Asana is but the tip of the Yoga-Iceberg

Asana is but the tip of the Yoga-Iceberg

Asana is just the

Tip of the Yoga Iceberg

Yoga is sooooo much more than just the poses.

At its core, Yoga is a practical life philosophy of self-inquiry and observation.

When you hear the word “Yoga” you may think of a room-full of fancy-pants wearing stretchy types breathing loudly and chanting OoooooommmmmM…

The physical practice of Yoga is called asana – physical postures linked with breath and movement.

Asana is just one tiny little aspect  – the very tip of the Yoga-Iceberg.

Asana is the 3rd limb of an 8-limbed philosophical system known as Ashtanga Yoga.

The Ashtanga Yoga system is considered a map to freedom or a guide to optimal living.

This system was outlined in one of the key texts of the Yoga tradition, the Yoga Sutras, which was written around 400 CE by a sage and scholar known as Patañjali

who borrowed from a variety of traditions to shape 196 still-highly-relevant aphorisms for living in alignment, grace and flow.

Asana is an easily accessible gateway to the rest of Yoga.

It’s a great place for people to start their journey into the heart of Yoga’s practices and life philosophy.

People often start a Yoga practice to enhance their health, lose weight, tone up, cultivate some space for me-time, and relieve stress.

At first, You start with one class,

then it’s one class a week,

then 2 classes a week…

Before you know it “doing Yoga” becomes an integral part of your day-to-day life….


Because the benefits you experience from your asana practice, far surpass just the physical. 

We love Asana / Postural Yoga.

It can be a great workout and way of staying toned and in shape.

Asana is essential to life force control.

Asana is designed to build internal heat, called tapas.

On the physical level,

the purifying heat of tapas helps to

cleanse the internal organs and glands,

oxygenate blood and joints.

and work through and clear tensions, stress, and stuck energies in the body.

On the mental-emotional level,

When we clear and purify the physical body through our asana practice,

we begin to breathe with more depth and ease,

Which helps calm and clear the mind of disconnected thoughts which can lead to anxiety, tension, restlessness, stress, anger or depression.

From this more calm, cool and collected headspace,

we elevate our consciousness

helping us to see life from a wider perspective

to make decisions and plans more easily.

We feel more healthy, light, aligned, balanced and happy in both our inner and outer worlds.

It helps us to enhance our well-being and raise our vibrations.

I’ve personally NEVER regretted getting on my mat and doing a physical practice.

It feels sooooo good and I truly LOVE it.

What’s important to remember is that the benefits and practices of Yoga extend far beyond just the physical shapes we make with the body,

Asana is truly just the tip of the Yoga iceberg.

Ready to dive deeper into Yoga and its 5000+ year old philosophy and tradition?

Wanna learn more about the 8-limed system, and begin to uncover more of the Yoga Iceberg?

Please join us for in Paradise for our upcoming 200 Hour Yoga-Alliance Accredited – Yoga Teacher Training Certification Course

Deepen your Practice, Connect to your Purpose and Find your Voice.

Hurry…Only 3 weeks left to save $300 USD when you register for our upcoming YTT with our Early Bird Special!

Our next 28 day Yoga Teacher Training is Feb 16 – March 16, 2020, and we’ll be going into Yoga as a philosophical tool and map,  an inner technology to help us develop higher levels of awareness, presence, peace, love and joy in our everyday lives.

If you’re feeling a call to invest in Yourself, and are ready to say YES, then please apply now!

If you have a desire to really help people through Yoga, this training is for you

Thank you so much for being a part of this growing, evolving, loving Pure Flow Yoga community. 

It really means so much to me and the rest of us teachers and staff to have you here. 

Have any questions about our Yogi/Teacher Training?

Please e-mail me – – I’d love to hear from you!


Sending you lots of Light + Love

Francie Fishman

Founder of Pure Flow Yoga

P.S Payment plans are available to help make your life easier. You can pay your $500 deposit now, before October 31st, and you still benefit from this awesome deal!

P.P.S. Wanna connect with me one-on-one to see if a retreat or training is right for you? Click here to set up a FREE 15 minute discovery call with me on my calendar, and Ill be happy to chat with you on the phone!

P.P.P.S Wanna do some Asana practice with us Online? Check out our 90 min Pure Flow Yoga Class Podcast – recorded live at our jungle studio. 

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Love & Inspirations

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

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.


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Love & Inspirations

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

Tips for Living a more Sattvic life

Tips for Living a more Sattvic life

The Gunas

10 Tips for Living a more Sattvic Life

Living in Balance: The Gunas



Finding and maintaining Balance is key to Yoga.


There are many reasons people come to Yoga: Some people come to Yoga to build more strength, some people come for more flexibility and some for more balance clarity and calmness.  We are ever-fluctuating beings, and Yoga is a kind of adaptogen that has the capacity to really meet us where we are at in any given moment to give us what we need.

In Yoga philosophy, all matter arises from the fundamental substance of the universe, called Prakriti. From Prakriti come the three primary gunas (qualities) that create the essential aspects of all nature—energy, matter and consciousness.


These three gunas are tamas (darkness), rajas (activity), and sattva (beingness).


All three gunas are always present in all beings, fluctuating and varying in their relative amounts, and the balance of the three Guna’s is vital for our health and our happiness.

We want to be tamasically grounded to the earth so that we can rest and sleep and connect, rajasically passionate and fired-up about our work and what we do, and sattvically calm and at peace to realise our goal of freedom, of our true nature.

Humans have the unique opportunity to consciously alter the levels of the gunas in our bodies and minds, through our interaction with external objects, lifestyle and thought patterns.

Essentially, through our practice of Yoga, and finding more balance, we want to cultivate as much Sattva, as possible.

Our basic nature is Sattva  – clear, calm, creative, positive, creative force,  with just enough Rajas – dynamic force and Tamas – negative force,  to make things happen.


Sattva – Light & Purity, Equilibrium, knowledge, (associated with creation)

is a state of balance and harmony, peace, tranquility, sattva is the naturally arising state originating from being true to your inner teacher, guru, god. By purifying body, senses, and mind, the yogi can experience natural self.


Rajas – Activity, Passion, Action (associated with preservation)

When we identify ourselves with actions, with the roles we play in life, with praise received from others, we are in a rajasic state when the mind is identified with the concepts of karma, that which we sow and what which we reap.


Tamas – Darkness, Inertia, Lethargy, Ignorance (associated with destruction)

Darkness, ignorance, lazy nature of the mind or body, a force that tells us to take a break and relax when we are near to completing a project whose deadline is approaching – as a result we do not finish the race.



10 Tips for living a more Sattvic Lifestyle:

To experience being established in health and in oneself, we need to follow a sattvic lifestyle with a deep connection to our lifestyle, diet, physical & mental exercise.


1. Eat foods that are organic, fresh, in season, vegetarian, locally produced

According to Yogic philosophy, the mind is formed of the essence of food. If food eaten is pure then it brings inner peace to the body in and encourages spiritual progress.


2. Live in harmony with the rhythms of the day and seasons.

Regulate your daily events, eating at similar times each day and sleeping at regular times to ensure that you have enough sleep 6 – 8 hours usually. “There is no possibility of one to become a yogi… if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough” – Bhagavad Gita


3. Meditate/ pray as first and last events of the day

Even spending  just a few moments to center yourself each day can have a profound effect on your overall state. 

Click here to try some of our free guided meditations here.


4. Sleep early, Wake and Rise before the sun to 

Capture the high vibrational prana, or life-force energy, that is present just before and after the sun rises, also known as the brahma muhurta. Delight in the glorious display of colours and vibrations that are present at this magical sunrise time of day, when the veils between dark and light are said to be at their most thin.


5. Develop Sattvic states of mind.

Peace, calm, positivity, presence, clarity, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, honesty, humility, flexibility, moderation, balance, gratitude, inner silence – these are the sattvic states to cultivate through our practice.   Yoga, meditation, journalling, being in nature – these are some examples of activities that can help cultivate these states. 

Click here to Join us for a Yoga retreat in magical paradise to get you started on your journey!


6. Engage in conscientious hard work that contributes good and service in the world.

Engaging in work that is in alignment with your heart and with the good of others and the planet helps to in turn nourish you with more of the aforementioned sattvic states.  If you engage in work or daily habits or behaviours that leave you feeling anxious, dread, doom or gloom in anyway, this is an indication that change may be necessary.  If you need help getting clarity, taking a step away from your everyday life, and joining a Yoga retreat in paradise, can help offer you some much needed support, instruction and perspective. 


7. Always tell the truth and avoid hurting anyone’s heart


“The truth will set you free” – famous quote from the bible that gives such excellent life instruction.  There is clarity, and lightness in speaking truth and in speaking love.  Gossiping, neglecting to be honest or leaving out truths, and telling non-truths even in the spirit of avoiding hurting someone’s heart, always has the tendency to rear it’s ugly head at some point, and often does more harm to the communicator than anyone else. 


8. Study spiritual text and educational, inspirational and uplifting words


Malcom Gladwell in his book “Outlier’s” has famously shared his theory that to become expert in anything we need to spend 10,000 hours in dedicated practice or study.  Similarly, if you want to live with Sattva as your baseline state of being, it is important that you input as much of all of the above points in to your life as often as possible.  Books, podcasts, videos from great masters are all great ways to immerse your self in in positivity, clarity and insight. 

Click here to check out our awesome book recommendations for you here. 


9. Listen deeply when spoken to and offer compassionate words


Presence is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves and others.  When you are with someone, offer them your full presence. 


10.  Live mindfully and in the present moment

Be awake to the emotions, feelings and mental and physical states that are present to you this NOW.  Each moment can be our teacher if we allow it to be.  There is so much information in each moment that can help us know ourselves more, and cultivate more calm, presence and sattva.



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and If you’re ready to bring more sattva into your life….

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Contemplation Questions for Clarity, Self-Love & Self-Study

Contemplation Questions for Clarity, Self-Love & Self-Study

Contemplations & Journal Question

for Self-Study, Clarity & Self-love

Questions for Clarity,  INsight & Self-Love

Everyday’s a school day! Everything that arises can be seen as a lesson to be learned if you are willing to see it that way.  This is the attitude of the curious seeker, a Yogi. 


Ready for some homework? 


I invite you to join me in some self-study, to spend some time with these questions over the next few days,  or lifetimes, journaling or simply contemplating, and see how they can help you on your journey to emotional mastery, self-love, peace and clarity.


  • What is happening right now?
  • Can I be with it?
  • If I can’t be with it, can I be okay with that for now?


  • What would life look like if it were easy?


  • When faced with a decision – is it Love or is it Fear choosing?
  • What would a person who loves themselves do?


  • What wants to be birthed through me?
  • How am I avoiding it?
  • How am I keeping myself small?


  • Who am I?
  • What do I love?
  • Knowing I will die, how should I live?
  • What is my greatest mission?
  • What are my gifts to humanity?


  • What do I need to do right now to really walk the talk?
  • How can I open my mind?  my heart? What am I resisting?


Blessings on your journey.



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Is this retreat right for me?

Is this retreat right for me?

Is this Retreat Right for Me?

Take this short Quiz and find out

People join us on retreat for many reasons.  While people are coming from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, professions, age and income brackets, there are some truly beautiful and deep human commonalities that bring us all all together here.

Perhaps you have some time off coming up and you are looking for a way to find more joy and freedom, travel with purpose and deepen your practice.  With so many options out there, we want to help support you in choosing a Yoga Retreat as your next holiday.  Retreats are an amazing way to connect to stillness, calm, clarity, self-awareness, healing, freedom, simplicity, joy and transformation.  They are the best way to truly immerse oneself in Yogic Philosophy and Lifestyle, while cultivating community, discipline and depth.  No need to take our word for it – Check it out for yourself! Consider the following questions to find out if you might be ready for a retreat:

Why would you Join us on Retreat?

Have you had any of these thoughts or feelings lately?


1. I need a break. I feel burnt out.

I need a break from the busyness and hustle of my everyday life.   I need more time in nature and new surroundings to get perspective, clarity and space. I feel tired, BUSY, and drained – like I’m running on empty all the time.

I feel there is more to life that this 9-5 reality I’m living.  l want off of this hamster-wheel.  I want a break from the daily grind. I feel like  complaining too much. Everyone and everything really seem to frustrate me at times for no good reason.



2. I want to be more emotionally and spiritually balanced

Sometimes I feel like my emotions are just taking me over.  i want to understand how I can understand and manage them more efficiently.



3. I don’t know what’s next…I’m in a big life transition.

I’m at a crossroads.  I’m ending or changing my job / career, my relationship is transitioning, my kids are all grown up now, my marriage of 30 years is ending, I am retiring…. and I don’t know what to do next . I feel indecisive at times. Totally unable to get clear. I feel paralysed by choice and am constantly looking to outside sources: friends, blogs, therapists etc. for answers. I need help finding clarity


4. I want a digital detox.  

I need to unplug and take break from social media and constantly being on the computer



5. I want to reconnect with myself

I want to reconnect with myself, with others, with my purpose, with nature.  I want to remember who I really am.  I have a deep desire to reconnect with the real me again, beyond the busyness, beyond all the roles I play in life as an entrepreneur, layer, doctor, teacher, student, parent etc.


6. I want to invest in myself

I want to learn, grow, evolve, change.  I want to open to new experiences and new ways of being so I can be more happy, peaceful and free.

but I can’t afford (the time off work, the money…)


7. I want to deepen my practice.  

I want to get into my body more, and also in the the deeper aspects of life.  I want to take a break from sufercial coversations and instead have more meaningful and purposeful conversation about the bigger picture and the deeper aspects of life.


8. I want to connect with others. I’m craving community

I feel alone sometimes.  I really want to feel like I’m a part of something bigger, a community perhaps.  I just want to feel safe, warm and heard. I am craving community. I want to feel a sense of belonging and connection to the people and world around you.


9. I’ve not quite ready to teach…but I want to

I just finished my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to teach…. I need to dive more deeply in the practices and philosophy, and get more experience and mentoring.


10. I need to get back in to my body.

I want to feel more energised and healthy in your body and mind. I want to make better food choices, and I want to stop feeling stuck or heavy in certain places in my body.

Now Close your eyes a moment.  Tune into how you feel.  Really Listen.

The Results are In:

Our Yogi Experts believe that a retreat could be PERFECT for YOU right now, (especially if any these thoughts are repeating like a broken record in your mind at times…)

We could all seriously benefit from, and enjoy taking a step back from our day-to-day realities to get some space, perspective, and clarity and to create “me”- time for self care and self love.

What are some other reasons you have for practicing Yoga and wanting to go on a Retreat?  Click here to let us know. We’d love to hear from you! 

 We invite you to join us at Pure Flow Yoga’s Retreats in Paradise

… the perfect sanctuary for your soul in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Click here to watch some past Student sharing their Life-Changing experiences.


Francie is a passionate and free-spirited Yogi, hula hooper, musician and lover of all things Magic. She has over a hundred retreats over the past 5 years, and is the inspired founder of Pure Flow Yoga in Koh Phangan, Thailand where she spends half of the year offerings daily Yoga classes, workshops and ongoing transformational Yoga Retreats in Paradise. She is also the founder of Hoop Love Tribe, an international co-creative collective of flow artists offering weekly community by-donation hoop jams for Spark! Circus, as well as the bi-annual “Hoopapalooza Flow Fest”, a 3-day beachside Hula Hoop and flow arts immersion experience. Check out some of Francie’s Music on Soundcloud, and like her Facebook page: Francie Fishman :Yoga Hoop Music Love  to stay tuned in about Francie’s personal travel & teaching calendar, music, playlists, blog posts and more.  Want to invite Francie to teach near you? Contact here


Founder, Pure Flow Yoga

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats Are a Healing Must!

by Chantal Di Donato

Ever reached that point when everything around you is falling apart and you need a serious break?

Most of us, especially in busy cities with equally busy lives, feel that way! I hit the wall a few times a year, when I know I need to unplug completely – from my surroundings, my phone and even people around me. When we get to that point, most of us would normally say that we need a “vacation.” But is a vacation enough?

I love traveling, it is a true passion, but since I became a yoga teacher, I woke up to a great reality: vacations are not always enough! Of course, it is great fun to get away, visit terrific places around the globe, maybe even chasing the sun, but oftentimes, we select places that have so much to see and do, that by the end of the vacation, we are exhausted and need another break to recuperate from the holiday we just had!

Yoga, meditation and other holistic healing retreats are the answer when a holiday is just not enough. There is something about retreats that is very special and can really create a platform for transformation! How, you ask? Here 10 reasons why your next holiday should be a retreat:



1. It is all about ME time


Holidays surely mean fun, discoveries and adventures, but if you are in need to care for your wellbeing, a retreat is the only place you can get the “ME” time you deserve. The idea of a retreat is to create a safe space where you can nurture your body and soul. The atmosphere is relaxed, everything is taken care of and you really have to do nothing but enjoy the activities, surroundings, food and company (or alone time if you need that).


2. An opportunity to feel present

Retreats are designed to offer a comprehensive escape embedding fun with relaxation. Because the activities, classes, therapies and meals are made for you, you can enjoy being present without needing to plan anything! At most, when you have free time from classes, you can decide if you wish to visit the surroundings, cities nearby or nature, all at your own pace, without any schedule or watch to adhere to.


3. Allowing a break for the digestive system


Most retreats will offer comprehensive meals in the package and generally the idea is to have food that can boost your body’s ability to work at its best and even kick-start a little detoxification plan! You can certainly look for specific dietary requirements (like a juicing retreat) but retreats often include food that is healing and can support good digestion and even the restoration of a healthy gut!


4. Daily routines to calm the mind

Routine in the standard sense can be quite tiring! We see getting up, going to work and going back home as routine too, but it doesn’t make us feel very well. On retreats, the routines created are for health! Routines (like yoga classes in the morning and meditation classes in the evening) can allow the body to feel in tune with the rhythm of the retreat and discover how to calm down knowing that those healing activities can impact your brain and body positively.



5. Meeting like-minded people

On holiday, we may meet a lot of people, but oftentimes the context does not allow for deep connections. We may meet someone on the beach or at a restaurant or bar, but when we spend enough time with someone like we do on retreats, we can really enjoy discovering who they are and connecting deeply. Research shows that it takes a person an average of seven hours to start trusting another. On retreats, you will spend a lot of time with people who, like you, are there to find a way to relax, to discover their inner voice. Therefore, you can share something deeper than a drink with them, and many people return home friends from retreats!



6. Time slows down

A fascinating thing I noticed on all my retreats was how time seemed to slow down. It is quite daunting that we spend our days rushing from one place or task to another and time flies! Retreats allow time to slow down because we are no longer chasing tasks; we are living in the present! That sort of connection allows us not to worry about our watches, but rather feel that we are enjoying what we are doing right “NOW.” It is a pretty powerful state of mind and it affects how we perceive time in every possible way!



7. Personal growth


I have a little anecdote about a group of girls who came to my retreat to Morocco last year. When I went to pick them up at the airport, at their arrival, they seemed distressed and tired, were happy to be there but had a very chaotic energy about them! A week later, when they left from the same airport, their aura was completely transformed. I always wish I had filmed their arrival and departure to show the difference! It looked like they had blossomed and found inner peace!

Being on the retreat, eating live foods and connecting with people around them allowed a lot of fears, frustration and discomfort to leave and allowed space for growth. The retreat had some tears, moments of distress when dealing with personal issues and emotions, but the result was all worth it! This is probably the biggest difference between a vacation and a retreat and why retreats are so powerful! You go there knowing that you want to feel better and, consciously or not, are ready to deal with personal demons and open up the door that will take you to the next level.



8. Human Touch


This one’s another personal favourite when it comes to retreats. I love the idea that someone is there 24/7 to take care of me, to nurture me, and just pamper me and assist all my needs! From yoga classes to massages or coaching sessions, retreats offer so many opportunities to feel seen and heard! Most of us need that, in a world where we seem to be part of a rushing herd and we are dying to stand out! I love feeling unique and retreats are designed to accommodate accordingly!



9. Accommodates all budgets!  

Just like holidays, retreats also accommodate according to our budget. You can select a standard, daily yoga and accommodation retreat up to five stars experiences. You can read feedback from people and see what their experience was and normally the feedbacks are very comprehensive, giving a good idea of how the entire retreat is, from classes to hosts to food.

It is nice to know what to expect and it is nice to know you can tailor your experience so that even if your budget is not big, you can still allow your retreat to give you an amazing time. I personally prefer to save for slightly more comprehensive retreats so that everything I need is taken care of, but I love that there are choices for everyone!


10. You realise retreats are holidays

The beauty of retreats is that they turn out to be the vacation you needed, to begin with! Although some people think all retreats are about drinking clay, keeping quiet and meditate for days, the options available allow so much choice and the opportunity to create the experience you want with so much more! Time to think, staying quiet, enjoying the surroundings and people, as well as the freedom to visit a new place, country and exploring the culture, all come with the knowledge that everything has been taken care of and you can just relax! This is what I call a vacation!



Whether you are a seasoned “retreater” or a newbie, I can ensure that you will not only love the experience but become addicted to it! Retreats have transformed the way I see holidays and although I still enjoy traveling all over, I find that the opportunity to stay in a beautiful place being looked after allows me to heal within and out, feel better about myself and gives me time to make better decisions in life too. A moment to STOP and RESET;  that is truly life changing!

Looking for your next Yoga + Travel + Retreat experience?

Check out Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in Koh Phangan Thailand. Their retreats are awesome: super-affordable, intimate groups, and community-oriented.  The location is beyond beautiful too! The perfect place to find “Me” Time:

Chantal is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, yoga teacher, author, nutrition and diet advisor with NLP, and founder of Live Lean Health and Live Lean TV. She believes medicine is on our plates and she implements both nutrition and lifestyle in her coaching practice. She works with people who seek positive change, physically, spiritually and emotionally, and other clients who want to regain their health and feel their best ever! Chantal is also a contributor at

Chantal Di Donato

Founder, Live Lean Health

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!

New to Yoga?  – Tips to Ready you for the Journey Within

New to Yoga? – Tips to Ready you for the Journey Within

New to Yoga? 

Top 10 Tips to Ready you

for the Journey Within


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” –  Lao Tzu

Congrats on taking this great step to bring about more balance, strength and flexibility to your body & mind.

It can be daunting to try anything new and it can be intimidating going to a yoga class for the first time.

Here are some great tips to support you on your first steps and remember:



1)  Listen to your body and Be Compassionate towards the Self



There’s not much you need to know before going to class other than respect your body’s limits. If you experience sensation, awesome, if you experience pain, back out of the poses.

a) Childs pose is your new best friend. Hang out there anytime you feel you need to connect with the breath or with simply being. This practice is for you. Find your edge; work with it, and practicing accepting where you are every moment. I have a teacher who includes Childs pose as one of the Warrior poses, because it takes, strength and courage to really acknowledge when you are at your age and …Yoga is not about competition, go at your own pace

b) Eating and Drinking. Drink water before and after your class. During the class part of what we are doing is building transformational purifying heat in the body, so generally e tend to avoid drinking during the class. Eat after class. When we eat our energy flows downward for digestion. The practices of yoga are actually trying to build an upward moving energy to bring clarity and peace to the mind.

c) Be comfortable and clean – Wear clothes that are comfortable, loose, that you feel comfortable sticking your legs up in the air in. It is best to bathe and wear clean clothes for Yoga and meditation as this helps keeps the body fresh, pure and full of positivity.



2) Yoga is for everybody. EVERY BODY.



Just show up. Be Open to leaning. Be Expectation – free. Wherever you go, there you are, so start there. In order to be “good” at yoga, all you need is to do it. As in any new venture in life, we start from where we are. Being “good” at yoga has nothing really to do with being able to touch your toes or balance on your pinky finger with one leg touching the sky above your head. “Being Good at Yoga” means that you remain centered and calm when the $%#(@ hits the fan.

Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right – Henry Ford




3) Yoga is more than just the physical shapes we make with our bodies.



MUCH MORE. It’s a 2500 year old practical and philosophical lifestyle system that encompasses deep body awareness, consciousness awareness, lifestyle choices, personal development, compassion, patience, love, trust and.

The benefits of the physical practice totally rock. You will feel more energized, more balanced, stronger in your core, your legs your arms, your mind. But to really and truly reap the 1000 fold benefits of yoga you have to be prepared to go deep into your resistances and explore the depths of your heart and mind.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt.  




4) Stick with it! The Arts of Resistance / Patience / Perseverance



Yoga is simple but not necessarily easy. One of my favourite meditation teachers, Pema Chodron, reminds, invites, and challenges us, like a puppy dog in training, to STAY. After your first few classes in a while, the body may be screaming at you to stop. The challenge is to keep going. Be persistent. Life with its entire myriad of distractions, the mind with all of its to-dos, all of its desires to be more productive, more efficient, more…. is urging you to stop. Slowing down, leaning who you are in the face of resistance, is the name of the game here on the yoga mat. Patience will help you so much to grow and evolve beautifully

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Mark Twain




5) Explore & Go Deep



Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover – Mark Twain

Try different classes – There are bazillion yoga teachers, styles and classes out there. Find inspiration wherever it’s on offer. Find a teacher whose style, personality and philosophy resonate with you, then stick with them for a while and go deep.

Read. We are multi-dimensional multi-intelligence beings. Some of us learn more by doing, hearing, reading, writing, or creating or a combination of all. We can all benefit from getting the information in as many ways as possible. There are endless amazing books on yoga, mindfulness, meditation, presence, love, trust, surrender, open-ness. Here is an ever-expanding list of some of my favorite books to get you inspired…



6) Be Curious. Ask Questions.



Be proactive. Get clarity on what is inspiring, challenging or confusing you. In our yoga classes here in Thailand, we award each student 10,000 points per question they ask. Why? Its fun, and more importantly, your questions bring relevance, depth of understanding, and insight to others, while also building community and curiosity.

I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.― Anaïs Nin




7) Yoga is about direct experience – You are a Living Laboratory. Experiment.



You are a living laboratory to explore the practices of Yoga, the lifestyle guides, the thought forms.

Try on what your teachers are sharing with you. See if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, cool. You’ve learned and grown and can let it go.

If you have a lot of resistance to trying it on…go back to number 2 and explore where the resistance is coming from and why.




8) Side effects of Yoga May include….



At first it seems harmless. You are going to a class or two or 3 a week. Next thing you know you have more energy, you are thinking about all the things you are grateful for, you are watching TV less. You are feeding your body more organic vegetarian yummy goodness. You are singing chants. You are relating more openly, more clearly and consciously, or at least you want it. Relationships are affected. You start to notice what you are feeding your body and your mind…




9)  Attitude is everything – The Shift



The lessons we need to learn in life, while incredibly profound, are often quite blatantly simple. I always remind myself that this moment is exactly as it is, and it is our relationship to the moment that determines our experience of it as happy, sad, boring, exciting… We are the directors of this play. Two people caught in the rain can have very different experiences. One can be miserable and cold, cross their arms across the chess and mutter about the blahness of it all, and the other can be jumping in puddles with glee. Thoughts simple exists, it is truly our relationship to them that gives them power.




10)  Enjoy, have fun, and Celebrate all wins



Every time you succeed in making it to the mat. Celebrate. You did shoulder stand for the first time. Celebrate! You meditated for 5 minutes? Celebrate! You missed a day of practice? Cool. Moving on. You made it the next day? Celebrate! Set yourself up for success.

Even in just thinking about doing yoga, or cultivating a more mindful lifestyle, you are winning and so is everyone around you. Winning!!!!

Welcome to the amazing journey of Self-Discovery that is Yoga! Enjoy your time on the mat. Find the willingness to let go of perfection, the ego, and the thinking mind and try to drop into the spacious awareness within.



May your journey with Yoga

be filled with peace, grace, ease,  flow & support.


Francie is a passionate and free-spirited Yogi, hula hooper, musician and lover of all things Magic. She is the inspired founder of Pure Flow Yoga in Koh Phangan, Thailand where she spends half of the year offerings daily Yoga classes, workshops and ongoing transformational Yoga Retreats in Paradise. She is also the founder of Hoop Love Tribe, an international co-creative collective of flow artists offering weekly community by-donation hoop jams for Spark! Circus, as well as the bi-annual “Hoopapalooza Flow Fest”, a 3-day beachside Hula Hoop and flow arts immersion experience.  To follow Francie’s personal calendar, to receive her playlists, blog posts and music, like her Facebook page: Francie Fishman :Yoga Hoop Music Love


Founder, Pure Flow Yoga