There’s time for that kind of stuff. Yet, coming from neighbouring Gozo, it feels like high-life’s on the go!