5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

by Emma Lowe

What is Sankalpa?

Have you ever been in yoga class and zoned out when invited to set an ‘intention for your practice’, or during Yoga Nidra got the dreads when asked to call upon your sankalpa?

Know that you are not alone. Getting clear about our intentions and coming to know our life’s purpose can take a little time and heart felt thought.

First let’s get clear about what an intention is not – it is not a goal or resolution. 

When I’ve set myself a goal, it has usually been based around something I no longer want in my life and I become overly attached to a particular end result. The slightest of deviance makes you feel like you’ve failed and ultimately to quit what might have been a very good and worthy intention.

In my experience goals are set in the thinking mind, bringing with them layers of conflict between the unconscious mind and the workings of our being.

Our bodies therefore do receive the mentally constructed goal of change but instead energetically receive the internal conflict, which is the opposite of the desired effect and any changes materialising out of sheer will and determination rather than deep rooted and lasting transformation. 

With an intention however, we don’t need to judge whether we win or fail. An intention doesn’t trigger that conflicting voice in our minds.

An intention is a direction which allows us to learn from our detours without judgement, so we don’t quit, we don’t fail – we simply notice we’re face deep in the box of chocolate (self observation without judgement) and pull ourselves away from them (re-choosing our new direction) and get back on track (towards our intention). 

Where I have found radical and lasting transformation is with the use of intention or sankalpa within the practice of Yoga Nidra, which I’ll be sharing on our Thailand Yoga Retreats this summer/fall..

Yoga Nidra is a full body, conscious guided meditation process dating back to the Tantras.

Lying down, usually in savasana, you are guided to physically and energetically relax, withdrawing from the senses and external stimuli and coming to rest as open awareness itself in the bliss layer of being or Anandamaya Kosha. 

Here we work with intention at the very subtlest layers of our being.

In this state intentions can be planted without the presence of the conflicting mental mind and real paradigm shifts can occur.


But how do you actually go about setting an intention or a sankalpa? 


1. Make your intention about you

How do you want to be in the world? 

What is your highest expression of yourself?  


2. Let it resonate within you

You know when you have found the right intention for you as it will feel right.

It will resonate throughout your entire being.

Our intention should create a sense of expansion in the body.


3. Phrase your intention positively & in the present tense

Your intention should be a statement of truth. You may not fully believe it right now and that’s okay but feel it as though it were true and start to cultivate and direct your attention and energy in that direction.

Being cruel and drawing upon “negative” traits and characteristics seldom motivates lasting, positive change in ourselves (or in the world).

By focusing all our energy on the things we don’t like or don’t want creates discord – which is actually the opposite of the desired outcome!

For example rather than “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to be thin” your intention could be “I am healthy and only do things that nourish my body”.

Or rather than “I want to be less anxious” your intention could be “I am at peace”.

Make your intention withdraw energy from where you don’t want to be and instead direct your energy to where you do want to go. 


4. Keep it simple and concise

So you easily can recall it whenever you need it. 

If words aren’t really your thing, perhaps make your intention an image or a sense. As long as it creates the energetic sensation you want; your intention can be truly anything that works for YOU.

However, the best part about working with intentions in Yoga Nidra is that even if you aren’t quite sure of your Sankalpa, the more you practice Yoga Nidra and allow yourself to rest in open awareness  – the more you naturally come into better alignment and harmony.

Often bad habits and emotional patterns and all the things we tend to set intentions to shift naturally melt away, sometimes without you even realising they have been transmuted. 


5. If you’re still drawing a blank, ask yourself what is it that you truly want from this short and precious life?

What are the things that light you up and that make your wild heart sing?

Do more of whatever it is that you love and allow yourself to be more YOU in everything you do

and in doing this, you’ll align with an intention so deep and profound it lies beyond what the body can feel or the mind understand yet all things will fall into place. 



Emma will be sharing Yoga and Yoga Nidra at Pure Flow Yoga this summer .

Click here to find some free Yoga Nidra recording from Emma, including one on to help you find your sankalpa.

Join Emma for an intimate, magical, & life-changing retreat in Thailand this August and September 2019.


Founder of Essential Nature Yoga, Irish nomad and Celtic Yogini Emma Lowe facilitates Yoga and Yoga Nidra practices which merge yoga and nature based wisdom. She has also been Communications and Creative Director and assistant facilitator with Somah Journeys since 2018.

With a background in creative and performing arts, Emma engages music, song, folklore and story telling for the purpose of personal and cultural healing in her offerings. She is also a poetic writer, photographer and painter. Since childhood Emma has been engaged in using these mediums for the purpose of peace and reconciliation through cross community projects in Ireland.

Emma’s career in film and television opened her eyes to an holistic way of living and opened her heart to a spiritual path while working on a national religion and ethics series. Later while working on hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Emma found balance and a way to deal with personal grief through mindfulness techniques she learnt from a Buddhist nun. An encounter which eventual led her to the yogic path and to South East Asia. 

Trained in Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra, Emma teaches intuitively and with a deep understanding of life’s natural cycles and rhythms in order to nourish and inspire her students. 

Emma sees yoga as a vehicle for personal and social change and offers inclusive, safe spaces where everyone and everything is welcome. She is particularly passionate about practices that support women’s health, having trained with Tina Nance in Womb awakening and studying with Yoni Shakti author Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. Emma offers hormone balancing restorative yoga and her popular Yoni Nidra (womb meditations).

Emma spends time working with the native plant medicines of the Amazon basin, including the ‘vine of death’ and has received medicine songs and red road teachings during her time in South America, which inspired her to study and share her own ancestral roots through Celtic spirituality and Celtic Medicine wheel teachings.

Emma Lowe

Essential Nature Yoga

Transforming Cellular Memory, Yoga Deep & the Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival – Interview with Cathy Pearson

Transforming Cellular Memory, Yoga Deep & the Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival – Interview with Cathy Pearson

Transforming Cellular Memory,

Yoga Deep &

the Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival

Interview with Cathy Pearson 

“You tears are prayers…with them come great relief and expansion”. – Cathy Pearson


Listen to my conversation with Cathy Pearson here:




In this Episode, Cathy shares about:

  • Meditation instead of medication – From depressed in her teens in Ireland to a life-long meditation practice
  • Her fascinating journey as an an award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • Transforming Cellular Memory, and the language and anatomy of sacred energy and purification
  • How to embrace and transform challenges through Universal Connection
  • the Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival, and how she’s helping to uplift and giveback to her local Yoga scene through the creation of Ireland’s 1st ever International Yoga & Spirit Festival
  • A trillion trees project and the importance of doing our bit to support worthwhile endeavours to help with climate crisis
  • Being a mom, and the power, bliss and choice of Natural Birth



About Cathy:

Born in Ireland, Cathy Pearson, founder of Yoga Deep and the Celtic Woodland YogaFestival, is an award-winning feature documentary filmmaker, Yoga teacher and Spiritual Educator. She’s also a mother and proponent of natural birth, who has been involved with yoga for over 20 years.  In that time she has been living between Ireland, Thailand, India & Bali offering group and one to one sessions and deepening her understanding of the incredible depths of yoga. studying and practicing a variety of styles and disciplines, from Iyenger and Hatha, to Ashtanga and meditation .

For the past 18  years, Cathy has been in a deep process of spiritual healing & purification, and has qualified as a certified Cellular Healing Therapist. This process is called Transforming Cellular Memory or TCM, where intuitive & psychic skills are developed to clear the pathways for sacred energy to flow through to help us unlock old behaviour and thought patterns and raising our level of consciousness in a profound and powerful way.

Her new project, The Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival, Ireland’s first international Yoga Festival,  launches in July 2019 in Ireland


Learn more about Cathy:


Show notes:

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Love at first Yoga

Love at first Yoga

Love at First Yoga

“I do” – Love at First Yoga – My Journey


Becoming a student of Yoga

Once upon a time, I was backpacking in India and decided to try a 10 day silent meditation retreat at Tushita in the Himalayas.

I thought that such a feat would be nearly impossible for such an incessantly talkative, extroverted, enthusiastic person such as myself.

It was surprising to me how easy it was to melt into the Simple Life.

I knew immediately how important this experience would be for my life.

It was challenging at times, don’t get me wrong, but I was in deep gratitude everyday for having discovered this practice of Being in my early 20’s.

On this retreat, they offered Yoga practice everyday.  

From the first downward dog I ever took, I knew:  This was it.  FULL YES.

I fell head over heals in love with Yoga.  Everything about it. The movements, the breath, the philosophy, the community of truth-seekers.

Truly, madly, deeply in LOVE.

As soon as I started loving and practicing Yoga, I felt openings and awakenings in my body and almost instantly the mind benefits started to creep in.

With more space, flexibility and awareness of my body, I learned to heal 16 years of chronic pain in my IT band – in my outer knee and thigh.

I also began to feel a lifetime full of indecision and the dances with depression begin to loosen their grip.

Resilience continues to grow strong all the time.




The next move on my travels was Thailand, where I met Lily of the Blooming Lotus.  Again, instant Love.  We kept in touch and I always knew that I wanted to learn more from this incredible embodied and wise Yogi.

Over the next many years I became a true Yogaphile: I really gave time to and tried Anusara Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kundalini, Satsang, Yin, Restorative, Bikram, Hot Yoga, Ashtanga, Mysore practice, Iyengar. 

You name it, I tried it. Mostly…

Travelling for Yoga, taking as many classes and workshops I could, reading all the books.

I studied thousands of hours with countless teachers, masters, took endless trainings and workshops…

We know that life isn’t always easy.   Buddha’s first noble truth state that “all beings suffer”.  Its part of the package of being gifted this embodied life.

Yoga always helped make things better.

Yoga started to make my life easier and more enjoyable. 

It started to help me become more resilient and to help me overcome the bouts of depression that have been a signature part of my life throughout my child and adulthood.



Becoming a Yoga Teacher

After living for some time in Bali, teaching Pre-Kindergarten at the Green School (I’m actually a qualified and certified Primary school teacher!), 

I decided it was finally time to take my Yoga to the next – level with a Teacher Training course.  Of course Lily was top of my list of who I wanted to study with, even though I had only met her for a few days 6 years before.

The teacher training blew my mind and my teachers invited me to assist and work with them.  

Shortly thereafter, I moved to Thailand and started running classes, then retreats at the Blooming Lotus.

Dream come true.

For me, despite the statistics that share that there are anywhere from 2450-650,000 Registered Yoga Teachers in the US alone, I’ve always know that if its my dharma, or sacred purpose to teach, the universe will guide me.

I guess I’ve become a little woo-woo like that.  But it’s proven true.

A few years later, my teachers decided that it was time to move to Bali and open a beautiful new centre and world there.  We parted paths.



Becoming a Yogi-Preneur

This transition invited me to step up in to a new role – as a Yogipreneur – a Yogi + Entrepreneur, to take over the space in Thailand and create my own flavour of offerings.  

Another dream come true!

This has been a really challenging part of the journey. 

The beginning of our paths with Yoga is often a lot of Love + Light.  Which is great.

Eventually though, we need to sustain the practice, sustain the learnings, integrate the lessons…

So, it’s been 3 years now of running a business, and I’d say its been mostly rewarding.

I’ve learned sooooo much.  I’ve made countless friends, connecting with incredible people from all over the globe, I’ve help ed to positivly impact the lives of thousands of people. I’ve been able to live in paradise and practice Yoga and meditation in peace.

Running a business is no piece of cake. Its been very demanding and at times, I even forget that I’m a Yogi first. 

I’m doing my best, and definitely feel like I’m earning the equivalent of a Masters degree in Spirituality and Business.

Mostly though, having a business demands that I step out of my comfort zone and learn things that are not in my so-called “Zone of genius”.

For this I am grateful…and challenged.



What’s next for me?

No matter what happens in terms of my career or trajectory as a human being….Yoga and Meditation are next for me. 

If life has taught me anything, it’s that everything changes.

So I don’t know that I’ll be teaching Yoga in this way for the rest of my life, and I don’t know if it’ll be here in this paradise.

Yoga teaches me to be present, to be grateful and  love what is, and to accept change with grace.

Again, not always easy. 

Yoga is a practice.  It’s not something you do, then tick off the list.  

I think of showers in the same way.  Great! I had a shower today – that doesn’t mean I won’t need one again tomorrow or in a couple days right?!

Yoga is something you show up to in every moment, day after day after day.

Teaching Yoga does not mean that I have mastered it.  It simply means that I am dedicated to being a student of life, dedicated to facing my shadows, to learning, to growing and to evolving

Yoga is my forever teacher,  in the good times and the bad.

Yoga always helps to remind me of who I really am, beyond the stories and emotions.  It helps guide my way home.

I feel beyond blessed and grateful to dedicate my life to practicing and sharing Yoga, opening my heart, discovering deeper dimensions.  

And I vow to continue to evolve and grow, and become a more balanced and diverse person,  teacher and entrepreneur along the way, so long as that is what feels like the highest good for all, 


Til death or beyond…do us part Yoga.

Thank you for all that you give me.



In a nutshell, Why Yoga?

Hatha Yoga combines movement, conscious breathing, and mindful awareness and presence to offer physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual practices that connect us to the deepest aspects of our selves and our true nature.

The Benefits of yoga are boundless and include alignment, balance, strength, flexibility and connection to nature, community and our highest selves. 

Yoga helps me so much to navigate the reality of what presents in each moment. Its help me to know what the “highest alignment” is in each given situation, and it helps me to the see a true reflection of the roots of my suffering more clearly.  It improves each present moment most especially when I am in a really dedicated space of active practicing.

Life is still life. Up, downs, waves, emotions, times where I feel alone, time where I feel not enough. But every time an emotional fluctuation arises, it lasts less long and I can see the progress and resilience, I can feel it…

Yoga is the one thing I can absolutely commit to for the rest of my life. And I love nothing more than sharing this passion for the Practice, for being a student of life ever-after, and for living the ever – evolving dream of sharing this love with you all!

Yoga literally means “union” or “to yoke” our everyday selves with our highest most divine selves. Yoga is a powerful tool that teaches us how to live a life of balance, peace, harmony, strength and flexibility on all levels. The practice of yoga helps us become stronger, more open, free, happy, flexible and balanced, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Through yoga, we open ourselves to the infinite possibilities of life, allowing us to connect more deeply with ourselves, nature and community.


A Discipline Practice

A Disciplined Practice of yoga has the transformational benefits of deepening our connection to the body, mind and spirit, supporting us in living and loving long, vibrant, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.


Yoga teaches us the art of letting go, letting grow, letting flow.


We move our bodies to move energy and restlessness to ultimately still the mind and enter the bliss of meditation, wherein our individual consciousness can merge with the ultimate or spiritual oneness consciousness, leading to our remembrance that we are not separate from that which appears to be outside of our own minds.

In practicing yoga, we become humbled and cultivate our trust in the body of wisdom that is sacred and vast and greater than our individual selves.


The Shift

We are invited through our practice to look at the reflections life shows us in the form of experiences, the people we come across, emotions that enter.

We practice the art of receiving, giving, continually striving for an open heart especially when it wants to close.

We come to believe seemingly impossible to be possible and begin embracing feelings of gratitude for the perfection of it all either way

From wherever we are at,  breaking through our somewhat uncomfortable comfort zones of who we think we are, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that we believe – “I’m not good at yoga”, “I’m too stiff/ old/ etc.. allows us to have the biggest heart, mind and body openings and shifts in our attitudes, mindsets, behaviours and thoughts.

Becoming more consciously aware, more mindful, in the choices we make everyday, from diet and lifestyle to the company we keep, so that we are living in full truth, love and integrity, is another great ripple effect of the practice.

Yoga helps inspire a deeper connection with mother nature and her cycles.  Perfectly orchestrated symphonies of synchronicities and coincidences being to more readily flow and stream through life.

And most importantly,  at the end of the day, Yoga is simply a practice.

So all you really gotta do is show up.

Be present.


Let go





Do you love Yoga as much as we do?  Let us know in the comments section! 🙂



Enjoy this short practice that explores a simple standing sequence to build strength in alignment, flow with the breath and movement and openness in the hips and heart.

Francie is an experienced life-transformation expert from the Yoga perspective, having curated and led more than 150 + retreats, workshops and programs with over 500+ students from all walks of life from all over the world.  She is a passionate and free-spirited Yogi, hula hooper, musician, social entrepreneur and world-traveller dedicated to uplifting, inspiring and empowering people to live embodied and awakened lives.

She is the inspired founder of the award-winning Pure Flow Yoga, True:Nature Experience and Hoop Love Tribe.  Francie is currently living her dream between Thailand, Bali and the rest of the world, sharing intimate, magical and life-changing experiences, including her signature Retreats in Paradise, as well as festivals and community gatherings.

Receive her weekly Love & Inspirations when you Sign up for the Love letter- music, playlists, blog posts and more.T o follow Francie’s personal calendar, to r like her Facebook page: Francie Fishman :Yoga Hoop Music Love


Founder , Pure Flow Yoga

Healing Powers of Music

Healing Powers of Music

The Healing Powers of Music 

by Mel Dobra


Music has the ability to transcend cultural barriers,


Music has the power to soothe and heal emotional wounds.


Music has the power to unite communities, nations and even the world. 


In a society so focused on deadlines, keeping busy and getting ahead, the healing powers of music can often be overlooked, forgotten, and even dismissed as we strive forward on a never ending quest for the urban dream. 


About ten years ago I started playing music, and it was one of the biggest blessings of my life.


Through first hand experience, I quickly became aware, of the benefits that music can have, on ones well being, psyche and soul. 





My Story of how Music helped bring me back to Balance:


When life dealt me my own mental health challenges last year, it was music that played a big part In restoring me to good health.

Its not only the vibrations and the feelings that music elicit, but also the connections to community that music brings, creating shared experiences that we remember. 

I’m sure we can all recall a moment where a beautiful piece of music has been used to unite friends or family in love at a wedding.

I personally have been deeply touched by the music at a friends funeral, allowing us as a community to grieve together, to feel our own sorrow and sadness. 

As an early childhood educator I have researched and witnessed the power that music has in different areas of the education system, especially supporting students with ASDL and other learning difficulties, bringing about both greater educational outcomes, and wellbeing.



Experience it for Yourself


Sound healing, singing, kirtan (or call and response singing), expressing, communicating and sharing are all beautiful ways we can explore the healing powers of music.

Step into this shared experience of music, to heal, create memories, activate your voice and share songs with us in paradise on our upcoming retreat @ Pure Flow Yoga Thailand this July 2019.

And stay tuned by following me on Facebook…I’m about to release my new album Smoke and Flame. 



About Mel Dobra



Mel Dobra is a performing arts teacher, a recording artist, and a workshop facilitator who uses the power of music, and creativity to create spaces where people can find a deeper connection to themselves, the community and the planet, through the shared power of sacred music. 

Follow Mel’s Journey on FB: https://www.facebook.com/meldobramusic/

Listen & Buy Mel’s Music: https://meldobra.bandcamp.com/


Upcoming Events

Love & Inspirations

Reclaim your Day – Checking out of the morning Phone-Check Cycle

Reclaim your Day – Checking out of the morning Phone-Check Cycle

Reclaim your Day

Checking out of the morning Phone-Check Cycle


Question – Do you check your phone first thing in the morning?


If you do, you are in good company. 


According to research by IDC and sponsored by Facebook, more than 80% or 4/5 smartphone users check their phones before brushing their teeth or getting out of bed in the morning.


This week I started an experiment on myself: I would check my phone only after I had already finished my meditation and yoga practice.


Here’s how I did my experiment: 


3 Tips to Checking Out of the Morning Phone Check Cycle


1. Charge your phone across the room, and put it on airplane mode

If you charge your phone, or keep it next to you in the bed, the temptation to reach over for a even just a quick check can be just too much. Forcing yourself to physically get out of bed to check your phone, brings this habit into much more conscious awareness and control. Make it a conscious choice to check your phone, rather than a habit on auto-pilot



2. Choose a Habit to start instead: Meditate, Read, Do Sun Salutations, Journal, Exercise


Choose something that your highest self would like to do every day.  This could reading, writing, meditating, exercising, staring off into space…Do it consciously for 5 mins, 30 mins, 90 mins….choose something that is easily attainable for you,  so that you are setting yourself up for success.

I use Insight timer in the most simple way possible. I put a timer on for 30 mins everyday.  Once I complete that time, it tracks my progress and celebrates me and the hundreds of thousands of others who are meditating at the same time as me old over the world.  Knowing others are doing this as well is also motivating for me. 



3. Hold yourself accountable: Tell other people about your experiment

This week I told everyone in my community house about what I was doing.  It helped us all to reflect on our somewhat unconscious morning habits.  It also became a but of silly joke and conversation topic.  But in reality, what it did, was help me keep me accountable to my commitment to this experiment.  I highly highly highly recommend that you do this with a friend, partner, or at least share with people you care about that you are trying this as an experiment.



Here’s what I  found:


1) It’s hard to break this cycle

Honest truth -t it was actually really hard. 

Its become a daily habit to scroll my phone first thing in the morning, For 30-45 minutes sometimes. 

I want to connect, to see what I’ve missed, to know what’s been happening with the world around me, and to be in the know about what I need to do, respond to and/or catch up on. 

and i get joy out of it.

It’s a dopamine hit and I know it.

There is definitely an addictive quality to the relationships most of us have with our phones.  And this is a worldwide phenomena.

Taking a break from this habit this week has felt truly overwhelming at times. 


2) The benefits of breaking the cycle far outweigh the cost

Persisting with my commitment to this experiment has been well worth it:

The most stand-out benefit is that I began to reclaim my day.  

I often begin my days feeling like I’ve fallen behind.  I get stressed and overwhelmed by the things I’ve got to do, by the things I’ve missed out on or haven’t done yet. and if I’m truly honest with myself, by other people that I’m comparing myself with.  

I often feel like I’m in a hurry, late or need to rush to catch up.

This week instead of beginning my day with this feeling, I began my days feeling more relaxed, present, spaciousness, slow and at ease.

Taking a break from the rush of streaming notifications and messages, has helped me to spend more quality time in dedication to my practice, my thoughts and my plans for the day ahead.

I feel like I am more in alignment with the person who I want to become.

I’ve learned that just because my phone lights up, does not mean that something super important or un-missable is happening.  I can let it be.  

Essentially, I’ve been able to move from a more reactive approach to my day to a more proactive one.

and if I can do it, then so can you.


This week, I invite you to try the experiment with checking out of the morning phone-check cycle with me and let me know how it goes? Easy? Hard?

Please feel free to reply or comment below.  I’d LOVE to hear from you

Yoga & Taboo: Sex, Death & Wealth – Interview with Emily Kuser

Yoga & Taboo: Sex, Death & Wealth – Interview with Emily Kuser

Yoga & Taboo

Sex, Death & Wealth

with Emily Kuser

Listen to our conversation with Emily Kuser here:





“Whether something is filled with pleasure or pain, can you be with it?” – Emily Kuser

it ‘s a true honour and pleasure to welcome the wise, accomplished and fascinating Emily Kuser to the Pure Flow Yoga podcast.. Emily is a true seeker at heart, and has journeyed from her humble American roots, to becoming a prominent international Yoga teacher based in Bali and offering her Self-Care, Woman’s work and Taboo exploration workshops worldwide. Emily has a passionate curiosity for exploring the big questions of life (and death), and also how can she be best be in service to humanity a teacher. Emily is known for her skills and passion teaching Anusara Yoga, Embodied Flow, and now the more juicy and unexplored topics of sex, death & wealth, which we talk a bit about today.   


In this Episode, Emily shares about:

  • How she literally followed her dream to come to Bali and start a life here
  • Yoga as a way to bring order to the chaos of iife
  • The importance for both women and men to explore spirituality for the female psyche, to understand our cyclical nature
  • What is Self-Care and why she’s offering teacher trainings and workshops in this area
  • Business as a great spiritual path and teacher, and the importance of refining our communications, agreements and contracts
  • Tantra as a nature-based teaching and philosophy, and how to allow your self to perceive the world through body and senses 
  • Why she’ inspired by those working most closely with birth and death 



About Emily:

Emily Kuser– Founder of High Vibe Yoga 

Emily has spent a decade on teaching, research and personal experience to create the highest level courses possible. She has a sincere curiosity about healing methodologies and spiritual systems and wholeheartedly investigates their practicality for everyday people with everyday lives. Emily has studied with masters around the world in Asia, Europe and North America. Her work is deeply influenced by teachers Sally Kempton, Tara Judelle, Layla Martin, Lorin Roche & Mark Whitwell and the fields of Classical Tantra, Hatha Yoga, Somatics and Integrated Sexuality. She is dedicated to offering a fresh and honest approach to spirituality.  Emily has lived in Ubud, Bali for over 10 years and teaches her courses internationally.


Learn more about Emily:

Website High Vibe Yoga


FacebookHigh Vibe Yoga


Show notes:



  • Ibu Robin Lim –  Natural birthing midwife offering courses, retreats and disaster relief in Bali. 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Our Body is Our Brain:

The Basis of Somatic Yoga

by Daphne Chua

What is Somatic Yoga?

The notion of practising yoga might in itself present itself as a scary concept for some. 

I’ve heard many utter… 

 “I’m not flexible enough!” 

“ Are you kidding? I can’t bring my legs behind my head,” 

“ It’s a practice for women” 

“ It’s too boring”

“ I will break before I start” 


Contemporary yoga presents a svelte, slim, flexible, bikini-toned, model-like poster image of what a modern yogi (yogini) should look like.

The power of glossy marketing have certainly encouraged many to take up this form of fitness modality as it is now a modality practiced by over 36 million people*. However, it has also turned away many others who might have the notion that Yoga is an exclusive club for social media savants.


The accessibility of Yoga has often been mistakenly positioned as a practice for:

1. those who are hyper-mobile enough to pick up the practice easily,

2. those we are determined enough to put themselves through the ordeal of contortionism, or

3. those who thick-skinned enough to suffer through the humiliation of being “stiff”. 


The yoga landscape is really diverse now with a gazillion choices on styles and lineages.

It can be overwhelming to even get started! There is Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, HIIT Yoga, Yin Yoga, Barre Yoga, even Beer Yoga, Dog Yoga… and the list goes on…


But what if, just what if, Yoga isn’t about touching your toes or forcing your body into odd shapes or being able to look good in Lululemon gear, to get a glimpse into enlightenment? 

What if it is actually a practice centred around cultivating awareness, using different toolkits, to better connect body and mind? What if it can be fun, accessible, engaging? What if it can offer you insight into how you carry your beliefs through your body so you have more choices? What if it helps you to understand more about your relationships with self and others so you have more confidence, clarity and empathy in your interactions? 


For me personally, Yoga is first and foremost, a somatic practice to arrive into the present moment.

What does that mean?

Soma comes from a Greek word connoting “The Living Body” – pertaining to the consciousness of our living body, experienced and regulated from within. It is an exploration into waking up our innate senses to uncover our mind-body mapping. The practice shines a light on our habitual but mostly unconscious neurological patterning that will show up in how we breath, how we move, how we react to circumstances. These are manifested through pre-dispositions, deep seated patterning, and years of conditioning.


The practice of Somatic Yoga is thus a process of inquiry into how consciousness inhabits the living body. 

Somatic Yoga brings together mindfulness through movement, meditation, breath work, touch, visualisations, sounds, creative expressions etc, to dive deep into our consciousness and our embodied biological processes. Through sensory-motor education we can also improve motor control, coordination, and change learned muscular patterns. This approach to yoga is highly effective in relieving chronic pain, improving bodily function, and recovering from common musculoskeletal conditions.


What are Somatic Principles?

  • It is body centred to improve awareness of the body-mind connection
  • It is a sensory approach (rather than cognitive approach) to learning / unlearning / relearning
  • It is exploratory in nature, based on the premise that the body is shaped by the mind, and that the mind can be reshaped through the body
  • It is focused on the internal experience of the movement rather than on the end result.


A Body-Sensing Approach

  • It is calming & restorative. It regulates our nervous system from the constant Fight – Flight – Freeze mode, to a Rest – Digest – Engage mode.
  • It brings together somatic, mindfulness & movement principles to guide better movements.
  • It is an embodied learning approach based on neuroplasticity (the brain can be rewired, i.e unhealthy, deep conditioning patterns can be shifted_
  • It helps us to develop kinesthetics and spatial intelligence by working through the whole body’s myo-fascial connections.
  • It helps us embody how the various systems (e.g circulatory, digestive, endocrine systems) of the body work in unison to achieve balance and homeostasis. 
  • It is based on how moods & language influence physiology
  • It improves fascia health, immunity, and overall body and mind integrity


So how are we shaped?

  • Via communication – the exchange of information between body and mind, through the nervous system – central, autonomic, enteric (gut).
  • It influences how we breathe, our digestion, body chemistry, and energy levels
  • Our moods & emotions lie at the heart of this communication as it shapes our physical body, i.e stress & anxiety can lead to poor posture, pain, inflammation, dis-eases.
  • How we feel, think and behave is a biological process that is embodied through fascia health and body chemistry
  • Interoception – how we are being informed by our body – is linked to the myofascial system. 


The Benefits of Somatic Yoga

  • Helps to uncover movement patterns / habit (Samskaras) that are built on misalignment, inhibitions, co-contractions, and compensations.
  • Awaken sensory motor amnesia
  • Helps lubricate joints, nourish and hydrates tissues, create ease and increase range of motion
  • Interoception will regulate our nervous system and reduce pain sensitivity.
  • Variety of movement creates better coordination and neuroplasticity. It helps us to adapt better to our environment physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • “Subtle is how the body works. Gross is how the mind works.”  Paying attention to small changes can create profound impact on the way we think, move and relate.
  • Motion is powerful to Emotion. Movement can be used as a gateway to explore emotional regulation


The mind is like the wind & the body is like the sand. If you want to know how the wind is blowing, you can look at the sand.” 

~ Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Founder of Body Mind Centering


* Figures quoted from ~ http://media.yogajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016YIAS-Release-Final.pdf




Daphne will be offering Somatic Yoga & Movement Therapy at Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in gorgeous Koh Phangan from May 27 to June 28, 2019. 

Join her on this journey of self-exploration into uncovering your very own healing through movement, breath-work, hands-on techniques, and creative expressions to unravel our innate intelligence to nurture our body, mind and spirit. 

As a yoga therapist, a movement educator and bodyworker, Daphne has been practising yoga for the last two decades in a multitude of yoga styles &amp; movement disciplines. Her studies include are grounded in philosophies as well as in anatomy and physiology. Some of her biggest inspirations have come from Richard Freeman – who has had a deep impact on the way she sees Yoga as a profound embodiment practice for the body, mind,spirit – as well as Donna Farhi, Tom Myers, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body Mind

In recent years, she has delved into the study of neuroscience, somatic movement, combined with the holistic framework of Yoga Therapy tools to deepen her knowledge in the connection between mind and body. She uses an inquiry-based, body- sensing approach to bring about greater transformation and healing into the way we relate to ourselves and the environment. She has also recently completed her Graduate Certification in Yoga Therapy.

Daphne is trained in the art of Traditional Thai Yoga Massage, Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy, Chi Nei Tsang (TCM Abdominal Detox Massage), Tai Chi Massage and Reiki, all of which she infuses into the alchemy of her integrated bodywork and evidence-based yoga therapy. Her therapy sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and trainings are known to focus on breath, mindfulness, and embodiment to create the moment-to-moment balance
in nurturing the body, mind and spirit.

for more info on Daphne, you can visit her website here – www.yogawithdaphne.com

Daphne Chua

Certified Yoga Therapist | Teacher Trainer | Bodyworker | Movement Educator | E-RYT 500 & YACEP Yoga Alliance | GCYT – Yoga Australia & AAYT

Want to share your story? We LOVE hearing from past students.

 If you’d like to share comments, feedback, or if you’d like to submit your own post for us to share, let us know  by contacting us!

Love & Inspiration

Love & Inspiration


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Francie is an experienced life-transformation expert from the Yoga perspective, having curated and led more than 150 + retreats, workshops and programs with over 500+ students from all walks of life from all over the world.  She is a passionate and free-spirited Yogi, hula hooper, musician, social entrepreneur and world-traveller dedicated to uplifting, inspiring and empowering people to live embodied and awakened lives.

She is the inspired founder of the award-winning Pure Flow Yoga, True:Nature Experience and Hoop Love Tribe.  Francie is currently living her dream between Thailand, Bali and the rest of the world, sharing intimate, magical and life-changing experiences, including her signature Retreats in Paradise, as well as festivals and community gatherings.

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Drishti: Find your Balance

Drishti: Find your Balance

 Drishti: Find your Balance in Life

by Nadia Moon


Find Your Drishti and Balance in Life

The Sankrit word for Yoga is translated in English as “union”. Yoga is indeed the practice that unites body, mind, spirit and beyond. Beyond duality there is yoga, union.

If I look back at my personal yoga journey, I have to confess that the reason why I started practicing yoga in the first place was mainly to keep my body fit.

I was not interested in spirituality and very sceptical about the whole idea of it. I was very much body-only focused – probably also reflecting the society I was living in. I had no awareness of how powerfully this practice would have transformed my entire life very soon.

However my body knew it. The body is very wise and it knew that it was just the beginning, so I kept going.

As I increased balance, strength and flexibility on the mat (through yoga asanas and pranayama) I started to notice those changes off the mat as well, in all aspects of my life.

After 5 years of yoga practice (including meditation) I quit my toxic corporate job, I quit an unhealthy relationship I was stuck in for over 10 years and I started a journey of listening to my soul and following my higher purpose in life.

Yoga has certainly been the tool I needed to break through my conditionings and find balance.

Now I can share with you the beauty of yoga in all its universal benefits.

Everything we learn and master on the mat influences the way we show up off the mat in our everyday life.

Let’s look at one of the qualities we often seek for in our lives: balance, and how the yoga practice can help us achieve it more deeply.



The balance in a yoga asana (a body posture) can be reached by finding our drishti.

Drishti is a sanskrit word for “point of focus”.

We can’t balance in an asana by focusing on the whole wall in front of us. We need to chose a precise point on that wall, stick with it with full awareness and commitment and let go of the rest. That point on the wall is our drishti.

Once you find your drishti, the invitation is to commit to it and to let the breath be deep and smooth.

And every time you fall, honour that.  Honour the commitment you have to get back up again, and again.

Let’s remember that it’s not about how many times we fall, but rather how many times we are willing to rise up once again. Enjoying the process is the real goal.

Likewise in life, to be balanced, we need to develop the ability to chose to focus only on the things that are beneficial to us and let go of that don’t serve us.

Following our dreams, our true desires, our soul purpose in life – that’s our Drishti. It requires determination and practice; it demands to believe fully in our dreams and to drop the resistance or attachment towards what doesn’t serve our purpose. We are capable of the impossible if we only believe in it.

Yoga gives us the tools to find that drishti, that balance on and off the mat.


Practice: Balance your Breath

Beside yoga asanas (body posture) we can practice the principle of balancing with the breath as well.

Set aside 5 – 10 mins now, or longer if you can, to practice this gentle breathing meditation and increase your awareness on balancing:

Find a conformable sitting position or lay down in savasana.

Take few moments to tune in into what balance means to you.

What is the quality of balance you wish to bring in your everyday life?

Breath in your intention with full awareness. Stay here for few moments as you plant the seed of your intention. Water it with your breath.

Then let go of your intention for now, drop any story in your head and shift your mind from whatever is drifted to, to watch the rise and fall of your natural breath. Without changing it, just bring awareness to it for few minutes.

As you inhale you receive energy, as you exhale you give energy. Pay attention to whether your inhale is longer then your exhale or vice versa. Notice if that is also true in your everyday life. Is it probably time for you to receive more? Or to give more?

Then start to bring balance to your breathing. Feeling that the inhale and the exhale become equal length. Counting the breath may help. Breathing in for 5… breathing out for 5… noticing the gap in between each breath. That tiny little pose at the bottom of your inhale and the tiny little pose at the bottom of your exhale.

Continue for few minutes and then release.

What have you noticed?


I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share and comment,

Enjoy the process!!!

With Love, Nadia


Nadia will be sharing her passion for Yoga on our upcoming Yoga RetreatsThailand @ Pure Flow Yoga, in April 2019.  Learn more about here or on her website @ www.NadiaMoon.com

Yoga & Sacred Activism: 3 Ways to face the Darkness and stay Light

Yoga & Sacred Activism: 3 Ways to face the Darkness and stay Light

Yoga & Sacred Activism:

3 ways to Look into the Darkness and Stay Light

The world these days is like a dirty house. It’s been sullied with injustice, cruelty, selfishness, and greed. But just like a dirty house, it has every capability of being righted. We, as its inhabitants, have the choice of sitting in its filth, or being the ones to help clean it.

There are three ways to address the darkness in the world around us.

  • One, we can pretend we don’t see it so that it doesn’t bring us down.
  • Two, we can let it break our hearts and lock us into a state of depressed inaction
  • Three, we can be honest about its existence and understand it as a place asking for attention, action, and change.


 The Path of Service

Stepping up to the wrongs of this world is not an easy task for anyone, but it is the task worth doing. Atira Tan, founder of Art to Healing (www.arttohealing.org) and Yoga for Freedom (www.yogaforfreedom.org.au), first heard her call to action in Cambodia in 2004.

After witnessing the on-goings of a child sex slavery ring in the street below her hotel room, she was faced with a choice. She could look away, board the plane to her next vacation destination, and move on with her life. Or she could stay, step into the discomfort of a painful situation, and try to help these 9-10 year-old girls being sold by their family so they could survive.

Atira stayed. She spent the next four years living in Cambodia and working for a non-profit to prevent and heal the trauma of child sex slavery. She took the time to speak with these girls, girls who had experienced an unimaginable devastation of spirit from the trauma they’d undergone, and she chose to believe that there was still life within their deadened eyes that could, and needed to be, revitalised.

Today, Atira continues to follow her path of service and seeks to encourage others to do the same. In 2005, she founded Art to Healing, a non-profit that incorporates art therapy and yoga to help both women and men affected by sex slavery to foster a healthier relationship with themselves and their bodies. Furthermore, she launched Yoga for Freedom yoking the yoga community with social change, a world-wide fundraising event that taps into the billion-dollar yoga industry to raise money for women and children who have experienced child sex slavery in Asia.


Yoga & Sacred Activism

“Yoga is such a powerful tool for source energy,” Atira explains. “It helps me to connect with what’s true, to move beyond the notion that we are separate from each other. We can take time to tap into our practice and fill up and open up to be a vessel of love and light and that affects our actions and what we do in the world.”


Atira Tan uses yoga in her own life to keep her firmly on the path of service and sacred activism.  So, exactly how can we use yoga as a tool for social activism?


1. Don’t take time to worship, make your life worship.

 Yoga does not end in the studio. Yoga is a practice of union that is cultivated just as much on your mat as in the waiting line at the DMV. Be present in each moment. Dedicate your life to something more, whatever more is, and remember that it flows through you in everything you do, in every breath you take.

When we attach ourselves to something bigger than us, our actions become more in line with what we are incited to do, rather than what we think we should do.


2. Let go of your egoic notions of success, and surrender to the infinite

We are incredibly attached to our egos and outcomes; it’s a part of our culture to want to be successful.  The work is the only thing that matters and it is the only thing that exists. Activist burn-out does not come from the work itself; it comes from expectations.

The truth is that none of us know the outcome of anything. Let go, surrender. Act for the sake of action, act because you feel incited to do it. Let life take care of the rest. It’s going to do that whether you have a prediction or not.


3. Dedicate your life to being in Service

Dedicating one’s life to service is the quickest practice to kick us out of our egos. When we attach to something more and when we act for something more, we become something more.

When you dedicate your life to service, you must find something you feel purposeful about. You may care about the environment, but if that work doesn’t light you up, let it go. Find something that gives you meaning, that makes you feel alive when you connect to it. “When I work with women and children,” Atira says. “I know from the inside that I’m meant to be doing this work and I couldn’t be doing anything else. There’s an energy that is bigger than my mind. That is what sustains us in this work of activism.”

Sacred activism is not a “rescue” mission and it cannot be done through the mind. As activists, we cannot approach the work as the “rescuers” who have come to save the “victims.” This is not sustainable, and it is not true. Sacred activism is about coming together as one and learning from each other as human beings. It’s about discovering what we all have to offer one another.

The “call” to service is not always a pleasant one. It can be uncomfortable and frightening, even daunting. Our egos fear what will happen if we fail, or how we too may become hurt if we get involved. Yet, we all have the power to overcome our ego and attach ourselves to our life’s purpose.

After witnessing the horrors of the earthquake in Nepal, Atira Tan received an idea for a new endeavor during her meditation. It was an immense project to take on, and despite misgivings at the onset, she decided to set the idea into action.

Three years ago, Atira Tan held the first Yoga for Freedom movement in Australia, previously named International Yogathon for World Peace, alongside Off the Mat, into the World Australia and NZ. Her vision was to create a global yoga and social change movement that tapped into the 27 billion-dollar yoga industry and filtered that profit to the birthplace of yoga, a place that rarely saw the financial gains of the philosophy it shared with the world. The event invited yoga teachers to teach a Yogathon in 3 cities that donated its proceeds to the earthquake recovery effects through Art to Healing. The event was incredibly successful and raised over $16,000 in one day.

Now, Yoga for Freedom is a week long international yoga movement, will be held annually across 4 continents between 40 yoga ambassadors. All proceeds will go towards providing food, shelter, and safe accommodations to women and girls in need, as well as education and therapeutic programs to heal the trauma they’ve endured.

“The intention is to come back to the heart and dedicate our thoughts and practice in meditation back to the world,” Atira explains. “It’s to turn the focus from Instagram and Facebook and getting in perfect in shape – yoga is meant to be something that uplifts us all, that uplifts the planet. It’s a practice that can shine light within ourselves in the darkest place of shadow and we have to help others find it too. We have to use this practice to shine light on the darkest corners of humanity.”

To get involved with Art to Healing, visit arttohealing.org. To become involved with Yoga for Freedom, please visit www.yogaforfreedom.org.au