All posts by Siobhan

5 Great Books on Yoga & Meditation

One of the many advantages of practicing yoga on the Muuyu platform is the ‘live and interactive’ element.  As classes are relatively small (usually between 6 and 12 in each session) students have the chance to query their yoga instructor on all aspects of their practice,  hear anecdotal details of their teachers’ own yoga journeys and generally engage in a way that quite quickly allows them to deepen their practice through personal guidance and insights from their instructors.

Sometimes this is enough.  Other times it leads students on a quest to find further information on the theory of yoga and mindful living and to learn from the great yogis of our past and present.

Of course there is no substitute for practice but widening your knowledge of yoga is a lovely gift to give yourself if you are eager to embrace a more conscious lifestyle.

With that in mind, here are 5 great books on yoga and meditation:

AutobiographyOfAYogiThe Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Paramahansa Yogananda.

Autobiography of a Yogi introduces the reader to the life of Paramahansa Yogananda.  Swami Paramahansa was born in 1893 in India but moved to the US in 1920 where he taught yoga and meditation for over 30 years.

This book is a beautiful story of his remarkable life and a fascinating introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and the art of spiritual living.

Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Every Day Life by Judith Lasater

Judith Lasater guides you into moving your yoga off the mat and into your real, every day life.  Calling on the wisdom of the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita,  Lasater takes yoga beyond the breathing exercises and positions and helps you to find more meaning in your relationships and the world around you.

The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras by Joy Devi

As over 80% of all yoga practitioners in the West are female,  this book will be of great interest to those who want to know what is the link between femaleness and yoga.  Author and world-class yogini Nischala Joy Devi, writes from the perspective of the feminine to discuss the health, emotional and spiritual benefits of this ancient art.

YogaBooks02Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is considered one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and in this warm, down-to-earth book, she teaches how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness can help everyone discover a way to maintain loving relationships.   Great for anyone interested in learning about Buddhism, meditation …or how to be kind to yourself.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

A gorgeous introduction to the skills of mindfulness from Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh.  He uses, anecdotes, stories and offers practical exercises so show how to achieve a fully present and mindfully conscious mind throughout your daily life, whether washing dishes or peeling fruit (I should give this to my partner whose peeling of an orange is like an extreme sport!)

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for New Yogis & Yoginis   

Beautiful Woman Practicing Yoga Outside In Nature

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Africa Yoga Project: Inspiring Social Change in Africa

Martin Luther King  said it best when he noted, “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better”.

Certainly in the case of the Africa Yoga Project, which came about as the result of one young native New Yorker’s passion, this is definitely true. 

The Africa Yoga Project (AYP), which was established as a non-profit organization in 2007, currently enables close to 5,000 people to participate in over 200 weekly workshops throughout Nairobi.   It also provides a viable livelihood for local yoga teachers who a few years ago may have had little hope of finding any job that would help them to feed and take care of their families. Now, the 98 AYP teachers share their knowledge and love of yoga, teaching in prisons, schools, special need centers, HIV/AIDS support groups, deaf schools and rural villages throughout Kenya. 

AYP Co-Founder, Director and human dynamo Paige Elenson, who now lives in Africa, is constantly busy, working out of the AYP community yoga center in Nairobi (known as the ‘Shine Center’).  

However, we were thrilled that she was still able to put aside some time to discuss with Muuyu how the AYP came into being, its principles and plans for the future.

Africa Yoga Project, Muuyu, Yoga, Wellness, Mindful living

How did the Africa Yoga Project come about?

In 2006, I was on a safari in Kenya with my family when I saw a group of young Kenyan men doing handstands in the middle of the bush.

As a yoga teacher my first reaction was to jump out of the vehicle and do handstands with these young acrobats.  Little did I know this brief connection would forever change my life.

After returning to New York I was contacted by the Kenyan Acrobats and asked to come back to teach them yoga.  My heart said yes.

What I did not realize was that I would be staying in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where most people live on less than $1 a day.

It seems that the communities of East Africa have really embraced this project – How did you ensure that AYP remained rooted in empowering and enabling local individuals?

AYP staff members and teachers are almost completely from where we work,  ensuring we are in touch with the real need on the ground and that we remain true to our vision and mission.

We are also constantly reviewing our activities to ensure we are on track to achieve our goals.

Many of the people practicing yoga through the Africa Yoga Project live in terrible conditions, whether it’s in slum areas, prisons or orphanages. How does yoga actually benefit them and is the environment within which they live integral to AYP’s teaching methods?

We strive to create empowerment and employment for youth from marginalized communities, to open up new possibilities for leadership and self-sustaining incomes.

The outreach programs also reach out to marginalized communities to share health and well-being practices.  Through yoga we are elevating communities far and wide!

What is your most memorable moment with regards to the Africa Yoga Project?

I have so many memories and people who are close to my heart it would be hard to choose just one.  I consider it a privilege to be part of the process and I treasure every moment.

In fact, just last week a moment that I have been waiting for occurred.

Mainstream media seems often to leave out people of color as representatives of yoga professionals.  So I was so excited when I opened last month’s Yoga Journal and saw an Africa Yoga Project teacher as a model!

This means so much to me – that we are able to affect the global community and be a stand for diversity and inclusion, that a young man from the urban slums in Kenya can be a Yoga Journal model.  Anything is possible!

What are the future priorities for the organization?

AYP plans on becoming the biggest and highest quality yoga training academy in Africa, where we graduate the best of the best in terms of wellness experts.  The potential of the wellness industry in Africa still remains largely untapped, but our instructors/graduates are slowly filling the niche.

If someone wanted to get involved with the project how would they do that and are their skills that are specifically welcome?

We welcome anyone who wants to be involved in AYP!

Anyone can come to the Shine Center in Nairobi at 10 am every Saturday for our free community class, which is always followed by a free vegetarian lunch.

We have studio classes at the Shine Center and in Pop-Up studio locations across Nairobi throughout the week.  We update our calendar on the website so do please check here.

Anyone can arrange a private class in their workplace or home with our qualified teachers.

You can also register for our annual 200 hour yoga teacher training by applying on-line, and you can apply to a scholarship if you live in Africa and meet our criteria.

As a mentor, the Mentor Program is a 12-month commitment.  The monthly contribution of $125 pays for the salary of an AYP teacher. Mentors and AYP Teachers engage in monthly Skype conversations and email exchanges.  In order to facilitate learning and sharing a new theme is presented each month based on the year of the mentee.

One can also volunteer by being part of the Seva Safari team, which is an opportunity for an adventure, service, yoga practice, and building community.  We have trips planned all year round.

So you see, opportunities to plug in are plenty! I would encourage anyone interested to visit our website  to learn more.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

Yoga, Inner Fire Apparel, Muuyu    Meditation, Muuyu, Health and Wellness, Yoga     Lighting Yoga’s Inner Fire          Why Meditation is Good for Your Gut

 

 

Lighting Yoga’s Inner Fire

In 2011 a young yoga teacher in Vancouver decided to develop a small business selling her authentic yoga props and meditation cushions.  In the last four years that modest one-person business has developed into Inner Fire Apparel, a thriving international company creating yoga apparel and lifestyle products.  Muuyu was delighted to have the chance to discuss organic business growth,  following passions and giving back to your community with inspiring Inner Fire founder,  LEAH EMMOTT.

When did you establish Inner Fire Apparel and what was the momentum behind it?

Back in 2011,  I was working as a yoga teacher when I suddenly had to be rushed to the hospital for the removal of a giant ovarian cyst, which left me in recovery for 6 weeks.  I had a lot of friends who were yoga teachers so I decided to make some gifts for them while I was off during the holiday season.  The first items I made were yoga props and meditation cushions.

After giving some out as gifts, I had some people from my yoga studio ask if I could sell them some there.   I just followed the demand and started to make and sell yoga props,  bit by bit.  After selling a fair amount I decided it was time to call the company something.  I decided to call it Inner Fire because the area of my belly where I had the cyst was the same area where the 3rd chakra resides.  It is an area with fiery qualities that is responsible for passion, creativity and drive.  I really felt like this fire got lit during those 6 weeks off.

When I was back teaching,  I started to brainstorm some cool shirt design ideas that had been mulling around in my brain for a while.  I took a local screen printing workshop and then started to print my own shirts at home.  I would wear them out and to class and had even more people ask me if I could make some for them. It grew very organically.

About a year ago, I added a line of eco-friendly leggings made from recycled water bottles as a medium to express my love for nature and art.  The clothing side of the business grew so quickly that I decided to no longer offer the yoga props. It’s funny how a business evolves!

How difficult was it to progress without a background in fashion design or experience in setting up a business (that needed a home, staff, funding, etc)?

My business never intended to be a fashion business when I started out.   It was strictly yoga props and casual tanks and tees at the beginning.  I didn’t even want to get into cut and sew apparel until a couple of years in (and with the help of people with actual backgrounds in the fashion world).  I let it grow organically;  letting my creativity drive the direction rather than the industry.  I was just lucky that what I was doing ended up being what the industry was looking for!

As for the business side,  I have a degree in business  but I can’t say that it helped much when it came to all the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.  I was lucky to be able to move back home to focus on the business,  which allowed me to put a lot of sweat equity into the project without too much financial risk.  I bootstrapped the entire business off of my savings and worked on the side when I started.   As the business continued to grow,  I experienced some major growing pains.  It was clear after the first year and a half that I needed to move into a proper space and hire staff.  At the time,  it definitely was scary to be taking those risks,  but I am so glad I made the decision to go big or go home.

As a fashion brand Inner Fire is fun and playful but can you explain how you keep it grounded in a genuine yoga philosophy.

My inspiration comes from my experience as a yoga practitioner and as a yoga teacher.  To me, yoga,  at its core,  is simply the practice of being fully present and connected.  Being in that state of mind opens up the potential for more fun,  joy and playfulness in one’s day-to-day life.  It can be expressed in so many different ways.   For me it is through words and art.  I always make sure that the phrases I put on my shirts honor the practice of yoga and the person wearing it, however tongue in cheek the saying might be.

I feel so indebted to yoga for helping me get through tough times and reminding me what is important in life.  It has also introduced me to a community of deeply loving and conscious individuals.  It has humbled me in so many ways.  The practice reminds me that we are all connected and that we can really create a positive impact through our actions.

Inner Fire, Yoga, Muuyu    Inner Fire, Yoga, Muuyu

You are now the designer and the CEO of a yoga clothing company – what inspires you in both these roles, and do you find one role fits you more easily than the other?

As with any business,  the founder needs to wear a lot of hats to get the work done.  The business side and the creative side have to go hand in hand in order for the whole business to be successful.  It’s less compartmentalized and more of a continuum for me though. They blend with each other because that’s the nature of the day-to-day of small business.  The business side is primarily about people, whereas the creative side is primarily about thoughts and feelings. The two roles balance each other out naturally.

I’ve had people refer to me as the CEO before, and for some reason, I never liked that title.  Although I believe in leadership  I don’t see the need for corporate hierarchy.  This company is definitely something that came from me but I feel like now it’s grown bigger than me.  It’s created a community of conscious individuals,  of which I see myself as an equal.

Which of your collections (or pieces within a particular collection) are your favorites and why?

It’s really hard to choose any one collection, but I would have to say my favorite is the ‘Laughing Yogi Collection’.  It was my original collection of yoga puns and funny sayings.  When I initially came up with it,  I thought that no one would have the same humor as me but it turns out I was definitely wrong!  I love that it brings out the lighthearted side in people.

An important part of the Inner Fire philosophy is giving back to the larger community – can you talk about why this is integral to the company what it entails exactly?

When I started the company I finally felt like I had found my life calling.  I felt like the fire was lit within me to make a positive impact in the world.  One day while meditating I felt the need to somehow give this same feeling to others.  Everyone has a passion – but not everyone is fortunate enough to have the means to make it a reality. I had a friend in university who had started an organization called the School Fund.  Their mandate is to help link up youth in developing countries with micro-donors in order to fund their education.  The light bulb went off in my head – I could donate a portion (10%) of my profits to The School Fund to help other young people realize their dreams too!

Most of the students we support are looking to attend post-secondary or vocational programs in their communities.  It’s been quite eye-opening to learn how little there is out there for students in their late teens and early twenties.  In order to maximize our contribution we usually engage in matching campaigns with other organizations.  So far we’ve funded educational scholarships for over 10 students in Africa and Ecuador.

 The company has grown at quite a rapid rate – how have you coped with that?

2014 was the turning point year for me.  I can’t believe how fast it’s grown!  I went from making everything myself to having to locally outsource production just to keep up.   It was super rewarding to see how far I was able to take it on my own.  Of course, I had a lot of help from friends and family during those first two years – of which I am eternally grateful.

I did find it hard to let go and give up some control but I found myself overworked and unable to enjoy the things I used to enjoy when I had spare time.  I had to hire some help so that I could live a normal life again. The people on my team have been amazing. I feel like the big growing pains phase is finally over.

What are the future priorities for you and Inner Fire Apparel?

I hope to continue to build a strong team of conscious people who enjoy working in a dynamic environment.  I have plans to expand the wholesale side of the business into international markets, like Australia, the UK, Singapore and Dubai.  It’s been really crazy to see how many people from all over the world know about Inner Fire. Gotta thank the internet for that one!  I hope to be able to impact more people through our philanthropic activities as well.

As a business woman as well as a yoga practitioner and teacher, what advise can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

I have learned many things along this journey and one of the biggest things is that the best thing you can do is be true to yourself and open your heart to those around you.  When you live in a state of authenticity,  gratitude and selflessness you attract the things that you are looking for.  You attract the right people and from there the opportunities start to flow.

You can call it the Law of Attraction or manifestation, but it’s basically about living as though we are in this together. It really works!

Oh, and it’s OK to show up to a class and spend the whole time in Savasana! I think there’s a shirt for that! 😉

All Inner Fire Apparel products can be found on  their website http://www.myinnerfire.com 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

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5 New Year Resolutions for New Yogis & Yoginis To Make

So 2014 was the year that you began your yoga journey in earnest.  And now, with 2015 almost here and happening,  perhaps you’re wondering how you can continue to develop your life on a yoga path, possibly without too many radical changes that might have you giving up by mid-year or earlier!   Well, here are 5 New Year Resolutions to make which will lead the way to a happier and healthier yogic life!

  • Regular Practice: This may seem pretty obvious but if you want to ensure yoga remains not just a relevant but an effective part of your life it is necessary to maintain a regular practice.   Yoga has immense benefits but as many people first turn to yoga with a physical need (i.e. wishing to increase their body flexibility, weight loss, etc) it can take a while to bring postures,  pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation together to reach that true harmony of a unified body, mind and spirit, which is,  of course,  the greatest benefit of yoga.    Of course, ‘regular’ may mean anything from 10 to 60 minutes daily for some folk or twice a week for others.  You yourself will know what’s best for you.  The point is, that in developing a good ‘yoga practice’,  the second part of that phrase is equally as important as the first!
  • Live the Simple Life:  In western society there is,  unfortunately,  a constant incitement to consume.   It is great to have the things that we need, no doubt about that,  but can we say that we truly need all that we have?   One of the primary principles of living a yogic life is ‘greedlessness’ (aparigraha).   So if 2015 is your year of moving towards a more yogic lifestyle then you could begin by removing – slowly,  if you need time – all the things around you that are unnecessary to living a more modest life.   Part of this journey is also to refrain from coveting what others have and learning to see the real riches in your life, which may include the friends and family that love you regardless of whether you have loads of gadgets or the time to pursue interests that got lost in the maelstrom of making and spending money.
  • Eat Your Greens:  Adding more veggies to your daily diet (and eliminating processed foods in addition) is one very easy way to resolve to live a more yogic lifestyle.   Outside of any moral reasons to develop a more plant-based diet,  there are huge health benefits to be had by increasing your consumption of vegetables.  These not only include increased energy levels and healthier skin, but a vegetable-rich diet is known to lower the incidences of many diseases  including obesity,  hypertension, diabetes and many heart-related illnesses.   Living a healthful life and making conscious decisions as to what you put into your body are all steps on the yogic path.
  • Take New Steps on Your Healthy Path:  Oil pulling,  herb infusions, keeping a gratitude journal, doing daily mediation?  Often when you begin a yoga practice and find yourself becoming more attuned to your body, mind and spirit you naturally want to start taking better care of yourself.   There are so many healthful ways that you can increase your well-being on a daily basis from the moment you wake to the minutes before you retire to bed.  This can include starting your day with 5 or 10 minutes of mindful meditation to taking up the ancient Ayurvedic technique of oil pulling (specifically, that means rinsing your mouth with a tablespoon of oil on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes).   This former practice can establish a positive mindset for the day ahead while the latter practice of oil pulling not only promotes oral hygiene but helps cleanse the skin and increase energy levels.
  • Put Yoga into Words and Actions:  The philosophy of yoga is one that promotes peaceful living (ahimsaor), respect for natural life,  being true to yourself and living with honesty and integrity.  That doesn’t mean turning yourself into a modern day Pollyanna, but by trying to be wise with your words, kind in heart and joyful in spirit you may just find that living the yogic lifestyle is more gratifying and personally gainful than you’d ever dreamed it could be.

Happy 2015!

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this you might also like the below posts.  Just click on the pictures to go straight to the article.

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12 Quotes to Encourage You To Go Get Your Dreams in 2015!

In a little over a week we will be welcoming in a brand new year and for many people that means a time for making new plans or starting afresh with old ideas.   It’s the beauty of this stage in the holiday season that most people make their plans with a confidence and conviction that is not always present at other times of the year.

So to help keep that positivity pumped once the festive eagerness has fizzled a little,  here are 12 life-affirming  and reassuring quotes to help you really go after your dreams in 2015.

 “Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want.”  William J. Reilly

“Throw your dreams into space, like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”  Anais Nin

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  Lao Tzu

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  Helen Keller

 “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams”.  Oprah Winfrey

“In order to carry a positive action we must first develop a positive vision.”  Dalai Lama

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”  Benjamin Franklin

“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”  Osho

 “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  Maya Angelou

“Do or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda 

 

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

Photo credit: Eddy Ballardi

4 Airplane Yoga Poses for Long Haul Travelers this Holiday

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends but for many people that means taking long-haul flights back to hometowns or holiday destinations.   While there’s much to look forward to by making such a journey, sitting still for a long time on a plane can be less than fun, especially for your joints and muscles.  Practicing certain yoga poses during the flight can keep your blood flowing and so prevent chances of swelling,  stiffness and in,  rare cases,  developments of blood clots in a deep vein known as deep vein thrombosis.

Calming the mind – especially if you boarded your flight after a largely hectic pre-Christmas workload – and reducing overall anxiety about flying, are two further benefits.

So,  while I’m not suggesting you start with sun salutations in the aisle once the seat-belt sign has blinked off, here are 4 flight-friendly yoga poses that you can practice either while seated or when stretching your legs in the cabin and without drawing too much attention to yourself.

1. Seated Cat Cow

Aim: This is a wonderful exercise if you suffer from a fear of flying as it frees the tension or stressed emotions that you may be holding onto by releasing blockages within your spinal column.

How: On the edge of your seat, align your feet with your hips.  Place your hands lightly on top of your thighs, inhale, and roll your shoulders to arch your chest upwards and outwards.   Look towards the tip of your nose and, as you exhale, roll your spine forward.  Allow your body to follow the flow and length of every breath. Continue for 10-20 breaths.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

Aim: Relieves stress and relaxes your back.  Especially great if you’ve fallen into a crumpled sleep over your arm rest or have just finished watching two back-to-back in-flight films without standing up at any stage.

How: Sit on the edge of your seat.  Gently place the back of your right knee on top of the left, place your left hand on your right knee, and your right hand on your right armrest.  Inhale and straighten your spine (feel like the top of your head is reaching to the hand luggage storage).  Keep this length and slowly exhale while turning towards your right side.  Stay here and take 4 deep breathes before repeating on the other side.

3. Thigh Stretch

Aim: Wakens your legs and prevents stiffness in your thigh muscles.

How: If you have an aisle seat, stand next to it and place your left hand on the headrest.  Straighten your back and tuck in your navel. Lift your right foot off the floor and bend your knee (so your lower leg is behind your body). Grab your right ankle with your right hand and gently pull up until your heel is touching or moving toward your butt. Hold for 6 to 8 breaths. Gently release and switch sides.

4. Side Stretch

Aim: Lengthens the muscles between the ribs and pelvis, including the lower back. By opening the sides of the rib cage and expanding the lungs, this makes breathing easier, which is particularly helpful in the small, sometimes stuffy, confines of a plane.

How: Go for a stroll around the cabin to re-energize your body.  Find a little space – usually there’s a little more room outside the bathroom area towards the back of the plane.  Step back with your feet hip width.  Raise your right arm, sideways, toward the sky. When you exhale, keeping your chin tucked in, lean over to left side until you feel a gentle stretch on your right side.  Hold for 5-10 breaths before repeating the other side.

Of course, do be mindful of others and your own safety when practicing these or any other yoga poses on the plane.  Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the flight also to keep yourself hydrated.   Most of all, though, breathe deeply,  stay energized and have a happy and healthy holiday.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

Yoga; Yoga Asanas; Meditation              Yoga; Yoga Asanas;

How Yoga Slows You Down        What Does Yoga Actually Do?

 

United Nations Declares 21 June as ‘International Day of Yoga’

The United Nations have adopted the India-led resolution to declare 21 June International Day of Yoga.   India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who appointed a Minister for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy,  Unani,  Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) last month,  also used his September address to the United General assembly to promote the practice and to create a global day of yoga (we wrote about it on the Muuyu blog here).

Obviously his words created a huge impact for the resolution, which was introduced by India’s ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji, also had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors,  the highest number ever for any general assembly resolution.

Additionally, what makes the adoption of this proposal even more unique and shows just how influential yoga has become, is the fact that this was the first time such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days. Now, that’s pretty impressive!

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

First Ever British Yoga Festival

The first ever British Yoga Festival, organized by UK’s best-selling YOGA Magazine, runs next weekend (Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

The Festival, which is expecting a turn-out of approximately 15,000 people from London, the UK and around the world, will showcase a host of yoga workshops, classes and demonstrations.  The line-up includes everything from Acro to Ashtanga with some Fierce Grace, Full Moon Flow and Yoga Rave  stirred in for those who like their yoga a little on the weird and wonderful side.

The impressively starry line-up of teachers includes Claire Missingham, Howard Napper, David Sye, Sonia DoubellRachel Okimo, Vena Ramphal, Dirish Shaktidas and Radhanath Swami.

YOGA Magazine and Festival organizers told Muuyu, “”When we launched in 2003 YOGA Magazine was the first dedicated UK monthly magazine to promote the benefits of a yogic lifestyle.  Now, after building up a solid reader base over the last 11 years, we felt that this was the right time to host our first ever British Yoga Festival due to the increasing appeal of yoga, and industry and reader demand for a yoga show to offer something different.”

With that in mind attendees can also look forward to a vast range of stalls and an array of activities including Ayruveda, diet and nutrition, green living and meditation and a full children’s programme.

To mark their first ever festival, YOGA Magazine will also be aiming to set a new world record for the UK’s largest indoor yoga class. This will take place on Saturday 6th December at 1.30pm and organizers are hoping for over 2,000 people to join in.

So if you’re in London next weekend, grab your mat and make your way to Islington.   To keep the industry thriving it’s important to support new and ambitious events such as the British Yoga Festival. And chances are you’ll  have fun, meet other like-minded folk and find a great class or workshop to do that you wouldn’t have had a chance to find otherwise!

For further information look here.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

Yoga Fashion’s Gift of Grace

Since its establishment the yoga attire company weargrace has become brand of choice for women who want their clothing – both on and off the mat – to spark a deeper, authentic personal style.    Muuyu was fortunate to recently catch up with weargrace Founder, KAREN JOYCE, to find out what inspires the former Gucci Image Director as the woman at the helm of this unique yoga clothing collection.  

 When did you establish weargrace and what was the momentum behind it?

I have been practicing yoga for many years and in 2009 after 20 years in the fashion industry, I left my business and traveled to Asia in search of more meaning, deeper self-understanding and a greater awareness of the ancient disciplines of the east.

In my travels and study I found that the ancient teachings and philosophy inherent in yoga and meditation are very different from their western interpretations.  There is a very pure and simple side, a more meaningful foundation that gets lost in our hectic lifestyles and conditioning.

The creation of weargrace was an opportunity to use a language that I know (fashion) as a vehicle to share these precious teachings by embodying them in the brand values and the clothing itself.

This idea was born in late 2009 and developed through many subsequent trips to Asia and many yoga experiences in different parts of the world.  The first collection was produced is 2012.

You’ve talked before about there being three specific events that woke you up to the fact that you needed to change the work/life you were leading, but at what moment did you start to think about setting up your own yoga fashion line and were you not worried that the work might consume you once again?

I started thinking about a yoga line in 2009 when I sat in my teachers training workshop in Bali, listening to the profound, life changing philosophy behind this ancient discipline and observed that everyone was dressed the same.  Yoga attire was totally disconnected to the teachings.  It occurred to me that the clothing could be a vehicle to remind people of the precious values inherent in yoga and to keep these teachings alive.

I trusted that if my work could be a natural extension of who I am and the values I sustain, that I could stay aligned and not fall into the old work patterns.

“Living” the precepts of yoga and meditation is much harder than studying it on an island or in the Himalayas.  The real challenge comes in the integration of this wisdom into the ups and downs of everyday life. This remains a continual challenge for me and is what stimulates me to keep weargrace growing and to stay true to the message behind the brand.

Weargrace is so much more than a fashion brand. Along with the weargrace collection there are also grace retreats and a philosophy that promotes the practice of yoga – Can you explain further how these strands all tie together? 

Grace retreats and the weargrace philosophy are all vehicles to remind people to live from the inside out. To connect to their unique inner wisdom and guidance.  The clothing, the retreats,  the philosophy, are all part of  the same message.

You may buy a weargrace legging because you see it on Net-a-Porter or because you like the particular color or style.  Maybe you read about the prayer flag symbolism and it helps to bring more compassion to your day, or the text in the weargrace mantra inspires you to take a yoga or meditation class and you begin to live from a different space.  It is my hope that weargrace plants a seed that can lead people to their own unique path of personal growth.

You are one of the 16 hand-selected fashion lines that debuted as part of Net-a-Porter’s new, luxury activewear offering, Net-a-Sporter. How did that come about and what can we expect as part of your future relationship with them?

I first contacted Net-a-Porter in 2012, introducing the brand message, philosophy and product selection.   Candice Fragis, the buyer who I was in touch with, was very kind in her feedback, recognizing the unique offering but relaying that there was not yet a place for this niche market on the N-A-P platform.  In March of 2014, I received a call directly from Candice, senior buyer of the activewear segment.  She had remembered the brand and explained the plan to launch the Net-a -Sporter platform, and came by to see the collection.

As an avid yogi, Candice connected immediately with the deeper message behind the brand, as well as its simple and elegant style, versatility and comfort that made the offering different from all other activewear brands.

Being in the right place at the right time and having someone who understood what the brand was trying to communicate, this was grace!

In July, 2014 weargrace was the only brand to represent the yoga sector on the Net–a-Sporter platform launch.  Our presence on this important channel reaching over 170 countries is the perfect opportunity to share our unique message and offers all women simple, stylish and comfortable clothing that inspires a more personal, authentic part of themselves.

What are the future priorities for the company?

Weargrace aims to establish itself as the most modern, tasteful and meaningful brand in yoga attire, encouraging women to live from the core of their being, and connect to their unique personal style and inner guidance.

As a business woman and an avid yoga practitioner, what advice can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

Yoga is not just a physical practice.  It is a tool that helps us to align with who we really are.   Approach your practice with compassion and presence.  In this connection, you will discover an inner knowing, a guidance that will help you to live from a more peaceful and authentic space.

This is living from the inside out and is my challenge every day.   To live from this space is our greatest gift.

KarenJoyce

US-born Karen Joyce is the founder of weargrace.   Following her graduation from Providence College and Rhode Island School of Design, Karen moved to Venice, Italy where she worked as a consultant for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  From there she moved to Milan where she joined Gucci as a graphic designer, then as Art Director before relocating to London as Director of Image for the Gucci Group.  In this position she managed an in-house creative agency for all Gucci’s brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.  However, after almost two decades in the business Karen decided to make some personal changes that would greatly impact her professional life …and weargrace was born.

Weargrace products can be found on weargrace.com, Net-a-Porter and, from next year onwards, across the USA in 9 locations of the luxury department store chain, Barney’s.

8 Inspirational Quotes in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Over the last few years I have found myself facing a lot of challenges in my career and in my relationships.  Some inspiring, some intimidating.  However, each time I am confronted with a tough situation or left wondering if I can weather another change in my life I have learned to stand still, breathe deeply and give thanks for the very place that I find myself in that moment.   For whatever the future holds,  it is by recognizing what is positive about my present that will get me to the next moment with grace and gratitude.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving this year, here are a few helpful quotes to remind us all to feel grateful and to know how to carry that gratitude into the coming moments of our lives.

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.” The Buddha

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

“The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful—great and full—that you are alive, and you enjoy it.” Yogi Bhajan

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”  Oprah Winfrey

 “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” Alphonse Carr

“We think we have to do something to be grateful, or that something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being.” Iyanla Vanzant

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.