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Feb-Mar 2017


NZ. $10.20 Inc GST


AUS. $8.50 Inc GST

T he


Bianca Cheah Her secrets to a healthy, fulfilling life

living the







VOLUME 17 No. 1





A picture of wellness Bianca Cheah on health, happiness and being present


The wellness leaders Tips from four dynamic wellness enthusiasts


Holistic wellbeing Improve your physical, mental and spiritual health


The yoga revolution Why asanas have gone global


Inspired life With Ashley Galvin

56 22






Real talk Jessica Sepel on wholefoods and healing the body


Wholefood spotlight Sip your way to health


Keep calm and make nice cream Raw, vegan homemade ice-cream to cool down this summer


Day on a plate The low-down on Lyndi Cohen’s daily eats







Beauty lust-haves Our fave natural beauty products


Synchronise your natural rhythms Understand your chronobiology and journey into wellness


Island escape Uncovering Lord Howe, Australia’s hidden paradise


My wellness Cultivate health in mind, body and soul


Traditional Chinese medicine What the wellness movement has learnt from TCM


Wellness hub Talking responsible business with Stephanie Woollard

104 We love Hot products from our sponsors 106 Living well Living the yogi life with John Ogilvie from Byron Yoga Centre



Bianca Cheah’s tips on health, wellness and nutrition


Learn more about your chronobiology


Keep up-to-date with Ashley Galvin’s yoga teachings When you see this In-Site logo in the magazine, select the Australian Natural Health magazine channel in the app from the channel list, hold your phone over the page and watch content come to life!




In this issue... I can’t quite pinpoint the moment that I felt a change in the air and recognised the increasing interest in health and wellness. If I cast my mind back to where I’ve been recently, a few scenarios come to mind: the yoga class I attended that was brimming with both new and experienced yogis, who, at the end of the practice, let out a long, rhythmic om; the mindfulness course where people of all ages and ethnicities congregated to learn how they can live more meaningful, present lives; or perhaps it was at one of the organic cafés in Byron Bay, where medicinal elixirs and coldpressed juices are no longer a specialty on the menu, but a welcome regular. It seems that everywhere I turn, wellness retreats, plant-based eats and yoga studios are popping up, as an increasing number of people are awakening to live a life of presence, health and wellness. This issue, we’re celebrating the wellness movement with a round-up of the trailblazers who are paving the way for wellbeing, plus we look into some Eastern practices that are gaining traction in the West. Our beautiful cover girl Bianca Cheah shares her tips on healthy living and discusses how practising yoga has shaped her self-perceptions (page 22), plus we chat with inspiring women such as Melissa Ambrosini, Kate Kendall, Ashley Galvin and Jessica Sepel about their individual journeys toward health and wellbeing. Perhaps one of the most beneficial outcomes of the wellness movement is that the West has well and truly embraced the Eastern spiritual teachings and practices that have been prevalent for thousands of years. Meditation, for example, is now recognised by Western medicine for its many healing benefits, as the many modalities of this practice have gone global (page 56). It’s estimated that around two million Australians are rolling out their yoga mats and practising asanas and pranayama as part of their ongoing commitment to health (page 50), while paying close attention to their wellbeing from a holistic point of view (page 42). To further draw upon the rich legacy that the East has left us, I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Mahatma Gandhi: ‘It is health that is our real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver’. In love and health,

Editor, Australian Natural Health


6 | Australian Natural Health





Jessica Sepel Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, international health blogger, travel expert and bestselling author of The Healthy Life. She is also the beloved voice behind ‘JSHealth’, passionately advocating how to achieve a balanced lifestyle through wholefoods. Her philosophy is focused around building a healthy relationship with food, placing emphasis on balance, rest and indulgence in moderation.



Nat Kringoudis Nat Kringoudis is a doctor in Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, author, speaker and all-round natural fertility expert. She’s also the founder of Melbourne women’s health clinic The Pagoda Tree, and producer of HealthTalks TV. Her mission is to educate and empower women to take control of their hormone health.

IKON are Australia’s leading, specialist provider of therapeutic and human services training. At IKON you’ll gain more than a nationally recognised qualification, you’ll gain a rewarding career where you make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others.

Nadia Felsch Nadia Felsch is the creator of the Wholefood Society and the Path to Wholefoods program, a recipe developer, writer, and nutritionist-in-themaking whose relatable approach to real food is about nourishment, enjoyment and, ultimately, eating freedom.

Apply now to commence in February Emma Palmer Emma Palmer is the founding principal and director of education at the Moksha Academy of Yoga, located in Bentleigh, Victoria. She’s registered as an E-RYT-500, RYT-500 and RPYT with Yoga Alliance and is a level 3 senior yoga teacher with Yoga Australia. She’s also an accomplished freelance writer and public speaker.

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Executive Editor Alina Morelli Editor Danae Dimitropoulou Editorial Assistant Molly Morelli Managing Editor Ben Stone Contributing Writers Nadia Felsch, Chantelle Francis, Liz Gray, Elena Iacovou, Natalie Kringoudis, Tatyana Leonov, Lisa O’Neill, Emma Palmer, Jessica Sepel, Beth Wallace, Louise Wedgwood


Sometimes things happen in life that we could never have anticipated, prepared for or expected. ‘Healing Your Life’ is a 5 day residential retreat at the Quest for Life Centre in the Southern Highlands NSW, designed to meet the needs of people seeking peace and healing after a traumatic experience or who live with depression, anger, grief, despair or some other challenging emotion. Our nationally acclaimed retreats change peoples lives in practical and positive ways and people generally leave confident in their ability to meet the significant challenges they face. Early bird pricing from . t+BOVBSZ t'FCSVBSZ t.BSDI t"QSJM

Art Director Javie D’Souza Graphic Designers James Steer, Diep Nguyen, Jonathan Rudolph

DIGITAL & ONLINE Head of Digital Strategy Karl Nemsow Senior Web Developer David Ding Web Developer - Project Lead Davide Pani App Manager/Marketing Karl Nemsow Online Content Producer Christine Assirvaden

PHOTOGRAPHY Cover Bianca Cheah Photographer Ja Tecson ADVERTISING SALES National Advertising Manager Natalie Grosso

Chief Executive Officer Silvio Morelli General Manager Mark Unwin Chief Financial Officer Stefanie Minuti ADMINISTRATION & CUSTOMER SERVICE Finance Min You Subscriptions Manager & Customer Service Angelina Modica Account Manager Robyn Newman Phone: (03) 9574 8999 Fax: (03) 9574 8899 PO Box 4075, Mulgrave, 3170 Articles published in this issue of Australian Natural Health Magazine are Copyrighted Š 2016 and are published by Blitz Publications and Multi-media Group Pty Ltd under license from Bushi Pty Ltd. PRINTING GRAPHIC IMPRESSIONS AUSTRALIA PTY. LTD. Ph: (03) 9574 9211

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The philosophy of buying less but buying better is becoming increasingly popular among young consumers. This new wave of minimalism is inspired by Marie Kondo’s international bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which advocates eliminating unnecessary material possessions and living a clutter-free life. So what’s the ultimate goal of living this way? Kondo says you’ll be surrounded only by the things you love and need, allowing you more space, clarity and peace in your home.

A TIME FOR REST AND RELAXATION How does starting your day with sunrise yoga, soaking in a relaxing bath and eating organic, wholefood dishes sound to you? If you’re after a little rest, relaxation and replenishment, head to the Peninsula Hot Springs to experience the newly launched Wellness Calendar. Treat yourself to 20 globally inspired bathing experiences in the Bath House, escape to the thermal mineral pools, unwind in the Turkish hamam or pamper yourself in the Spa Dreaming centre. To read more or to make a booking, visit


Holistic wellness studios

The latest trend to hit the wellness scene is holistic wellness centres, which incorporate yoga, meditation, Chinese medicine, massage and spa treatments with an organic juice bar and a café. The first of its kind is the Wanderlust Hollywood studio in LA, with similar studio concepts popping up in major health hubs all over the globe. These multi-sensory experiences are designed to stimulate the entire body to experience ultimate calm and relaxation.


Sober is THE NEW BLACK On the back of the wellness movement, a new generation of health-conscious people are switching their cocktails for mocktails. The alcohol-free movement is already prevalent in cities such as LA and New York, where cocktail menus are brimming with exotic, fruity concoctions sans liquor. It seems that mindful, conscious interactions are back, and to that, we say cheers.


Microgreens are sprouting up everywhere from gourmet sandwiches to superfood salads – and for good reason. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, consuming red cabbage microgreens lowers the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and can even aid weight loss. So when you’re making your next salad, don’t forget to add a generous sprinkle of this heart-healthy green.

Yoga for wellness


It’s official: yoga is the fastest-growing form of exercise, with an estimated one in every 10 people taking yoga classes regularly. Of these yogis, many move on to deepen their practice through a yoga retreat or teacher training. Byron Yoga Centre has reported that while many students start taking yoga classes for the physical benefits, they commit to the practice when they notice the myriad of positive aspects: the balancing of fluctuating emotions; a shift in perspective from glass half-empty to glass half-full (or glass overflowing!); a sense of mental calm and clarity; and perhaps even a growing sense of spiritual connection. The style of yoga taught on the retreats and teaching trainings at Byron Yoga Centre integrate physical postures with philosophy, meditation, pranayama breath control and promote a holistic shift in body, mind and spirit. For more An increasing number of cafés and restaurants are information or to book a retreat, visit embracing a wholefood, plant-based menu that’s



rich in grains, vegies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and lower in animal-based products such as red meat. In collaboration with Aussie celebrity nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin, Jamaica Blue has launched a new menu that’s hit cafés nationwide. The star dishes include the nutrient-dense Enrichment Bowl and the Seed and Nut Bar. For more information visit

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Flying High


While travelling is good for the soul, hours on a plane can take a toll on your skin. The problem is the air, which is contained, re-circulated and repeatedly filtered – leaving it extremely dry with just 10 to 20 per cent humidity (compared to 60 to 80 per cent on the ground in Australia). To give your complexion a chance, drink plenty of water throughout the flight and avoid drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee, cola and alcohol – all of which are dehydrating. Remove your make-up as soon as you’ve fastened your seat belt (if not before) and apply moisturiser every couple of hours. Finally, pep up your complexion with a regular spritz of water or hydrating toner, such as La Mav Rose Hydrating Mist, $27.95,


All that GLITTERS This summer, iridescent, glittering textures are a make-up bag must. Just one pot of shimmer shadow, such as Inika Vegan Mineral Eye Shadow in Gold Dust, $29, will have you bang on twinkle trend, offering four different looks. For a pretty, subtle effect, use an eyeliner brush to apply a fine line of shimmer powder under the lower lash line. Alternatively, take the shadow over the entire eyelid and dab a little on the inner corners for a brightening effect. And for a luminous complexion, take a tip from top make-up artist Nigel Stanislaus and apply a light dusting to cheeks – simply tilt your head back and scatter a small amount over your face from above. Summer is set to sparkle!

COCO-KNOTS Not only has Spanish brand Dessata brought us the legendary detangler brush – hello, supersoft shiny hair, goodbye breakages and flyaways (thanks to the anti-static silicon bristles that bend and flex) – their latest offering promises to infuse our hair with the intoxicating and oh-so-summery scent of tropical coconut. Comprising of four brightly coloured fluorescent designs, the summer collection houses 237 innovative and break-resistant triple-length bristles laced with coconut fragrance. $29.95,

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Master your inner talk Did you know that constantly telling yourself you can’t do something, don’t deserve something or won’t succeed can be a self-fulfilling prophecy? We all have regular inner selftalk, but if we lack awareness of our thoughts we can fall into habitual patterns of judging others and ourselves. When you become conscious of your thoughts, you’re able to respond to circumstances and situations from a place of calm awareness instead of reactivity. For more tips on better communication with yourself and others head to


your vibration “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” – Buddha



Are you looking to improve your focus, increase mental clarity and have more sustained energy throughout the day? With Ascend Cleanse’s Awaken Tea, you can do just that, as it does what the name suggests: awakens you physically, mentally and spiritually. Made with the dried tea leaves of the guayusa tree, native to Ecuador and the Amazon rainforest, this tea contains twice as many antioxidants as green tea and is rich in polyphenols, vitamins and amino acids. With a deliciously smooth, earthy flavour, it’s the perfect replacement for your morning coffee and a natural afternoon pick-me-up. Ascend Cleanse teas are designed to help you restore balance and maintain an enriched, enlightened and energetic lifestyle. $20,

Did you know that herbal essential oils help to ease the mind, relax the body and their energising properties can lift your mood? Simply add three to five drops to an essential oil diffuser filled with water, or better yet, use an essential oil roll-on such as the Uplift by Level Blends, $29,



Oxytocin – otherwise referred to as the ‘love hormone’ – is known for promoting connectedness and social bonding but it’s recently been found to support spirituality. Oxytocin occurs naturally in the body; it’s produced by the hypothalamus and is then transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, located in the base of the brain. In a new study conducted by Duke University, researchers found that participants who took oxytocin experienced more positive emotions during meditation, such as gratitude, love and serenity, and were more inclined to view themselves as interconnected to other people and all living things.


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Dharma Bums Electric Boho High Waist Printed Leggings

This non-slip rubber yoga mat is inspired by exotic Indian hues and patterns to energise and inspire your practice. $129.99,

These high-performance leggings are made from a four-way stretch fabric that moves with your body while the high-waisted band hugs your hips to help you feel supported. $85,

Salt Store Hydrating Facial Cream Enriched with lime, willow bark and aloe vera, this bioactive cream is rich in vitamin C and is designed to transform skin texture, leaving you refreshed and glowing. $45,

Yogi Peace Club Mixed Tropical Incense Enriched with frangipani, lemongrass and rose, this incense is refreshingly light and tropical. $9.99,

TĂ„NDA Modern Yin Candle With scents of patchouli, sandalwood, cinnamon and amber, this candle is warm, inviting and invigorating. $49.95,

Dharma Bums Ellis Crop Bra This high-performance crop bra has natural wicking properties to reduce sweat, allowing you to move from one posture to the next in ultimate comfort. $55,

The Seeke Rose & Calendula Botanical Beauty Oil Akasha Yoga Chichi Strap This one-of-a-kind strap is handcrafted and made from authentic Mayan weavings. It helps you transport your mat and aids you to achieve correct yoga postures. $89,


This beautiful elixir is infused with olive oil, rose geranium and lavender, which help to nourish the skin and hair. $59.95,


My Gluten-Free Pantry Helga’s Wholemeal Gluten Free Bread

Forest Super Foods Maca Powder

Forget spongy white glutenfree loaves at the supermarket, Helga’s has introduced a new, wholesome-tasting wholemeal loaf to their gluten-free range. Available now from Coles and selected independent supermarkets. $6.49,

Maca has been revered by Peruvians for centuries for its libido-, energy- and mood-boosting properties. This is organic, raw and naturally GMO and gluten free. $39.95 for 500 grams,

Has No… Gluten Free Berry Muesli Packed with berries and other goodies, this muesli is a bargain at just $3.99 for 350 grams. For store locations visit

Bounce Bites Blueberry Banana Bliss A sweet alternative to processed confectionary, these bliss balls are free from gluten, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. $6.95, au-store.

Freedom Foods Caramel Crunch Bar Your search for stress-free, schoolsafe snacks ends with this crunchy, caramel-flavoured snack bar. $5.50 for a six-pack,

Just Organic Natural Yogurt Aside from being a great substitute for cream in comfort foods, recent studies have shown that organic dairy contains 50 per cent more omega-3s than non-organic dairy. $5.49 in stores, for locations see


Table of Plenty Mini Rice Cakes in Milk Chocolate These crunchy mini rice cakes come with a pure Belgian Dark, Milk Chocolate or Creamy Yoghurt coating. They’re free from gluten and artificial colours and flavours. $4.99,


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apicture COVER S TORY



Bianca Cheah is recognised as one of Australia’s leading wellness influencers, dedicated to spreading the health message far and wide. She chats to DANAE DIMITROPOULOU about chasing dreams, being present and what yoga has taught her about self-acceptance.


With her glowing skin, radiant smile and vibrant eyes, Bianca Cheah epitomises wellness, so much so that she’s become the poster girl for the wellness movement. But when you dig deeper beneath the surface layers, you start to understand that her appearance is simply a reflection of her wellrounded, holistic approach to health that started early on. Unlike many of her social media counterparts, the healthy principles that Cheah lives by weren’t inspired by a life-changing event or spiritual revelation. For Cheah, health was always a way of life. “I’ve always been into my health and fitness,” she says. “My parents have always been active, so the fitness and wellness side to life has always been ingrained in me. My father is a master in tae kwon do and holds one of the highest dans in Australia, so fitness has been embedded into me since the early days.”


COVER S TORY While these childhood lessons set the foundation, it’s Cheah’s choices throughout adulthood that have shaped her into the wellness enthusiast she is today. With the desire to share her knowledge about wellbeing and inspire other people to live a consious life, Cheah founded and launched her own digital publication,, in 2012. Since then, she’s been passionately promoting the role that nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and positivity play in living a happy, fulfilling life.

“As I get older, those expectations fade because my priorities shift. As I’ve become older, I’ve become not only wiser, but happier with myself.” Spreading the health message “I’ve always loved fashion blogs, so it was one day – after scouring the Internet for a fitness and wellness website fused with fashion – that I couldn’t find one. That’s where I saw the gap in the market. When I created Sporteluxe, I imagined crafting a stylish online destination for smart, engaging, authoritative and wellresearched conversations around health and wellbeing.” Cheah’s vision for the site was realised and the messages quickly resonated with her growing audience, resulting in unprecedented success. “We’ve successfully just opened an LA office and are experiencing unexpected organic growth,” she says. “I look forward to opening a NY office in the middle of this year, and we are exploring our options in the UK.” As someone who’s actively engaged in the wellness industry, Cheah has noticed a growing level of awareness around health and wellbeing, and in particular, people’s increasing desire to learn, evolve and grow.


“The realisation that our health is our greatest wealth, coupled with people’s access to instant information via online channels [is driving the wellness movement],” she says. “I guess everyone is realising what’s at stake and that the wellness movement is not just a trend, it’s a lifestyle.”

The yogic way Despite establishing a healthy relationship with her body early on, when Cheah – who has been modelling for more than 10 years – entered the modelling industry, she soon recognised the external pressures that are placed on appearance. “It goes with the territory [of modelling],” she says. “I’m sure every woman can relate.” With the passing of time, Cheah admits that she gets more comfortable in her own skin. “As I get older, those expectations fade because my priorities shift. As I’ve become older, I’ve become not only wiser, but happier with myself.” This healthy attitude continued to flourish when Cheah started practising yoga. While she first took to the mat as

a means to overcome a challenging time in her life, it was the realisations that she made during her practice that kept her coming back for more. “I only started practising yoga a couple of years ago,” she says. “I actually went through a very emotional, hard time in my life and that’s when I turned to yoga. It was my friend who begged me to come along to one of her classes, explaining to me that I would feel so much better after it. And guess what? Ever since that day, I was addicted to the feeling I got after class. Yoga changed my outlook on life and how I approach situations. It made me see the good in everything. And I’m so glad that period of my life happened, because I wouldn’t be where I am now.” As she extended her time on the mat and delved further into the yogic way of life, Cheah discovered how to overcome what was happening on the ouside and focus on the Self. “I used to worry about what I looked like and how other people perceived me,” she says. “Being perfect was something that I guess I – and we all – want to be. But yoga taught me




Bianca Cheah

“Yoga taught me to look inwards, as loving myself from the inside out taught me self-love and body love.”


I always say, ‘Don’t sweat the small things in life’ and ‘Go after your dreams and passions’. My mum always drummed the latter into me, [and if you follow that mantra] you’ll never work a day in your life doing something that you love.

ON LIFE LESSONS: The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is… Don’t overthink. Often the answer is right there in front of you. Just open your eyes and be present.

ON HER GO-TO YOGA POSES: In down dog, I feel like I am grounding to the earth and since I’m travelling so much, I feel like I’m not rooted to the one spot [so that helps],” she says. “In up dog, I feel like I’m opening my heart and shoulders up to give more love to my friends and the world.”


to look inwards, as loving myself from the inside out taught me self-love and body love. Yoga is a lifestyle; it’s not just poses, but a way of being, living and thinking.” And while daily practice was once a way of life, Cheah maintains that taking to the mat every few days helps her stay grounded and balanced. “I used to practise five times per week, sometimes twice a day,” she says. “But now, with how busy I am, I’m managing three times per week with mini-meditation sessions in the shower every morning. You’ll often find me sitting at my desk in a pigeon pose [laughs].”

A balanced approach to eating Along with a commitment to moving her body, Cheah recognises the importance of nourishing her body with wholesome foods, which is another lesson she learnt in her younger years. “I remember not really being allowed to drink soft drinks or eat fried foods,” she says. “Mum was super


strict and always brought us up eating fresh fruit, vegetables and lots of fresh fruit juices. Mum’s famous words when I wanted a snack were always: ‘Eat a piece of fruit instead.’ Now, I’m thankful because it’s the only way I know how to eat.” While maintaining a healthy and enjoyable relationship with food is the ultimate goal, Cheah says it’s all about moderation. “I’m all about balance, so I’ll never deprive myself of anything if I feel like it,” she says. “I always aim to eat fresh, clean and lean foods.” And despite maintaining a gruelling work schedule, Cheah says it’s possible to stay balanced as long as you maintain awareness. “I’m just like everyone else and it’s constantly a challenge for me,” she says. “I make sure I am aware of what I’m eating and always make sure I get more than enough sleep when crossing time zones. Without sleep, I can’t work or think properly. So plenty of sleep, fresh and clean foods and hydration [is key].”

One thing all women should hear is… Listen and learn. My ultimate indulgence is… Sour squirms. My meditation style is… In the shower. To stay centred I… Practise yoga. Life is… Living.

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The art of ancient healing Traditional Chinese medicine has been exploring the relationship between the mind and body for thousands of years. NAT KRINGOUDIS takes a look at three things the wellness movement has learnt from ancient medicine.


It’s been an absolute delight to watch the wellness movement grow over the past 12 or so years I’ve been in practice. Gone are the days where being ‘healthy’ involved brown food, seriously thick soy milk (also brown) and the continuous feeling that you’re ‘missing out’ on life. It is no more. Health now is something many people radiate because we’ve embraced it rather than feared it. We’ve worked out that health comes in all shapes and sizes and it isn’t a destination, but it’s better (and far easier) to work with it rather than against it. Various aspects of the current wellness trends, however, are not new. They’ve been reinvented and re-packaged in a way that has made them fashionable – not just because health looks and feels so good, but because we continue to understand the human body a little more each day. As a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), I’ve seen many ancient TCM principles find their way into our current approach to wellbeing. Science has now confirmed many of these ancient beliefs as reality – which makes it all the more exciting, at least for me, anyway.

There are many aspects of ancient medicine that have been adapted to modern living. There are also some that have happily been left behind (do not Google first forms of contraception, for instance, unless you have a very strong stomach!). Time has allowed this wellness movement to evolve into something really beautiful, bright and exciting. I want to share a few current current health trends that you may not realise have been taken from TCM – and have stood the test of time.

THE GUT IS THE PIVOT OF YOUR HEALTH When I was first taught this back in my early days studying TCM, it was like the heavens had opened and the angels were singing. I thought it was beautiful and genius because it made perfect sense. This was well before the current ‘gut health’ trend, but about the same time that we thought fat made us fat – which we’ve since learnt isn’t the case at all. Chinese medicine has based an entire model of alternative medicine around the principle that if you can’t assimilate nutrients, you



can’t go on to use them as fuel; it’s as simple – and as complex – as that.

HEALTH IS NOT ABOUT FIXING ILLNESS BUT MAINTAINING WELLNESS Health comes from wellbeing, which is a state of wellness. But the lines between fixing illness and sustaining health can be blurred, and they’re not necessarily the same. The ultimate state of wellbeing comes from optimal health. Of course, if we are unwell, it’s important we get to the core issue at hand and not merely treat the symptoms, which brings me to my next point.

TREAT THE ROOT, NOT JUST THE BRANCH Chinese medicine uses the analogy of root and branch treatment, which is why practitioners look at treating the core of the issue (root) as opposed to the symptoms (branch). Moreover, if you’re trying to treat both the root and the


branch at the same time, the treatment may be less effective as the body is factoring too much at once. That said, treating a condition symptomatically is possible, but in doing this, the real issue may never be fixed. Modern medicine practitioners have recently begun investing more into the concept of treating the causative factors rather than the symptoms alone.

EMOTIONAL WELLBEING ISN’T SEPARATE FROM PHYSICAL HEALTH TCM recognises that each and every organ has an associated emotion. The emotion of the lung, for example, is sadness, whereas the emotion of the liver is anger. Perhaps you’ve heard bad news and you’ve instantly felt sick in the stomach (worry) or you’ve felt butterflies in your heart when you’ve been excited. These are all examples of how heightened emotions are felt in areas of the body. But aside from an emotional

peak that might strike us like lightening, we may also have emotions chugging along in the background affecting our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. They may affect how our body’s systems work on the whole and they certainly aren’t separate or function outside of our beings. The thyroid provides a fine example of the physical and emotional elements of health; according to many studies, 20 per cent of people with hypothyroid experience depression. This just goes to show that perhaps emotions are valid symptoms when they are overwhelmingly experienced.

LOOKING AHEAD Of course, modern medicine also has had many advances that have certainly helped us get to where we are today. The trick is finding the right mix to help take your health to where you want to go. As I see it, integrating Eastern and Western philosophies is a sure way forward for the next health movement.

The well ness


Melissa Ambrosini

Kate Kendall

Sarah Holloway

Lauren Pell

From spiritual gatherings to power flow classes, plantbased cafés and luxe wellness events, Australia’s natural health scene is bursting with expert tips, information and events. DANAE DIMITROPOULOU chats with four dynamic women who are leading the way for the wellness movement.


THE WELLNE SS MOVEMENT of control and I ended up in hospital. It was then that things started to change. I realised that I needed to master my inner ‘mean girl’ and cultivate some serious self-love – even though I had no idea what self-love was. From there, I became obsessed with self-development and read every book I could get my hands on. All the wisdom I was immersing myself in sparked a shift inside me, and I started to feel better and happier from deep within – which is something I had never experienced before. At that point, I started sharing my insights on my website and started working with women one on one, creating products to serve my tribe – such as e-books, online courses, and guided meditations – and speaking around the world. I am still on my journey and it’s a lifelong process that I’m deeply committed to.

Melissa Ambrosini

The Self-love Guru

How did you manifest your newfound knowledge, both personally and professionally?

After hitting rock bottom, I was willing, open and ready to evolve. I asked big questions and was ready to receive the answers. We all have this knowledge within us and the question is: are you ready to hear the answers? Your best-selling book Mastering Your Mean Girl has inspired women all over the world. What was your vision for this book?

You may know Melissa Ambrosini as the bestselling author of Mastering Your Mean Girl and a pioneer for self-love and acceptance. Now, Ambrosini is teaching women how to push through limiting beliefs and overcome self-doubt in order to live a more conscious, present life.


Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming who you are today…

Back in 2010, I was a professional dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, did acting and TV presenting, and although it looked like I had the ‘perfect’ life, I was dying on the inside. I hated myself and my body, which led to disordered eating habits, depression, and being very unhappy and unwell. It wasn’t until there was no more candle left to burn that everything spiralled out

My vision for Mastering Your Mean Girl was to get the book into the hands of as many women as possible to remind them they are enough. The messages in MYMG are so important because we all have that inner ‘mean girl’ who sometimes tells us we aren’t good enough. I believe it’s my role to help women remember that’s not the truth and unlock their full potential. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in consciousness and an increasing interest in health and wellbeing. What do you believe is inspiring this movement?

I believe people are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. They’re searching

deprive or limit yourself. You can do work you love because you love being of service to others, or you can go to a job you loathe because it’s the ‘right’ or ‘sensible’ thing to do because you need the money. When we do things from love, life flows effortlessly. When we do choose fear, the Universe always has a way of reminding us to come back to love.

“My vision for Mastering Your Mean Girl was to get the book into the hands of as many women as possible to remind them they are enough.” What do you believe are the essential steps to wellness in body, mind and soul?

for other ways of living, being and feeling. People are waking up to the fact that they don’t have to live a mundane life, doing work they hate, and feeling crappy in the process. They know there is more, so they’re looking for it and seeking out ways to feel better. Each year, an increasing number of people are turning to practices such as meditation and yoga. What do you believe is driving this shift?

Yoga and meditation are modalities that have been around for thousands of years – and they work! The rise in interest is [due to the fact that] people are seeing and feeling such profound results within themselves. Once you try these tools and you experience the effects, you can’t turn away – it’s life changing! You become a better version of yourself and that intrigues others, their curiosity builds and the ripple effect occurs. It seems that more and more people are searching for meaning in their day-

to-day lives. What advice would you give to women who are on this path?

I have two pieces of advice. Firstly, tune inward and cultivate some form of meditation practice where you connect with yourself – this is when you unlock the answers you’re seeking. Secondly, master your ‘mean girl’ and get out of your head and back into your heart. Follow your curiosity, as it will always lead you to the right place. You speak a lot about coming from a place of love rather than fear. Can you explain that theory in more detail?

At times, it can feel like we have 50 choices, but in every moment you have one of two choices: love or fear. For example, you can choose to move your body because you love your beautiful temple, or you can flog your body at the gym because you hate what you see in the mirror and you desperately want a six-pack. You can eat to nourish your temple because you honour it, or you can eat because you want to punish,

[Wellness is] feeling inner peace within yourself and not looking outside of yourself for it. If you can feel a sense of inner contentment and happiness, then no matter what happens outside of yourself, you will feel grounded and connected with you. The truth is that things will happen for the rest of your life, but the way you respond to those situations will differ the more connected you are with yourself and the more inner peace you feel. It’s a daily practice and one I’m still working on. Do you have any predictions on where the future of health and wellness is headed? Are there new trends or practices emerging?

The biggest thing I predict is that more and more people will start waking up. There is a definite rise in consciousness, which is awesome! Meditation was not cool only a few years ago, and now, most people have heard of it. Like I mentioned before, people are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and they are seeking the answers to support them in their fast-paced, over-stimulated life. To keep up to date with Melissa’s teachings, courses and meditations, check her out on Instagram @melissaambrosini and visit



The Dedicated Kate Kendall Yogi


While the desire for a taut tummy initially drew Kate Kendall to the yoga mat, it was the mind-body connection she found through the practice that has kept her coming back. Now known as the Active Yogi, she’s turned her passion into a business, and lives her daily life according to yogic philosophy.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming the Active Yogi…

If you had told me when I was a teenager that I would be a yoga teacher, I probably would have laughed at you. Around 12 years ago I came back from a year-long trip in the UK, where I hadn’t done any physical exercise and a whole lot of partying. Couple this lifestyle with depression and you’ve got a recipe for dissatisfaction and a fairly lousy outlook on life. I got into yoga out of vanity. I wanted longer, leaner arms and legs and tight abs. It was the physical aspect that drew me to yoga but it was the mental benefits that kept me. I hadn’t been in a great place, mentally, for a while and after one month of consistently practising yoga, I came off my antidepressants – which I just assumed would be my coping mechanism for the rest of my life. I quickly realised that yoga was more than shapes and that the philosophies of yoga are the most gentle, intuitive and ethical ways of living. To this day, my yoga practice is my medicine.


When and why did you decide to transition into a career in the wellness industry?

I’d been working in a digital agency ever since I left university and although I adored my team and learnt so much from them – and still call them family to this day – I never felt fulfilled and it never felt authentic to me. One day, after a yoga class in North Bondi, my teacher, Rick, stopped me and said, “You know, Katie, you’d make a great teacher.” When someone you admire and respect says this to you, the changing potential is incredible. [This comment] literally changed the course of my life. While teaching was something I’d started thinking about, I’d never said it out loud. From that point I started to research training,

retreats and when the calling became too loud to ignore, I decided to leap and I went to India for two months to study yoga. What does it mean to be an active yogi?

An active yogi is anyone who is practising a conscious, self-actualised life, and in some way, gives back and contributes. Tell us a bit about the event you created, Flow After Dark, Yoga Silent Disco…

FLAD (Flow After Dark) was originally a 90-minute yoga class led by yours truly to the live beats of a DJ. Around a year-and-a-half ago, the guys from Silent Sounds approached us about

doing an event with them and it really went from there. We were, and still are, blown away by the uptake. People are really craving conscious, soul-expanding experiences and I think that’s why it’s been so popular. What inspired you to launch the event?

It’s our mission at Flow Athletic to inspire healthy and remarkable lives. FLAD is an experience that attracts hundreds of people who just want to feel good. And collectively this has a remarkable and changing effect.

Do things that light you up, not just physically but mentally and spiritually. There’s a saying in Vedic philosophy, ‘Follow the charm’. This essentially means following the things that inspire you and make you happy. If we’re doing this, we can’t go wrong. I live by a philosophy I call, ‘the space between’, which is all about simplifying life, doing one thing at a time with childlike curiosity. It encourages everyone to practise more presence and less distraction. Over the last few years, there has been a shift in consciousness and an increasing interest in health and wellbeing. What do you believe is inspiring the wellness movement?

There’s no doubt we’re moving into a more heart-led period of civilisation, which is so exciting. Sure, there are still some fairly unconscious practices and leaders around but [nonetheless] the love feels stronger. Social media platforms are really helping to spread positivity and as long as we keep using them with good intentions as opposed to egodriven pursuits, we’re golden. Each year, an increasing number of people are turning to yoga to maintain ongoing health and wellness. Why do you believe this increase is occurring?

It seems like yoga and mindfulness are the flavour of the month, which is great. I think, as long as we’re practising them with heart and remembering the essence


What’s your philosophy on health and wellness?

of what these practices are, they’ll only inspire more and more people to make positive change, which, in turn, leads to collective change. It seems that people are searching for more meaning from their day-to-day lives. What advice would you give to women who are on this path?

I think curiosity is key and to borrow from the Vedic again, ‘Follow the charm.’ Do what lights you up and inspires you. What do you believe are the essential steps to wellness in body, mind and soul?

Start your day with ritual. Ritual is deep reverence for self and helps to keep you feeling most like ‘you’. Eat clean, unprocessed foods most of the time. Make time for stillness, be it in

meditation or relaxation. I truly believe that pauses are key for productivity and productivity leads to fulfilment. Do you have any predictions on where the future of health and wellness is headed? Are there new practices emerging?

I definitely think we’re going to see more of these mindfulness experiences like our Flow After Dark as well as more meditation practices. It makes me happy to see the slower yoga classes like yin more and more popular in my own studio, too. Kate is a yogi, co-founder and director of yoga at Flow Athletic ( and a Blackmores wellbeing ambassador. To find out more about Kate, follow her on Instagram @activeyogi (


THE WELLNE SS MOVEMENT the booming health market yet. Nic and I always wanted to start a business together and we couldn’t really find a product that suited our needs or that showcased matcha’s healthy side, so we created a brand that filled all those missing pieces. Since its launch, the brand has grown exponentially. What do you attribute to this success?

The Superfood Sarah Holloway Lover When Sarah Holloway first encountered matcha in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, it was love at first sip. Since then, she’s been spreading the matcha magic and encouraging plantbased eating.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and when you got involved in the wellness industry…

I started off as a corporate lawyer, but I’ve always been passionate about health, fitness and wellbeing. I wasn’t quite sure how to merge those interests with my professional life, so to satisfy my creative side, I kept busy with lots of activities, travel and hobbies – Matcha Maiden was one of those side projects.


When did your love affair with matcha begin?

Nic, my business and life partner, and I separately encountered matcha as a ceremonial tea in Japan. I love green tea and since matcha is green tea leaves ground into a powdered, concentrated form, it’s no surprise that I got hooked on it pretty quickly. What inspired you to launch Matcha Maiden?

In its concentrated form, matcha has 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, along with many other benefits for skin, hair, immunity, metabolism and general wellbeing. Once we discovered its many benefits, we couldn’t work out why it hadn’t hit

While we have worked incredibly hard to develop a wonderful brand, we were one of the first brands to market matcha before it started to take off. Trying to grow the brand beyond the product we sell has also been important. From the outset, we had a strong social media strategy and we’ve built a community through sharing recipes and encouraging user-generated content. When you have an online business, social media is the only real way to connect with our customers, so we’ve really nurtured those relationships. How was the concept of your café, Matcha Mylkbar, conceived?

While travelling in the US with our business partner, Mark Filippelli, who has had multiple successful hospitality venues, we did a little food and beverage research and noticed an increasing number of vegan eateries and matcha beverage venues. Around the same time, we discovered the Blue Zones research into the five regions of the world where people live the longest. The thing they have in common is a mainly plant-based diet. Also, [the research found] the most 100 year olds live in Okinawa, Japan, where longevity is attributed to high levels of matcha consumption. So we thought, why not fuse those two concepts together into one venue? Did you perceive a gap in the Australian market for a plantbased eatery?

There are an increasing amount of options for vegans, but there was a big gap for places with vegan offerings that also cater for non-vegans. We wanted to overcome the emotional heat that often accompanies plant-based movements

and create a venue that offers a delicious, nutritious, and of course, an Instagramable menu that incorporates matcha and can compete in the bustling Melbourne brunch scene. We are 100 per cent plant based, but our customers are definitely not all plant-based eaters, which we love to see.

Matcha Mylkbar

Do you have a business mantra or motto?

My favourites are: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” and “Everything happens for a reason”. Do you believe there is an increasing consumer interest in health and wellness of late?

The health and wellness movement is expanding rapidly, which is so exciting to see; it’s no longer weird to order a kale smoothie with nut milk or use all kinds of unheard-of superfood powders. It’s the information age, so I think people are becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies and we’re more aware of the world around us. Social media also makes our lives – and bodies – more visible, which may influence people’s choices in getting more active and eating cleaner. It’s also enabled health and wellness influencers to come to light and pioneer the healthy lifestyle movement. Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a start-up in the health industry?

Yes, just get started! The perfect time will never come and we are proof that you never know how great your idea might be until you let it show. So get started and you can perfect things later on; it’s a constant process of learning and refining, so don’t get in your own way by being a perfectionist or being too scared. To find out more about Sarah, follow her on Instagram @spoonful_of_sarah. To become part of the matcha community, head to and

Sarah Holloway’s Matcha Mango Smoothie INGREDIENTS 2 cups frozen mango 1 frozen banana ½–1 tsp matcha powder Handful spinach

1 cup coconut milk 1 tsp chia seeds Ice, if desired METHOD Blend and enjoy!



The Festival Founder Lauren Pell Former TV advertising producer Lauren Pell swapped the screen for the stage after she launched her luxe wellness event business, Colour & Coconuts. These days, Pell is passionate about connecting likeminded individuals with the ultimate goal of helping them lead healthier, happier lives.

What were you doing before you launched Colour & Coconuts? What inspired you to launch your own business?

Before taking the leap into The Wellness Festival, I was a TV and content producer. The role was rewarding but also incredible challenging; you’re always on call, which means you can never switch off. I was working around the clock and not looking after my health – until a friend dragged me along to a health seminar. After hearing from some incredibly inspiring speakers, a spark was ignited and I became fascinated with all aspects of wellness. I immersed myself in reading, cooking healthy recipes and exercising in new and exciting ways. As my passion grew, I started exploring fun ways to integrate wellness into my work life – coordinating group PT sessions at the office, organising healthy catering for meetings and introducing almond milk to the work barista. To my surprise, my co-workers loved it! When and why did you launch The Wellness Festival? Did you perceive a gap in the market?

Once my passion for wellness had sparked, I knew I had to turn it into a


career! While I had been going to my fair share of ‘health seminars’, they always felt like I was back at school. I wanted to create an event that celebrated wellness like no one had before: with a live DJ, fresh coconuts, delicious food and coffee, incredible speakers and a venue styled to perfection. So I created something I wish had existed! You brought together some seriously inspiring, health-loving experts, speakers and entrepreneurs. Tell us about the selection and collaboration process…

There is no shortage of talent in the wellness space, and we were lucky enough to hand-pick some of the best for The Wellness Festival launch. All of our collaborators align with our ethos, which is helping to spread the wellness word. We offer a cross section of speakers from self-love gurus like Melissa Ambrosini to entrepreneurs like Lisa Messenger, so our attendees can absorb as much knowledge and inspiration as possible. All of these inspiring women talk openly about wellness. Is there a common message or theme that they speak about?

mind, body and spirit, and we just have to find the balance. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing consumer interest in health and wellness. What do you believe is driving the wellness movement?

Once you begin to invest in yourself and your health, amazing things happen and it ripples into all other aspects of life. When you feel good, you want to shout it to the world and word of mouth is such a powerful tool. The online health community is incredible and social media has helped spread this message further. What is your personal or business mantra?

Create something you wish existed and always be kind. What do you believe is the key to a healthy mind, body and spirit?

Eating to nourish your body, moving your body from a place of love, and being grateful every day. To find out more about Lauren, follow her on Instagram @colourandcoconuts and get involved with her next wellness event at

That health is all encompassing of



Wellbeing Achieve ultimate wellness this year by looking at the bigger picture and implementing some strategies that will have you healthier, and happier, than ever, writes LISA O’NEILL.



As the fresh views of the new year sharpen into focus, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of resolutions. And why not? Carving out real, achievable goals that will make your life better is a lot of fun. Although while you’re dream chasing and getting all specific, it’s worth considering some holistic practices that will support whatever you’re doing. This year, polish up your wellness in the three crucial domains of physical, mental and spiritual health and you might just find 2017 fills with all the good things. Go on, the universe is on your side.

Physical wellness So many resolutions are linked to our body, whether it’s attaining a certain physique or quitting something we shouldn’t be putting into it. We’ve all seen the green smoothie-chugging and elasticised limbs dominating the wellness social media sphere, but what does good health really look like? Nutrition and lifestyle coach Sarah Hopkins ( says when her clients are getting it right, they radiate a sense of lightness and their energy levels are consistently high. “A physically healthy person wakes up with energy before the coffee,” says Hopkins. “They look well rested, manage their weight easily and find they can manage stress and stressful situations with ease and grace.” On the flipside, physical imbalance displays itself in low energy levels, weight gain and a suppressed immune system. “If you’re catching every cold going around or struggling to lose the spare tyre around the mid-section, these are really common signs that you’re physically out of balance,” says Hopkins. Sound familiar? It can be frustrating when you’re eating your two and five daily and your workout clothes are regularly rotated. Hopkins recommends


THE WELLNE SS MOVEMENT starting with some questions that should determine your current physical state. 1. Am I happy with my energy levels throughout the day? If not, where are they slumping? 2. How well does my digestive system work? Do I feel bloated, gassy or uncomfortable after certain foods? 3. Am I happy with my body composition? Do I feel strong? 4. Do I feel stressed or overwhelmed a lot of the time? Bouncing out of bed, enjoying comfort and satisfaction post-meals and feeling strong and able as you move through your daily activities are all components of how you’ll be feeling this year once peak physical health has been achieved. Hopkins shares her top tips to moving ever closer to that graceful being you’re evolving into.

Sarah Hopkins’



Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods – Nutrition is 80 per cent of the equation when it comes to physical health. Look at where hidden sugars and toxic oils might be getting into the system through refined convenience foods like your muesli or protein bars, maybe even a takeaway lunch or something obvious like chocolate post-dinner that has crept into most nights. Eliminating these foods will significantly improve metabolic function. Embrace movement – Make movement an hourly priority. One of the easiest ways to improve health is to encourage more incidental moving every day. Investing in a Fitbit is a great way to keep track of your daily steps, which should be over 10,000. Manage stress – The biggest cause of unwanted belly fat is high cortisol (it also has a negative effect



on the immune system and causes inflammation), so factor in adequate rest and relaxation, and activities such as meditation, yoga or tai chi, which calm the nervous system. Drink good-quality filtered water – The human body is 70 per cent water while the brain is 80 per cent, so hydrating plays a big role in long-term wellness. Make it filtered water, which removes toxins including chlorine. Chlorine kills the bacteria in water but also kills the good bacteria in the large intestine that keep us healthy. Reduce toxins in personal care products – Every product we put on our body (skincare, hair products, toothpaste, etc) has to be processed by the liver, which plays a critical role in metabolism. So invest in non-toxic, natural and organic personal care products to see a boost in metabolic health and energy.



Over-complicating the process of ‘getting on top of things’ might be our downfall.


Mental wellness The World Health Organization has defined mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”. To be truly well in our mind is not merely the absence of a mental health condition. Action and business coach and triathlete Suzzanne Laidlaw ( has seen plenty of people who seem healthy externally but are struggling within. “Exercise is a wonderful thing for all of us to make a daily priority, but when we become obsessed with it, or any other single aspect of life, that’s when our mental health gets out of balance,” says Laidlaw. “People with strong mental health on the other hand have a very holistic view of life and value their health, their family, their relationships, their business and their own down time.” Laidlaw recognises a mentally well person instantly by their calm presence and positive outlook even in the face of hurdles. “When clients visit me, I know they’re on top of their mental health when they’re very focused on the direction they’re going in, why they’re doing it and what they need to do to get there,” she says. “They have a positive energy and are constantly looking forward, so they’re more proactive than reactive, and it’s almost as though the window of the mind is clean with a lot of clarity and clear thinking coming across.” Laidlaw knows her client has their work cut out for them when they aren’t sleeping well, appear stressed,

rely on vices such as food, alcohol or cigarettes and are full of excuses for why life isn’t going their way. “When people are in denial about problems and blaming everyone else, that’s a really good sign to me that we need to make some strategies to get on top of things,” she says. When we’re already in a state of overwhelm, it can be difficult to regain control, so Laidlaw says small changes can make big differences. “If you’re relying on a glass, or a bottle, of wine each night to wind down, start with one alcohol-free day a week and see how it makes you feel the next day. I ask clients who are stressed, what moments throughout their week have they enjoyed the most with minimal stress? Do more of that.” Overcomplicating the process of ‘getting on top of things’ might be our downfall. Simply identifying moments where we feel relaxed and positive (without the hangover), and scheduling them into our daily routine will undoubtedly strengthen our mental health. If coming up with these moments is a struggle, Laidlaw gives us her best ideas.

Suzzanne Laidlaw’s



Have clarity about goals and values – Be clear on what you want to achieve in life and break it down into goals that will help you get there. Each goal should have a crystal-clear ‘why’ behind it and each day as you strive towards them, you’ll be filled with purpose and positive energy. Nourish and move your body – A healthy body makes a healthy mind. Not only will you feel better as you improve your fitness and eat well, you’ll sleep better, rely less on unhealthy crutches and the flow-on positive effects will keep coming. Find your tribe – The feeling of belonging is hugely important to mental health. Whether it’s a sporting club, neighbourhood friends or close



family, being a part of a group of people who you see regularly, you rely on, share experiences and even hold you accountable will strengthen your highs and soften any lows. Make time for them. Meditate – Create a circuit breaker for the mental chatter. Meditation really helps achieve clarity of mind and that grounded focus on what you’re doing. Practise an attitude of gratitude – Being grateful every day for what you have is a huge factor in having a healthy mind. Every night, think of all the things you’re grateful for and wake up with the same thoughts – you can’t help but approach life with a positive attitude.

4 5



Spiritual wellness For Wanderlust yoga teacher and studio owner Rhyanna Van Leeuwarden (, spirituality is the difference between having faith and belief. When you believe in something, you expect a certain outcome, whereas faith is being okay with the unknown. “Spirituality always comes back to ‘I am here now’ and ‘I am valuable in this moment exactly how I am’ regardless of external factors,” says Van Leeuwarden. “Spirituality is really having faith and trust in yourself, and at the same time realising you’re a part of something much bigger than yourself.” With that understanding, spirituality looks and feels different to every person. However, when we’re in a good place spiritually, the symptoms are much the same according to Van Leeuwarden. “When we’re connected to our spirituality, we spend the majority of our time living in the present and letting go of what has been and what may or may not happen,” she says. “When you talk about depression, it largely comes from living in the past and worrying about what happened there while anxiety is when you’re living in the future and worrying about what’s to come. When we accept things for how they are and simply let go, we have faith that we’re in the right place.” When we arrive at this place, our purpose becomes clearer and our senses are sharpened. “When I started yoga and meditation and really started experiencing the feeling of being here now, where I could stop and listen to what’s inside, it was very empowering,” says Van Leeuwarden. “I don’t float between things; I consciously check in and out of moments. I’m truly awake and aware of what’s happening in front of me.” Training your mind to being consistently in the present moment and ‘letting go of all the shit’ can take some time, so Van Leeuwarden shares her best insights to embracing your spiritual self this year.


Rhyanna Van Leeuwarden’s



Practise mindful breaths – Use the four parts of the breath to bring you into the present. Inhale and bring everything in, then at the top of the breath with full lungs, consciously accept that it’s there. Then, as you exhale, let it all go until your lungs are completely empty of air. Before your next inhale, take a second to enjoy that everything is okay and you’re still you, regardless of what’s happening. The breath is very powerful in helping us think about what we’re taking in and what we’ll let go of. Be in nature – Being outdoors and in nature is one of the best ways to help you see the bigger picture. If you take time to stare at the vastness of the ocean or up at the sky, it’ll take you out of that small mindset and away from the shit that’s irrelevant. Pay attention – Our only role in this world is to be awake. Consciously do things to bring yourself into the moment. If you’re with someone and not paying attention, stop and zone in on that person and be with them fully. Start to eliminate background noises and sights until it’s just you and them.



If this is difficult, while you’re alone, practise removing other senses so you begin to focus on one thing. Close your eyes for a minute and focus on a single noise or cover your ears and look at a single object. Practise yoga or exercise that allows your mind to be still – When I’m fully present with my body and how it’s feeling, and being aware of my breath, I can bring myself into a form of meditation. While yoga is perfect for that, it can be any movement where you can connect your consciousness with your body and breath. Incorporate that in some capacity every day. Follow your dreams, but hold them lightly – Make goals from the fire in your belly, because you’ll find your purpose when you make a decision from your heart’s centre. You’ll be driven without any external pushing if you find something you truly believe in. All your goals will be hit this way, but maybe not exactly in the way you first envisioned because you’ll learn more about yourself and what the universe has in store for you along the way.



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volution Around the world, an increasing number of people are rolling out their yoga mats and practising asanas and pranayama as part of their ongoing commitment to health and wellbeing. EMMA PALMER explores the rise of yoga and the many ways it helps to cultivate wellness for mind, body and soul.




Twenty years ago, it was rare to find a yoga class, let alone a studio dedicated to the practice. These days, yoga classes are being taught everywhere from beaches to corporate offices, retreats, parks, prisons, on paddle boards on calm ocean waters, in private classes in the comfort of your own home, and even airport terminals. There are also plenty of community classes that cater for those who aren’t in a position to be able to pay for a class, and can still attend by either donation or free of charge. There really isn’t anywhere that you can’t practise some form of yoga, and the yogi community is expanding on a global level. International festivals, such as the annual Wanderlust Festival, bring together thousands of yogis from around the world to celebrate mindfulness, healthy living, nutrition and spirituality. It is abundantly clear that the practice of yoga is now centre stage in the wellness arena. So why has yoga gained such an immense following in the last few years, and more importantly, what is driving this rapid growth?

Cultivating connectedness At the core of our being, humans have a desire to establish relationships, foster a sense of connection and feel completely and unconditionally accepted by others. Dr Brené Brown defines connection as the energy that “exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”. As a yogi and a teacher, I can confidently say that this type of relationship exists in every yoga space I have ever seen, and occurs in our own space at Moksha Yoga ( every single day. As you move through the studio during the day, you hear students sharing their struggles, challenges, joys, hopes and dreams, and you come to realise this space has become their home away from home. Indeed,


the welcoming environment of a yoga studio helps to cultivate a sense of connectedness that is far opposed to the fractious disconnects that are occurring in areas within our global family. Sociologically, there is a human need to come together as a tribe to make a positive change in our own small community, with the hope that these changes ripple out to the wider community. This sense of service is referred to as seva in yogic philosophy and it represents the powerful action of giving unconditionally to others without expectation, in return, giving us our greatest joy. Statistics back up these claims, as research shows that 79 per cent of those who practise yoga are more likely to give back to their communities in some way.

Who is practising yoga? According to the new study titled Yoga in America conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, the number of practitioners in the US has risen from 20.4 million in 2012 to 36.7 million, with 80 million more likely to take their first yoga class in the next 12 months. The research also shows the percentage of Americans with a great level of awareness of yoga has climbed from 75 per cent to 90 per cent. When you look at the statistics, the wellness movement migrates across both men and women, yet 20 years ago, it was sadly quite rare to see a male sign up for a yoga class. Statistics from the 2016 study showed that women represent 72 per cent of practitioners, while men make up 28 per cent. This is a huge leap compared to research from 2012, which highlighted that approximately four million men practised yoga. In terms of age, 43 per cent of practitioners are aged between 30 to 49 years of age, and approximately 38 per cent are over the age of 50. So why are the anticipated 80 million practitioners about to start their practice in the next 12 months?

THE TOP FIVE REASONS ARE: While these statistics confirm what I see in yoga classes every day, it’s important to note that what originally draws a student to yoga is rarely what sustains their commitment to the practice long term. When students start yoga, they commonly speak of it as a means to better manage work stress or to counteract the toll that the modern Western lifestyle is having on their body. But with time, these same students begin to experience how yoga helps them to establish healthier relationships with loved ones, better connections with colleagues and a deep desire to live a more meaningful, conscious life.













Managing disease and illness Many health care practitioners refer their patients to yoga as a way to support an injury or improve the general health of people who suffer from disease. Several research papers have shown that yoga is one of the most cost effective ways to manage and aid an array of medical conditions such as spinal injuries, high blood pressure, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, inflammation, sleeping cycles, cortisol levels and even support the treatment of cancer. Findings from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reveal that yoga is a powerful assist for women with breast cancer. Those who practised yogic breathing, postures, meditation and relaxation techniques had improved physical functioning, better general health and lower cortisol levels.

Psychological wellbeing According to the Yoga in America study, 86 per cent of yoga practitioners reported a stronger sense of mental clarity compared to 77 per cent of nonpractitioners. This latest data is further supported by the British Psychological Society, which found that the practices of asana and pranayama relieve the mind from worries and help to reduce negativity.


Research is also showing that yoga can be a preventative for anxiety in adult life. A study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics reported that teenagers who practised a variety of yoga techniques experienced better moods, lower anxiety levels and operated from a state of greater mindfulness. The study also showed that those who practised yoga had a more positive self-image. Analysis of data from an array of research conducted between 2001 and 2014 has shown that consistent practice of yoga is fundamental to the reduction in the symptoms of fatigue, enervation and depression. We’re also a lot happier when we practise yoga and a 2012 study found that yoga students showed not only reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol but a significant increase in endorphin levels that provide a greater sense of happiness. Moreover, yoga integrates the practices of meditation and mindfulness, which have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. When the mind has the space for quietness and presence, we are more likely to experience lightness, focus and the ability to increase concentration for longer periods of time.

Teaching yoga As a result of the inner changes we experience from our time on our mat, it doesn’t take very long before we’re drawn to not only understand the rich teachings and practices of yoga more deeply, but develop a profound desire to share these teachings with others in the form of teaching. Research shows that for every one yoga teacher there are two others who are interested in teaching. Moreover, 50 per cent of yoga teachers have been teaching for more than six years. The truth is that we will always be, first and foremost, students of this beautiful practice, even if we do choose the path of teaching.

The yoga compass Yoga is far more than the movement of one posture to the next; all areas of wellness – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – are evolved and strengthened by the practice. Embracing the yogic teachings and philosophy influences our daily lives, interactions and ways of being. It’s no surprise, then, that in the next 12 months, 80 million more people are predicted to find their way to the yoga mat, and perhaps find their way home to themselves again.




What if you could be more focused, more peaceful and more able to experience joy in the present moment? If you could reduce stress, feelings of anxiety and depression, and sleep better? Meditation sees Eastern practice and Western medicine coming together in aligned recognition of its overwhelming benefits as it gathers followers from all walks of life. LISA O’NEILL investigates.


When meditation was introduced to Western society in the late 1800s, it couldn’t have been a more foreign concept. In a time and place where having and doing more was king, what could possibly be gained from simply being? Historians identified meditation techniques in Indian scriptures as far back as 5000 years ago and wall art featuring traditional meditation poses suggesting the practice to be even older. In approximately 500 or 400 BC, meditation’s net was cast wider throughout Asia when Buddha was spreading his teachings and incorporating different variations of the practice. However, travel was quite scarce between the East and West, and meditation was considered to be quite mystical by Westerners, so it wasn’t until recent history the practice was integrated globally. The biggest shift came in 1893, when Indian Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda visited Chicago to represent Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He captivated the audience with the sincerity in which he spoke about harmony and the common spirituality we share as human beings and believed the spirituality of the East could benefit all societies. Striking a chord, the US embraced him and Vivekananda travelled around the country discussing Vedanta – an ancient Indian school of philosophy based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India – which encourages the universal concept of self-realisation and the oneness of all existence. Within his teachings, Vivekananda spoke of

the importance of meditation, which would deepen our understanding of the universe and ourselves. Following in his footsteps, Indian yogi and spiritual guru Paramahansa Yogananda arrived in Boston in 1920, where he spoke at the International Congress for Religious Liberals and spread the message of yoga and meditation after being told since birth this was his duty. Yogananda described meditation as “recharging the body battery with cosmic energy” and connecting our inner consciousness with our higher consciousness. Eventually, the technique of transcendental meditation (TM) was introduced in the 1960s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who described the goal of TM as a state of enlightenment where we can experience inner calmness and the dissolution of stress. It was this message that managed to truly penetrate the Western psyche when The Beatles met Maharishi in 1967 on his British tour. Fascinated by his teachings, George, John, Paul and Ringo travelled to Maharashi’s spiritual training camp in Rishikesh, India, where they spent time in an ashram with Maharishi. They later shared their experience of meditation and feelings of empowerment with the world. While pop stars and their substantial influence were one way to expand the concept, meditation has continued to gain in popularity through the continued research and resulting stamps of approval from Western medicine. While its use in the East largely remains as a spiritual vehicle to connect with


THE WELLNE SS MOVEMENT higher consciousness, the mental health benefits are vast and doctors and psychologists in the West are now encouraging the practice. General practitioner from Onslow Road Family Practice Dr Richard Yin says the main streams of research have come from meditation’s effect on anxiety, depression and pain relief. “We have data showing rates of anxiety and depression sit around 25 per cent in the population and when we talk about workplace stress, we’re looking at about 30 per cent and rates of insomnia are around the 25 per cent mark as well,” says Dr Yin. “So you’ve got a widespread problem of mental health issues that are highly prevalent within our community and it’s no wonder people are trying to seek answers and bucket loads of people come to general practice looking for avenues where they can actually help themselves.” During his time teaching meditation to patients, Dr Yin has seen significant reductions in the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and people who suffer from chronic headaches coming off their medication. But Dr Yin is quick to point out it’s important to recognise meditation as a life approach and a way to help us reframe the issues before us rather than a fix for problems. “Historically, I think the Western understanding of meditation came with some poor translations as we thought of it as a technique, or doing meditation, and that’s a very funny thing to do for an Easterner as they study, contemplate and practise meditation, and see it as an approach to living or being in the world,” says Dr Yin. “We’re becoming much more sophisticated in our understanding and I teach students who come with problems – whether they’re stressed, depressed, angry, confused or in physical pain – to set aside time to care for themselves and use it to stop the ‘busyness’. Meditation trains us to be less reactive and choose how to respond meaningfully to any problems we’re faced with.”


Meditation provides an avenue to stop worrying about the future by quieting our thoughts and training our minds to absorb the present moment. In today’s society, it seems the word ‘busy’ is the most common description for our current mood. Meditation provides an avenue to stop worrying about the future by quieting our thoughts and training our minds to absorb the present moment. “There’s a tendency for us to get caught up in thoughts or fantasy about what might have happened or what might happen in the future,” says Dr Yin. “Meditation helps us move forward to be engaged fully in life with an openness and interest in what life has to offer. If you can focus on what’s around you now

and be grateful for the life you have, you come closer to understanding the things that are of inherent value rather than the things we give too much weight to. There comes a greater meaning and intentionality within a lived life.” Today, there are millions of people around the world devoting time to a daily practice, with around 1.4 million subscribers to the popular Insight Timer app, which combines ancient traditions with modern technology. While the range of traditions and practices is vast, we’ve outlined the most commonly practised techniques.

Zen meditation Zen is the most prominent variation of Buddhist meditations, as it is believed that Buddha first reached enlightenment while practising zen meditation. During a meditation he discovered the answer to human suffering and that true happiness doesn’t concern what we have, but who we are. Practising zen requires a quiet and peaceful space where you sit upright in the traditional full or half lotus pose. Position your hands in the cosmic mudra pose, or hokkai-join in Japanese, with your left hand on top of the right and your palms turned upwards. Keep your eyes open, relaxed and directed about one metre in front of you, without focusing on anything in particular. With your mouth closed, breathe slowly, calmly and rhythmically through the nose with extra focus on the exhalation. Focusing on the breath will help to put you in a deep, meditative state, although it’s natural to experience thoughts, emotions and images; do not try to fight

Zen is the most prominent variation of Buddhist meditations, as it is believed that Buddha first reached enlightenment while practising zen meditation.

1960s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who described it as a simple, effortless flow of the mind towards happiness. The ideal practice entails two 20-minute sessions each day – one in the morning and one in the evening. Sitting in a comfortable chair or on the floor with your legs out in front of you, close your eyes and repeat a mantra or sound (a word that comes with an attached meaning) repeatedly until it fades away and you reach a blissful silence.

Kabbalah meditation or resist them, just return back to your breathing. Stay in this posture for 15 to 30 minutes.

Transcendental meditation From The Beatles to Hugh Jackman, Clint Eastwood and even Cameron Diaz, transcendental meditation has a wide and diverse following. This style of practice stretches back thousands of years under different names (Vedic is also used), but was revitalised in the

Originating in Judaism, Kabbalah is an ancient wisdom thought to be around 4000 years old and guides students to live more fulfilling lives by accessing higher planes of consciousness. It was only taught to scholarly, married Jewish men but since 1969, Rav Philip Berg opened the wisdom up to everyone regardless of religion, sex or race and it has become a global road map for achieving spiritual enlightenment. Within Kabbalah, the daily meditation


THE WELLNE SS MOVEMENT practice is called hitbodedut, which is less structured than other variations of meditation. Meditators sit in a quiet place but instead of silencing the mind, it’s thought to be a space to talk with God, expressing whatever is in your heart at the time, including gratitude and questions of help.

Mantra meditation This style of meditation is also related back to the Vedic tradition thousands of years ago, using sounds, words or phrases to chant silently. When broken down, the word ‘mantra’ can be defined as man, meaning mind, and tra, meaning vehicle. So the mantra is a means of transporting the mind from activity to achieving heightened levels of awareness with minimal interruption from thoughts. Some mantra meditations use words or phrases with intentions, such as ‘I am focused’, ‘I am strong’ or Sanskrit mantras with meanings intended to connect you with your highest self. By meditating on these mantras, the meaning penetrates our subconscious and flows beyond the practice and into our daily lives.

Sufi meditation Sufi is an integral practice of Islamic spirituality named Sufism, which is thought to be the path of love and an ancient wisdom of the heart. There are different meditation techniques used within Sufi, but one popular version is the meditation of the heart, where the mind is quietened by the emotion of love. Relaxing the body (either sitting or lying down), the first stage is to evoke feelings of love by thinking of someone we love dearly and immersing ourselves in that feeling, using it to drown out thoughts that come and go. Full concentration on the feeling of love eventually leads to a quiet mind and a higher level of consciousness. Most practices last for at least half an hour and are ideally practised early in the morning before we start our day.

Dzogchen meditation A Tibetan Buddhist practice, Dzogchen (pronounced ‘zog chen’) translates to ‘great perfection’ and teaches us to


By meditating on these mantras, the meaning penetrates our subconscious and flows beyond the practice and into our daily lives. experience life as though we are the centre of the universe, yet not in the ego sense but rather from the realisation of our divine and equal importance. Practised by the Dalai Lama, dzogchen meditation involves sitting in darkness and silence to avoid sensory distractions. Sit comfortably with your eyes half open

(naturally gazing just ahead of you) and focus on the breath. Thoughts come, but gently let go of them until you reach a state of stillness. It’s important to realise that meditation should come as naturally as breathing, eating and sitting, and should be practised with least effort.

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The journey toward health and healing 62 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH

Despite being one of Australia’s best known nutritionists, a healthy relationship with food wasn’t always on the table. JESSICA SEPEL examines her past experiences and discusses why adopting a holistic, well-rounded approach to wellbeing has changed her life.

My name is Jessica Sepel and I’m a qualified nutritionist, health blogger and, now, a published author. I’m dedicated to health; it is my passion and calling in life and I’m committed to walking the talk, not just talking the talk. While my relationship and understanding of food has transformed over the years, health has always been my world. I grew up in South Africa in a very healthy household. My mum is the best cook I know – she taught me what it means to eat well and why fresh, produce-driven meals and balance are important. From her incredible roast chicken to simply poached vanilla peaches, much of my childhood was spent watching my mother whip up wholesome meals from the produce we

MY MUM IS THE BEST COOK I KNOW – SHE TAUGHT ME WHAT IT MEANS TO EAT WELL AND WHY FRESH, PRODUCE-DRIVEN MEALS AND BALANCE ARE IMPORTANT. had in the fridge. It was simple, but tasty. My grandmother was also a bit of a health guru. As a little girl, I watched how she meditated, walked in nature and started her day sipping lemon water and eating papaya. When I was really young, she took me to a health retreat, where we heard a



nutritionist speak. I remember thinking, ‘This is what I want to be.’ Sadly, the balance that I learnt in childhood and that wholesome relationship with food was broken along the way. At the age of 13, I moved from South Africa to Australia. Upon arrival, I felt insecure about my new home, how I would make friends, as well as my changing body shape from childhood to puberty. At a time of uncertainty, I found comfort in the structure of dieting. In the short term, it gave me a sense of control, but in the long term, I damaged my relationship with my body. Within a short period of time, I verged on a serious eating disorder, which was the beginning of years being obsessed with weight and food control.

LOOKING BACK, I CAN SEE THAT I CHASED LOVE, HAPPINESS AND APPROVAL IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES. I WOULD USE FOOD TO REWARD AND AS A WAY TO PUNISH MYSELF. Looking back, I can see that I chased love, happiness and approval in all the wrong places. I would use food as a reward and a way to punish myself. But since I could never maintain the ‘perfect’ diet or ‘ideal’ weight, I was caught in a toxic cycle. Fast-forward a few years and I’m a completely different person; I now take a more gentle approach to nutrition, health and wellbeing and I listen to my body and give it exactly what it needs. I eat a wholefood-based diet that is balanced in every sense. I don’t do extremes; deprivation and restriction aren’t part of my vocabulary and I’ve never felt better. Adopting this approach to food was the result of studying nutrition for five years. I still remember sitting in my nutrition lecture, absolutely blown away by what I was learning. I quickly began experimenting with nourishing wholefoods


and using the knowledge from my health studies to understand how I could heal my body and my relationship with food. In my fourth year of study, I started writing a blog about my transition from a dieter to a wholefood eater, and my quest to live a healthy life. What started as a diary of my nutrition discoveries quickly transformed into a community of women who were going through similar struggles. I’d share my wholesome recipes, nutritional advice and personal experience with food and my body through blog posts and eventually released my first e-book with unexpected success. Following the popularity of the blog and e-book, I was lucky enough to be contacted by a publishing house who would go on to publish my first book, The Healthy Life, in 2015. Since then, the last year has been a whirlwind. From developing the JSHealth brand to creating new recipes for the blog, furthering my nutritional knowledge. appearing at events all over the country, creating our own product, writing my

second book and travelling between LA, Cape Town and Sydney, it’s safe to say it’s been a crazy, exhilarating ride. JSHealth has become a full-time job and business. It’s a place for women to come together and support each other. We listen carefully to our community through their comments on social media and via emails, and we create content based on what they need more of. It’s a very simple and powerful formula that really works. When it comes to health and wellness, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m willing to be open and speak honestly about the struggles I’ve had. I think being real means being relatable and I want to support everyone and help them live an honest life. After all, living honestly and being true to yourself is the key to health and healing.

To read more from Jess and find hundreds of delicious wholefood recipes, visit her website


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Hydration Station Sip your way to health and happiness – it’s easier than you think, writes NADIA FELSCH.

Water is required for every single biochemical reaction that’s taking place each second of each day in your body to keep you alive and well. Around 60 per cent of your total body weight is made up of water; it forms the basis of all fluids in the body – that’s blood, digestive juices, urine and sweat. But it’s also contained in lean muscle, fat and bones too. Being hydrated means we’re able to support digestion, regulate our body temperature, lubricate our joints,


moisturise the skin, deliver nutrition and oxygen to cells and also eliminate waste products effectively. While the human body is smart and efficient in its need and use of water, there’s one big catch: we’re unable to store enough for our daily requirements. This means we need to replenish our water supply as the body uses it up or we become dehydrated and our ability to perform the aforementioned functions efficiently is diminished.

The precise quantity that we each require is dependent on our body size, unique metabolism, what we eat, how much we move and even the weather (hello, summertime); however, the reality is that most of us aren’t getting enough water.

What dehydration looks like Some of the effects of dehydration are of the slow-drip variety while others are straight-up obvious – such as headaches,

OFTEN, WHEN WE’RE LACKING HYDRATION, WE CONFUSE THAT SIGNAL IN THE BODY FOR HUNGER. about your unique needs go a long way here. A big hit to hydration is the consumption of both alcohol and caffeine. In a nutshell, both of these choices interfere with the mechanisms that regulate water levels in the body. So, particularly in these warmer and typically celebratory months, it pays to take more notice of your water versus coffee and booze intake. Good hydration is about walking the line between more indulgent activities while taking care of the incredible body that you need to support you through each and every day as well. Fortunately for us, as most foods contain water, our body is clever enough to derive around 20 per cent of its total water requirements from the food that we eat. Another 10 per cent is a byproduct of digestion, leaving 70 per cent that we need to consume by drinking water.

Top hydration tips X Drink water when you wake up

dry mouth and irritability. But one of the most overlooked effects can be detrimental in an entirely different way. Often, when we’re lacking hydration, we confuse that signal in the body for hunger. And that can lead to a variety of other issues including overeating, unnecessary fat storage in the body and sub-par digestion (because remember, water assists that process too). On the other side of the coin, however, staying adequately hydrated with our friend H20 can mean that we feel satisfied,

and for anyone struggling with overeating, this can lend a helping hand.

Simple rules for hydration Whatever the season (though especially in the summer months), you need to be sure you’re drinking enough water. The Australian standard daily recommendation is eight cups (two litres) for women and 10 cups (two-and-a-half litres) for men. The variables are unique to you, so common sense and intuition

X When feeling warm or thirsty, substitute alcohol-containing drinks with refreshing alcohol-free drinks, such as the hydrating and delicious mango, passionfruit, lime & thyme spritzer on p.68 X Include a variety of high-water content foods in your diet, such as cucumber, watermelon, radish and celery X Rotate coffee and tea with herbal tea varieties X Make your water fancy in a flash by adding fresh fruit and herbs, such as citrus, berries and mint



Mango, passionfruit, lime & thyme spritzer Makes 2 litres INGREDIENTS 600 g mango flesh (3 medium mangoes) 4 medium passionfruit Juice of 2 limes 1.5 L sparkling water 1 bunch fresh thyme, to serve METHOD Blend mango flesh on high for a minute or until smooth. Halve passionfruit and spoon seeds and juice into serving jug, discard skins. Add mango, lime juice and sparkling water and stir well to combine. Serve over ice with a sprig of thyme in each glass.


Vegan Friendly

Dairy Free

Gluten Free







Refined Sugar Australian Free Owned & Made

Fructose Friendly


100% Organic

H E A LT H & D I E T



The universal love of ice-cream dates back to childhood memories, as hot summer days were spent with a creamy frozen treat or fruity icy pole in hand. But with a growing awareness of what we should be putting in our bodies, it’s hard to look at processed ice-creams with the same fondness. Enter homemade plant-based ‘nice-creams’ that are free from gluten, refined sugar and dairy, masterfully created by VIRPI MIKKONEN and TUULIA TALVIO.


Apple avocado mint pops MAKES 4 NUT FREE Like a green smoothie but in the form of ice-cream – how great is that? These ice pops are like little pieces of magic on a very hot day. 1 cup freshly pressed apple juice (juice of about 3 apples) 1 banana ½ ripe avocado, peeled and diced A few fresh mint leaves Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more mint if desired. Pour into ice-cream molds, add ice-cream sticks and freeze for 4–6 hours until firm. Remove the molds by dipping them into hot water for a moment. Serve and enjoy!


H E A LT H & D I E T

Chocolate-avocado ice-cream SERVES 4–6 NUT FREE Just add a few spoonfuls of cacao and get a rich, creamy chocolate ice-cream. Bravo, avocado! 2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or other plant-based milk 2 tbsp coconut butter or extra-virgin coconut oil, melted 3–4 tbsp coconut palm syrup or other sweetener 4 tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp vanilla extract Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste and add sweetener or more cacao, if desired.


WITH AN ICE-CREAM MAKER: Pour the mixture into your icecream maker and prepare the ice-cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve straight away or transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until ready to be served. Let the ice-cream thaw for 10–15 minutes before serving. WITHOUT AN ICE-CREAM MAKER: Pour the ice-cream mixture into a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for about three hours, mixing well every 30 minutes. After three hours, scoop into bowls, serve and enjoy!

Mango-melon sorbet SERVES 2 NUT FREE It never ceases to amaze us how you can make such a creamy sorbet with only fresh fruits. Mango and melon blend together beautifully in this recipe – like a charm! ½ frozen peeled honeydew melon or cantaloupe 1 cup frozen mango 1–2 frozen bananas 1 tbsp coconut syrup or other sweetener Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You can also puree the ingredients in smaller batches, which can make the blending easier. Serve and enjoy!


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Breakfast ice pops MAKES 6 We think ice-cream is a reasonable breakfast, especially in the form of these yummy breakfast popsicles! 1 cup mixed fresh fruit and berries 2 cups coconut yoghurt (or other plantbased yoghurt) 1 tsp vanilla extract ½–1 cup homemade granola Chop the fruits into small pieces. Stir vanilla extract into the yoghurt with a spoon. Pour fruits, berries and coconut yoghurt alternating into molds, and remember to leave some space for granola. Add the granola, press down lightly and add ice-cream sticks. Place in the freezer for 4–6 hours or until frozen. Remove the molds by dipping them into hot water for a moment. Serve and enjoy!


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Strawberry-basil creamsicles MAKES 6 NUT FREE These creamy, dreamy strawberry pops have a hint of basil for a nice surprise. You can also turn this recipe into a lovely milkshake. Just use cold ingredients and add some ice when you blend. 2 cups fresh strawberries 1 can full-fat coconut milk 2 tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener 10–15 fresh basil leaves Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste and add more basil or sweetener, if desired. Pour into icecream molds, add ice-cream sticks and freeze for 4–6 hours until firm. Remove the molds by dipping them into hot water for a moment. Serve and enjoy!

This is an edited extract from N’Ice Cream: 80+ Recipes for Healthy Homemade Vegan Ice Creams by Tuulia Talvio and Virpi Mikkonen, published by Avery, RRP $45.


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PL ATE L y n d i

C o h e n

Often referred to as The Nude Nutritionist, LYNDI COHEN is the Aussie dietitian whose no-nonsense approach to nutrition has positioned her as a go-to expert on health and wellbeing. We got the low-down on Cohen’s daily eats and the staple ingredients she always keeps in her fridge and pantry. Breakfast My day starts with a homemade cappuccino with no sweetener. After my morning workout, I share a large green juice with my husband. Later on, around mid-morning, I have a breakfast, which is usually a small teacup of plain Greek yoghurt with homemade muesli and seeds or three scrambled eggs, a quarter of an avocado and some vegies such as mushrooms and tomatoes.

Lunch Leftover salad and vegetables from dinner the night before with my favourite protein of smoked salmon, half a tin of lentils or chickpeas topped with feta cheese or avocado.


Mid afternoon If I get hungry in the afternoon, I opt for a handful of nuts, a glass of milk or a piece of fruit.

Dinner Dinner is usually homemade salmon ceviche or a piece of grilled chicken with a big salad and grilled vegies such as brocollini, corn on the cob or asparagus. I try to eat oily fish at least three times a week. Dinner is also my time to fill up on more vegetables, so I make sure there are plenty on my plate. I always make twice as much dinner for healthy lunches the next day.

Snack When I crave something sweet, I’ll have either a piece of fresh fruit, two squares of chocolate or a couple of fresh dates.


H E A LT H & D I E T

TOP 5 pantry items Chickpeas Legumes play a big part of my diet as they’re a convenient, fuss-free way to add fibre, protein and slow-burning carbohydrates to my meals. I throw chickpeas into almost anything including soups, bakes and casseroles, but mostly salads.

Plain Greek yoghurt I’m all about eating for gut and brain health, which is one of the reasons I snack on plain Greek yoghurt packed with probiotics. It’s such a tasty way to eat more calcium and protein, keeping me feeling full for longer. For snacks, I add a handful of seeds like linseeds or pepitas to my yoghurt for extra fibre. I often make a yoghurt salad dressing with lemon, tahini, garlic and yoghurt, which goes perfectly on salads or drizzled on top of grilled meats and fish.

Lemon You’ll always find lemons in my kitchen, as I love to add citrus to salad dressings and marinades for salmon or meat. The


zesty taste and smell is so refreshing and it is the perfect ingredient for healthy cooking because it gives so much flavour without making the food too heavy.

Salmon From improved brain function to boosting heart health, there are so many benefits from eating oily fish like salmon so I try to eat it at least two to three times each week. My favourite brand is Huon Salmon because you can really taste the quality in the Tasmanian produce and I love that the fish are sustainably farmed.

Tahini Tahini is a paste or condiment made from ground sesame seeds and it’s a standard ingredient in my cooking. Loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fat, calcium, B-group vitamins (for healthy hair and skin) and minerals, tahini is rich in nutrients and flavour, meaning you don’t need to add much to get a lot of taste. I often drizzle tahini on baked pumpkin or stir it through a warm couscous and rocket salad.











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Understanding your body’s chronobiology, otherwise known as your natural rhythms, can help you harness your full potential and thrive in your daily life. ELENA IACOVOU explores the four different types of chronobiology and outlines ways to improve your overall wellbeing.

Synchr YOUR





So you’ve got your new year resolutions written down and stuck to the fridge in plain sight. You’ve also meticulously planned the ‘how’ (to lose weight, transition careers, manage stress better) and the ‘what’ (to eat or go without to save money). Yet you’ve already begun to break these promises that seemed so doable just a few weeks ago. If you’re wondering what makes it so impossible to accomplish the resolutions you set for yourself year after year, the reason may have something to do with timing. According to Dr Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and author of The Power of When (Penguin, $35), the ultimate life hack and foundation of success that makes ‘how’ and ‘what’ possible is ‘when’. “There’s a right time to do just about everything and when it comes to achieving your goals and making lasting improvements to the quality of your life, planning around your own personal chronotype has the potential to make you much more efficient in making these a reality,” says Dr Breus. “Everyone has a unique chronotype, which is basically your biological clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythms or chronorhythms. These are essentially your natural rhythms – what your body functions best on – and by knowing and understanding these rhythms, you are actually following your body more naturally. When this happens, you not only enjoy much better outcomes to everything you set out to accomplish, but you also begin to feel healthier, happier and more alive.”



How chronorhythms work A natural, biological timing mechanism exists within our genes from the time we are born. While hundreds of different biological clocks are found around the body all in different places – organs, hormones and cells – there exists a master clock, otherwise known as a cluster of nerves called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), found in the hypothalamus, right above the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This master clock acts like an orchestral conductor, sending out signals to all the other clocks, ensuring that internal changes take place in coordination with one another, but also to ensure that we will ‘do the right thing’ at the right time of the day. This timekeeping system responds to light, as sunlight enters our eyeballs in the morning it activates the SCN to begin each day’s rhythms, which explains why we are most alert while the sun is shining and ready to sleep when it’s dark outside. Subsequently, throughout the day, further environmental factors and life experiences such as food and activity cause our level of wakefulness to rise and dip, not only affecting our behaviour and physiological needs but also performance levels. Put simply, chronorhythms virtually affect every cell and system of our body and by obeying our internal clock and keeping ourselves in rhythmicity to our wake-sleep cycle, we will experience the maximum expression of our biological rhythms at appropriate times.

Get to know your chronotype When it comes to bringing yourself back to balance with your biological schedule, there’s no one-size-fits-all fix, because according to Dr Breus, not every person’s biological clock keeps the same time. “Each person’s chronotype is based on their genetic blueprint, which explains why we all need different amounts of sleep at different times. We also have different personality traits; some [people] are more health conscious while others are more impulsive or easygoing.


A large percentage of insomnia has to do with anxiety or depression and by establishing a routine, it helps lower these levels. “Taking all these elements into account, I developed four distinct chronotypes, which I named after mammals based on their interesting sleeping patterns: dolphins (insomniacs and light sleepers), lions (early risers), wolves (late risers) and bears (somewhere in between), because humans are mammals, which makes it easier to relate.” When you’ve found your chronotype (see the questionnaire on p.88), Dr Breus suggests beginning with the sleep component, because once you’re able to change your sleep pattern to what it naturally should be, everything else begins to flow effortlessly. If, for example, you suffer from chronic insomnia, you’re most probably a dolphin, which means that falling and staying asleep is a struggle for you. But establishing a routine of going to bed at the same time and rising at the same time every day will improve your sleep. “A large percentage of insomnia has to

do with anxiety or depression and by establishing a routine, it helps lower these levels. This occurs because it gives you a lot more predictability to your ability to fall asleep and the chance to take control over that part of your life again, to say nothing of what feeling overwhelmed and exhausted does to relationships, careers and health,” says Dr Breus. A study by the American Sleep Association proves this theory. Routine lifestyle rhythms serve a protective factor contributing to the maintenance of highquality sleep – a promising resolve for the 2.1 million Australian adults who suffer from insomnia. In the same vein, no matter what your chronotype, routine will benefit every area of your life, as it offers a sense of control over your eating habits and a better comprehension of your mood swings. Once you’ve got your sleeping patterns down pat, the next step is to

effective digestion and absorption, which also helps us avoid eating unhealthy food at the wrong time – taking a few inches off our waist. “Indeed, the more you make small changes and follow the schedule set out for your chronotype, the more you ward off a host of problems, enhancing your overall wellbeing and good decision making,” adds Dr Breus.

Life in perfect timing Over the course of a daily cycle, our hormonal flow, metabolism, core body temperature, energy, cognitive function, creativity, sociability and athleticism, among many other functions, are governed by the commands of our inner clocks. Therefore, when we are in sync with our chronorhythms, we are interacting with both our external and internal environments in complete harmony, which is critical to our organisms’ proper functioning and survival.

Recent scientific findings further state that maintenance of a 24-hour intrinsic circadian period is a positive predictor of longevity, as in addition to our chronological age we have a biological age and the slower we age at a biological rate, this maximises our years of highquality living. “What this highlights is the fact that conflict within your body ends when your inner and outer worlds are in harmony with each other – you’re no longer fighting your body or taxing your system emotionally or cognitively, which is why living longer and better becomes possible,” says Dr Breus. “Additionally, your daily activities flow seamlessly and personal experiences take on a much deeper meaning because any sense of internal struggle dissolves. And on a more personal note, the closer you integrate your life with your chronotype, this unlocks a faster, smarter, better and stronger you with the willpower necessary to pursue and manifest all your desires,” he says.

tackle your meal times. Altering even the smallest activity, like the time you drink coffee, can adjust your entire day back in sync with the rhythm of your biology. For example, if your chronotype is a bear, then drinking coffee in the morning when your cortisol levels are up is completely unnecessary. Because cortisol levels begin to drop later in the day, drinking a cup of coffee then will give you the necessary energy boost at the right time and will make everything you do for the rest of your day feel much easier. Adjusting meal times to your chronotype also has many health benefits. According to a report by Cell Press, chronic desynchronisation of our chronorhythms not only decreases physiological performance but also carries a significant risk of diverse disorders such as metabolic disturbances (creating insulin resistance) leading to obesity and diabetes, but also cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. But through dietary manipulation, scientists found that we can reset our biological clock and synchronise our stomach clock with meal time, leading to




Chronotype Find your chronotype by answering the below quiz and then read on to find out what your perfect day could look like: YOU’RE A DOLPHIN IF YOU ANSWER ‘T’ FOR TRUE TO MOST QUESTIONS The slightest sound or light can keep me awake or wake me up. T



Food is not a great passion for me. T



I’m often irritable due to fatigue.





I lose sleep ruminating about what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. T



I’m a perfectionist. T



If you could choose any time of day to do an intense workout, when would you do it? a. Before 8am (1) b. Between 8am and 4pm (2) c. After 4pm (3)

b. Informed by the past, hopeful about the future and aspiring to live in the moment (2) c. Present-oriented; it’s all about what feels good now (3)

Do you nap?

IF YOU’RE NOT A DOLPHIN, ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: Keep a tally of the numbers to find your final score at the end of the multiple-choice options. The highest score will determine your chronotype. When do you wake up on the weekends? a. The same time as your workweek schedule (1) b. Within 40–90 minutes of your workweek schedule (2) c. Ninety minutes or more past your workweek schedule (3)

What’s your favourite meal? (Think time of day more than the menu.) a. Breakfast (1) b. Lunch (2) c. Dinner (3)


If you could choose your own five-hour workday, which block of consecutive hours would you choose? a. 4am–9am (1) b. 9am–2pm (2) c. 4pm–9pm (3)

a. Never (1) b. Sometimes on the weekend (2) c. If you took a nap, you’d be up all night (3)

How would you describe your appetite within half an hour of waking?

If you had to do two hours of hard physical labour, like moving furniture or chopping wood, when would you choose to do it for maximum efficiency and safety (not just to get it over with)?

a. Very hungry (1) b. Hungry (2) c. Not at all hungry (3)

a. 8am–10am (1) b. 11am–1pm (2) c. 6pm–8pm (3)

How often do you suffer from insomnia symptoms?

Regarding your overall health, which statement sounds like you?

a. Rarely, only when adjusting to a new time zone (1) b. Occasionally, when going through a rough time or are stressed out (2) c. Chronically. It comes in waves (3)

a. I make healthy choices almost all of the time (1) b. I make healthy choices sometimes (2) c. I struggle to make healthy choices (3)

SCORING Do you consider yourself: a. Future-oriented with big plans and clear goals (1)

11–17: LION

18–27: BEAR

28–33: WOLF


Lions wake up bright-eyed at dawn or earlier, start to feel tired in the late afternoon, and fall asleep easily. Most alert: noon. Most productive: morning. Naps: lions hardly ever nap. They’d rather be doing something useful. Four key personality traits: Conscientiousness, stability, practicality, optimism Four key behaviours: Overachieving, prioritising health and fitness, seeking positive interactions, strategising

A LION’S PERFECT DAY 5.30AM: Wake up. 5.45AM: Have a high protein breakfast. 6.15AM–7AM: Harness your mental energy, contemplate the larger issues of life such as long-term career goals, relationships, to-do lists. Spend a few minutes focusing your energy through meditation. 9AM: Have a small snack.

10AM–12PM: Sharp in mental clarity to make strategic decisions, solve problems and get your message across in meetings. 12PM–1PM: Have a balanced lunch, equal parts protein, carbs and fats. 1PM–5PM: Low analytical mental capacity. Engage in out-of-the-box creative thinking, listen to music,

catch up on reading and journalling. 5–6PM: Exercise. 6PM–7PM: Eat a protein-rich dinner. 7PM–10PM: Socialise or connect with loved ones. 10PM: Be in your home environment by now. Turn off all screens. 10.30PM: Lights out.


SO YOU’RE A DOLPHIN Dolphins usually wake up feeling unrefreshed and are tired until late in the evening, when they suddenly hit their stride. Most alert: late at night. Most productive: in spurts throughout the day. Naps: they try to nap to catch up on sleep but can’t quite make it happen. Four key personality traits: Cautiousness, introversion, neuroticism, intelligence Four key behaviours: Avoiding risky situations, striving for perfection, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, fixating on details

6.30AM: Wake up and exercise.

6.30PM: Eat dinner.

7.10AM: Jump-start with a cool shower, a one-minute meditation and a high-protein breakfast.

7PM–8PM: Catch up with family or friends over dinner.

8AM: Get dressed and out the door to work.

10.30PM: Power down. Turn off all screens and stop any mentally engaging activity. Read a novel, have light conversations, meditate, perform light stretching, take a hot shower or bath.

9.30AM: Have one cup of coffee. 10AM–12PM: High mental alertness. Brainstorm, creative thinking time, daydream, jot down big-picture ideas, make to-do lists, research. 12PM–1PM: Eat lunch. Do not skip! 1PM–4PM: Recharge. Do not nap. Do not drink coffee! 4PM–6PM: Peak alertness, most productive time. 6PM: 15 minutes of alone time to decompress.

8.30PM–10.30PM: Relax.

11.30PM: Go to bed. 2.30–4.30AM: See your wake-ups as completely normal so you don’t obsess on them or see them as sleep failures. NOTE: Because dolphins tend to be insomniacs and have trouble sleeping, practise ‘stimulus control’ to combat insomnia-related anxiety, suggests Dr Breus. This means consider your bed to be related to only two things – sleep and sex. Anything else keep out of the bedroom.




Bears wake up in a daze after hitting the snooze button once or twice, start to feel tired by mid to late evening, and sleep deeply but not as long as they’d like. Most alert: mid-morning into early afternoon. Most productive: late morning. Naps: Bears catch extra hours on the weekends, on the couch. Four key personality traits: Cautiousness, extroversion, friendly and easy to talk to, open-minded Four key behaviours: Avoiding conflict, aspiring to be healthy, prioritising happiness, taking comfort in the familiar


to speed up your metabolism.

time to make big decisions.

7AM–7.30: Exercise to elevate the heart and get cortisol flowing.

12.30PM: Lunch should be half the size of breakfast and twice the size of dinner.

7.30AM: Eat a protein-rich breakfast and avoid caffeine.

1PM–2.30PM: Take care of work that is on deadline and answer all urgent emails.

6PM–7PM: Physical peak time. Go to the gym, play with kids, run errands or enjoy happy hour with friends.

8AM–9AM: Go to work. 9AM–10AM: Plan and organise your work schedule. 10AM–12PM: Peak of productivity to get things done on time. Reward yourself with a coffee. 12PM–12.30PM: Take a walk

2.30PM–2.50PM: Power nap or find a quiet place to do deep breathing exercises for 20 minutes. 3PM–6PM: Peak mood. Use your positive attitude in meetings, interact with clients, make phone calls. Optimal

7.30PM: Dinner. 8PM–10PM: Brainstorm ideas as your creativity is at its peak. Have light conversations. Take a soothing hot bath and let your thoughts drift. 10PM: Turn off all screens. Meditate, stretch, relax. 11PM: Go to sleep.


SO YOU’RE A WOLF Wolves have difficulty waking up before 9am (they do it, but they’re not happy about it), are groggy until midday, and don’t feel tired until midnight or later. Most alert: 7pm. Most productive: late morning and late evening. Naps: tempting, but if a wolf sleeps during the day, he won’t fall asleep at night. It’s just not worth it. Four key personality traits: Impulsivity, pessimism, creativity, moodiness Four key behaviours: Taking risks, prioritising pleasure, seeking novelty, reacting with emotional intensity


7AM: Set two alarms; one to wake you up, the second 20 minutes later. Lie there in a half-dreaming state. If you have any ideas, quickly write them down. 7.30AM–8AM: Prepare for work. 8AM: Drink two glasses of water. Eat a high-protein breakfast and avoid caffeine. 9AM–11AM: Use the morning to consolidate and get organised. Your peak hours are yet to come, so prepare yourself now for your productive hours later. 11AM: Coffee break, no snack. 11.15AM–1PM: Knock off all busy work tasks that don’t require too much concentration or insight. 1PM: Have a balanced lunch. Your brain and power of speech are sharp now. At lunch with colleagues, you’ll be impressive and charming. If you need to snack, eat a protein bar or some mixed nuts.

2PM–4PM: Tackle hard tasks that require concentration. 4PM: Have a small snack. 4.15PM–6PM: Connect and interact with others. While their energy is waning, you’re wide awake and alert. Take advantage and attend or call meetings, make phone calls, present new ideas and have one-on-one conversations. 6PM–7PM: Exercise or go for a long walk. 7PM–8PM: Meet with friends and have a pre-dinner drink. Best for decision-making. You are up for anything now, so go do it. 8PM–9PM: Dinner. 9PM–11PM: Best mood of the day. 11PM: Turn off all screens. Relax, meditate, read, stretch, take a hot shower or bath. 12AM: Go to bed.











Yogi Life After attending her first yoga class, Ashley Galvin immediately knew that she had found her calling. Seven years on, she’s travelling the world and spreading the word about the yogi lifestyle. We chatted with the Californianbased beauty about balance, honouring yourself and living with an open heart. ON CHILDHOOD I grew up in Southern California. Both of my parents were always active; my dad was a surfer and lived at the beach. I danced, did gymnastics and spent a lot of time in and around the water, which inspired my love for health, wellness and the ocean.

TAKING UP YOGA I was 25 years old when I realised I wanted to live a healthier life, not just physically but holistically. I was lacking a connection that I knew was out there waiting for me. I attended the health exhibition called ‘Bodies’, which showcases preserved human bodies, educating the viewer on everything from the muscular system to digestion, the nervous system and much more. I realised how divinely we are made, and how much our bodies are capable of. I wanted to treat myself better and I wanted to feel better in my everyday life. I took my first yoga class a week later, and from that moment on, I knew I had found my purpose.

LIFE AS A YOGI Yoga has honestly changed my life in every way: it’s my passion, it’s how I’ve made my closest friends and relationships, and it’s what inspires my daily life. It has made me more compassionate and patient both with others and myself. It has taught me non-judgement, knowing that everyone is on their own unique journey and that we are all doing our best.

TURNING A PASSION INTO A CAREER After taking my first yoga class seven years ago, I knew I had started down my true life path. I dove head first, wanting to learn all I could about nutrition, heath and wellness. I had never felt so centred and conscious.  I wanted to share yoga with everyone I met and I wanted to empower others to chase their dreams and let them know they can manifest their future, as I did mine. I live at the beach in Southern California, where I teach yoga locally, at yoga retreats and workshops all over the world and online at The most rewarding part of my job is connecting with people of all ages and body types. I love seeing how empowered a person feels after class, with a smile and glow on their face.

ON MOTIVATION Nature, sunshine and the ocean motivate me. I’m also inspired by other yoga teachers, students and the big culture of people who are dedicating their lives to health, wellness and fitness – being the best they can be. 

WORK-LIFE BALANCE Since yoga is my work, and also my passion, the lines blur. I keep myself a priority. I make sure to take time out with friends and loved ones. I travel a lot and I enjoy life. I used to be a


INSPIRED LIFE ‘yes’ person and felt guilty for saying ‘no’. When you become depleted you can’t help anyone, and as I get older, I’ve learned that you have to take care of yourself first. Sometimes saying ‘no’ to business is saying ‘yes’ to yourself and your personal needs.

ON THE INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY I have students from all over the world that I’ve never met in person, but through Instagram I am able to connect with them, share a part of myself and my practice. They have become my yoga students and yoga family through the teaching I do online. The yoga community on Instagram is so supportive of each other, which is similar to yogis in a regular yoga class. It’s never a competition, but always an inspiration.

ON FOOD PHILOSOPHY When I first fell in love with yoga and health, I began researching nutrition and I devoted two years to trying every way of eating: organic, grain free, sugar free, alcohol free, vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, almost all fruit, paleo, Ayurvedic and even timing my protein intake. [I did this because] I wanted to feel what was best for me instead of being told that I should eat a certain way. What I learned is that we all need something a little different and there is no one-size-fitsall. Listen to your body, what makes you feel good and the way you feel in your yoga practice or workout after eating certain foods.

greatest blessing of all. We are given one body, so honour it, nurture it and love it. Embrace your gifts and embrace your uniqueness.


stagnant. The only constant in life is change. Being physically active and moving your body regularly.



I believe that health and happiness depend on four factors: Q Staying true to your inner voice. Q Keeping a close group of friends or family who support you and have your best interests at heart.  Q Trying new things and keeping an open mind, whether that is with new foods, cultures or exercises. It’s important to roll with the punches and not stay

Honor yourself: it’s not selfish to take care of yourself and put your needs first. Also, never silence your inner voice – you and only you know what is best for you. You were given your body, mind and spirit for a reason. No one else will ever have what you have. No one has your unique individual gifts. Know them, respect them, and use them.

Being Ashley Galvin What’s your favourite asana and why? My favourite pose depends on my mood, what I’m feeling and what I’m needing. That said, I’ve always been drawn to handstands. Strength is something that I’ve put a lot of time and effort into. When I’m on my hands in a handstand, I feel empowered knowing that I put the work in and knowing what my body is capable of. Handstands teach us so much: they build strength in the arms, back and core. They increase balance and they even boost your mood. They help to stimulate the entire endocrine system. Going upside down reduces the stress hormone cortisol, helping with anxiety and even depression. 

intelligently wants to move. It’s where I’m free of any judgments and my mind is clear.

What’s your personal mantra? Ishvara pranidhana, which means total surrender. Trust, surrender to what is and have faith in what will be.

What keeps you centred? I stay centred by keeping a lifestyle of balance. It’s easy to get lost in work or daily obligations. I am a scorpion so I can be very passionate and sometimes extreme with what I focus on. It’s important for me to keep a balance of work life, my personal yoga practice and time away from both of those, travelling and exploring exotic new locations.

What’s your style of meditation? My self-practice, which is vinyasa flow. It’s where I can flow, be fluid, feel without overthinking, move the way my body

What’s your secret indulgence? I have many: a glass of wine, a great cup of coffee and a day at the beach in the sun.

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY DIET I’m all about balance; I don’t have any restrictions in my diet. I know which foods make me feel my best and I primarily eat those. I don’t ever feel guilty for indulging. I love pasta, wine and sweets, and I also love greens, fish, vegies and whole, clean foods.

ON BODY LOVE I begin and end each yoga practice with gratitude. [I express] gratitude for my body, how hard it works for me every day, remembering that being able to move freely in my body is the


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Escape S Amidst crystalline blue waters, white sand beaches and spectacular rolling cliff tops, TATYANA LEONOV discovers Lord Howe Island, Australia’s hidden paradise.

Savasana is my favourite part of yoga class. After an hour of moving from one asana to the next, we all lie on our backs (in what is otherwise known as corpse pose) and close our eyes. It takes me a minute or two to properly close my eyes, as the view from this position is spectacular: soaring pine trees shadow us and through the branches I glimpse puffy white clouds speckled on a canvas of bright blue. It’s not every day you can practise yoga in such a pristine outdoor setting. Welcome to Pinetrees wellness week. Held three times per year with yoga classes conducted by Charlotte Dodson, yogini to the stars (Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom are former students), the week-long program offers guests interested in wellness the opportunity to learn what it really means to be well. Hint: balance is key. There are no restricted diets at Pinetrees (but the food served is both incredibly delicious and healthy); the

fitness excursions are all about enjoying the island’s natural attractions while on the move; cooking classes span everything from seafood marinades to chocolate; and the twice-daily yoga classes – and everything, in fact – are optional. Expectedly, most people who sign up for wellness week do so because they want to try out all the activities. There are 15 of us participating this time around and we all hit it off straight away. We’ve come from all over Australia for a diverse range of reasons, but our common thread is that we all simply want to feel better. You could come to Lord Howe Island for rest and replenishment any time of the year; it’s one of those rare spots where there is no phone reception, so you’re forced to unplug and consequently relax while doing so. You quickly get used to – and even welcome – this peculiarity. The island, about two hours’ flight time from Sydney and Brisbane, is only


MIND & SOUL The picturesque landscape of Lord Howe

11 kilometres long but packs a punch in terms of experiences. It’s an idyllic volcanic remnant – a picturesque land mass of mountain peaks and turquoise waters, luscious forests and white sand beaches – and staying here is about soaking up all this ravishing beauty while focusing on your physical and spiritual wellbeing. But wellness week is not just about yoga. Mornings start with yoga, followed by breakfast, then a fitness activity guided by Luke Hanson, who runs the lodge together with his wife, Dani Rourke (Pinetrees is the oldest accommodation on the island and Dani is a sixth generation islander). You can choose to lunch at the lodge, or you can ask the lovely Pinetrees staff to pack you a picnic, or they can even deliver a BBQ kit to wherever you plan to be come lunchtime. There are plenty of scenic beaches peppered all around and this is a wonderful option for families and groups travelling together. Since I’m here on my lonesome, I opt for the packed lunch option each day and head off to explore in the saddle (most visitors rent road bikes to get around the island), usually finding a secluded patch of grass or sand on which to enjoy my sandwich and salad of the day. After


lunch I like to spend my afternoons selftouring the island, swimming, snorkelling and biking to my heart’s content. There are plenty of beautiful beaches on the island, each with their own personality. Old Settlement Beach is a great sandy bank for spotting friendly sea turtles; Blinky Beach offers decent surf; Ned’s Beach is a snorkeller’s paradise with a plethora of colourful fish darting around the shallow water more often than not. You can rent snorkelling gear and wetsuits here from a shed, where you simply drop your money for the rental in an honesty jar. It’s the way things work on Lord Howe Island. There are, however, timetabled afternoon activities offered as part of wellness week too, including wholefood cooking classes and explorations of the onsite vegetable and herb garden, more yoga, and dinner of course. Guests are encouraged to participate in whatever activities they feel like and most pick and choose depending on how they feel. No one, however, misses dinner – a lavish four-course affair composed of scrumptious soups, beautiful mains (local kingfish is offered as one of the options most nights), tantalising desserts and cheeses to cap off the evening. Sleep always comes easy.

Morning yoga practice by the cliffside

Kayaking in the crystal blue waters

The island is a hiker’s paradise with or without a guide, and thanks to the signposted trails, it’s easy enough to explore on your own. I head to the boat shed each morning where Dodson conducts yoga with the backdrop of the sea and mountains. We ‘om’ our way through class and then ‘mmm’ our way through breakfast. We spend a few of the mornings hiking some of the trails on the island, climbing up Malabar Hill and trailing the ridge to Kim’s Lookout for epic views of waves slashing against the island’s jagged cliffs one day and tackling the lowland rainforest track on Intermediate Hill another. The island is a hiker’s paradise with or without a guide, and thanks to the signposted trails, it’s easy enough to explore on your own. I do just that most afternoons, meandering my way through lush tropical terrain or strolling along

quiet beaches while keeping my eye out for muttonbirds, red-tailed tropicbirds, sooty terns and noddy terns, to name just a few of the bird species around (Lord Howe island is a remarkable birdwatching destination with hundreds of bird species visiting or living on the atoll). The only walk you can’t do on your own is the Mount Gower ascent, a strenuous and challenging climb that can take up to eight hours to complete (including the return). Some of the wellness group participants take the challenge up and book to trek the trail with a guide. They leave before morning yoga and return late in the afternoon with scratches, bruises and good yarns… and they seem to enjoy dinner even more than usual.


MIND & SOUL One clear sunny day, we go on a kayaking voyage to North Bay. We negotiate the mellow waves easily, hugging the coastline as we paddle to the secluded beach (the only way to get to North Bay is by foot or watercraft). The days roll into one long, happy escapade. There’s more yoga with the inspirational Dodson, probably too much delicious food, rewarding hikes, mesmerising snorkelling adventures, cycling trips, and an afternoon nap one rainy afternoon. When it’s time to head home I prolong my packing for as long as I can, knowing that as soon as my suitcase is closed, my holiday will be as good as closed too. But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It seems that every second visitor I’ve met on the island has been here before, and Hanson confirms that many of Pinetrees’ guests are repeat customers. So, I decide for me it’s only au revoir and not adieu.

Gourmet meals at Pinetrees

Serene villa getaways

Hiking with a view

Pinetrees, a lodge of ensuite rooms and cottages, is the oldest accommodation on Lord Howe Island, managed by sixth generation islander Dani Rourke together with her husband, Luke Hanson. When the pair took over the property, they freshened up the design and implemented a number of changes, including introducing activity weeks – such as photography weeks, ocean swim weeks, food and wine weeks, diving weeks and more. Wellness weeks are one of the most popular options with three scheduled for 2017 – all with yoga classes taught by Charlotte Dodson. Prices start from $2,130 per person (twin share). See



Natural Health LIBRARY

Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer H EA LT H Y, H A P PY, P L A N T BAS E D






The people who make veganism look so, so good


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Laugh With Health by Manfred Urs Koch

The Gut Health Diet Plan by Christine Bailey

The Yoga Kitchen by Kimberly Parsons

Everyday Meditation by Tobin Blake

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Empowering women An innate interest in human rights and Third World poverty led 32-year-old Stephanie Woollard to start a notfor-profit organisation dedicated to helping disadvantaged women. She chats to DANAE DIMITROPOULOU about humanitarian affairs, responsible business and how to make a change.

Tell us a bit about yourself and when your interest in humanitarian affairs began… When I was in year 10, my parents took my brother, sister and I on a six-week family caravan trip up the centre of Australia and down the east coast. We stayed in many towns with high populations of Indigenous people, and I heard a lot of screaming at nighttime. I wanted to learn more about the Indigenous culture and history – which sparked my journey. After I finished secondary school, I went to visit two Indigenous communities: Donydji and the Daly River in the Northern Territory. My passion for social justice began with exposure to some of Australia’s social issues and history. Living in remote Indigenous communities made me want to understand poverty in developing countries and meet the world’s poor. I signed up for a trip to Nepal and was later asked back to lead the same trips for groups. I was on one of those trips and in the backstreets of Kathmandu when I came across a tiny tin shed with seven women huddled inside. They were all physically disabled and stigmatised from the wider community due to religious beliefs that deemed them to have been evil in a past life. After meeting the women and hearing their stories, I realised they were operating out of this tin shed with the bare minimum.


After seeing, hearing and feeling the women’s pain and suffering, I could not leave without doing anything, so I spent my last $200 on two trainers that could give the women skills to create saleable items.

aid model on its head. Our tour company, Hands On Development, leads study tours and explores this in much more detail. We bring people from all over the world to Nepal to experience grass roots change.

Tell us a bit about the ethos and philosophy that underpins the organisation...

What kind of training do these women receive?

Our ethos is to honour and respect all women who come to us in desperate situations by giving nothing to them for free, but instead building their capacity and skill level to take control of their own futures. Because of this approach, the women have gone on to have inspiring ripple effects, which have expanded our tiny operation of seven women living in a tin shed to now more than 5000 women. They are now teaching Westerners cooking classes, craft classes, basic Nepali classes and sharing their skills, which further builds their confidence, while flipping the traditional welfare

Firstly, the women participate in literacy training to learn numbers and comprehension. Most women who approach our centre are illiterate and have never held a pen. Literacy gives them the ability to count their money, save their money and no longer get ripped off in the local market when buying food for their family. Reading allows them to become mobile as they can read bus and street signs. Secondly, the women learn skills to provide them with an income. Awareness training such as women’s rights, health training and gender training come once they begin to earn and save money. Women form saving groups facilitated by Seven Women and then they have the

you are trying to help in the way you work with them. It’s also important to enable people through giving access to resources and providing opportunities to education, skills training so they can earn their own money and develop their own capacity, then share it with others.

You recently completed a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution from Sweden’s Uppsala University. How has this qualification helped to deepen your knowledge about humanitarian affairs, and what impact has it had in the business?

Seven Women employees undertaking skills training

option to start their own business with our support, if they choose.

How has employment helped to empower these women? Employment has given them self-esteem, power, control and income, which equals choice over their own bodies and futures.

What has been the most challenging part of setting up and running the business? Working in a context such as Nepal, which has power cuts, corruption and challenging mentalities that isolate and stigmatise certain members of the community – such as women who are disadvantaged – this causes much suffering. Also, it took a few years for the products to be of a quality that we could sell back in Australia to earn money to build and grow the project initially. Development was very slow in the beginning, which required a lot of patience as the women learned skills at different speeds due to their disabilities.

You were recently awarded the Rotary Responsible Business Award at the United Nations. How did it feel to receive the award? It was a fantastic acknowledgement of the hard work of more than 50 volunteers we have here in Australia and the thousands of courageous and resilient women we work with in Nepal. It was also a great

OUR ETHOS IS TO HONOUR AND RESPECT ALL WOMEN WHO COME TO US IN DESPERATE SITUATIONS BY GIVING NOTHING TO THEM FOR FREE, BUT INSTEAD BUILDING THEIR CAPACITY AND SKILL LEVEL TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN FUTURES. opportunity to speak in the general assembly to an audience of 1500 UN officials, not-for-profit organisation staff and Rotarians. It was a great recognition and encouragement for everyone who has worked really hard to make Seven Women the success it is today.

You’re very passionate about responsible business and empowering the underprivileged, both socially and economically. What do you believe is the most important factor for empowerment? The most important factor is to listen, understand and honour the ability of those

Learning about our world and its state of affairs has empowered me and confirmed that we as individuals need to create the world we want for future generations. If we sit back and do nothing, nothing will change. If everyone took action, the world would be a different place. Writing my thesis on women’s movements globally in history confirmed that grass roots action and community mobilisation matters and does make a difference and it’s women who need to lead the way.

What message would you share with people who are looking to start a not-for-profit or get involved in humanitarian affairs? Learn, listen and understand as much about the issue you feel passionate about before taking action. Also, take the empowerment approach rather than welfare in all that you do. Always stay true to yourself and your core values in everything that you do – that alone can make a great change.

How can people get involved and support Seven Women? Host a screening of our Seven Women documentary, Bringing the Light, apply to do a hands-on development study tour to Nepal (, volunteer with Seven Women, participate in a cooking class, craft class or basic Nepali class at our centre in Nepal. Also, you can donate or buy a product. To find out more about Seven Women, head to




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Byron Yoga Centre Since becoming a student of yoga some 35 years ago, John Ogilvie has made it his mission to spread the message that happiness is derived from within. ANH chats to the founder of Byron Yoga Centre on the practice of yoga and why it’s an integral part of health and wellbeing.

health and wellbeing] after 45, whereas if we can just do that little more maintenance in that decade, it would be a great investment in your own health.

When did your interest in natural health begin and when did you develop a love for yoga? I went from ordinary fitness training for good health to including yoga as part of my exercise routine, which was 35 years ago. From first starting it [yoga] to the next couple of years, it became the dominant activity, so aerobics and working out at the gym dropped away.

What inspired you to start the Bryon Yoga Centre? After practising yoga for around five years, I moved to Byron Bay and a friend asked me if I’d teach some yoga classes. Within a year of doing that, I opened up my own centre and that was nearly 30 years ago.

How has Byron Yoga Centre grown since that time? We just had a small room to begin with and we’re now the largest yoga centre in the Southern Hemisphere. We have a 30-acre property where guests come and stay with us on yoga retreats and teacher trainings, and we have a centre in town for public classes.

You’re very passionate about the yogic philosophy and way of life. What message do you hope to inspire in your students? Personally, I believe in working on my own growth, improvement and change, to become the best version of myself, and yoga is the vehicle to achieve that.


What’s your ultimate goal for Byron Yoga Centre?

I’m trying to inspire my students to have the same attitude – that happiness is not found through material acquisitions, but in focusing on one’s own personal wellbeing and growth.

Have you seen an increase in yoga students in the last five years? Why do you believe that is? It’s been a huge change; over 30 years ago, the attitude towards yoga was that you were a hippie and then gradually through the ’90s, yoga started to gain general acceptance. In the next decade, it was announced in The New York Times that yoga was the fastest growing industry in America and there has been a similar report this year in Australia by Roy Morgan. I’ve noticed that yoga has gained huge popularity in two particular demographics: the 25 to 35- and 45 to 60-year-old males and females. The only thing I can put that down to is the ages in between, the 35 to 45, are just a little too busy to do as much yoga as they might like to. That’s the age we can let ourselves go and it’s bit harder to recover it [our

We have a vision statement and a mission statement. Our vision is to have yoga practised in every town and village on the planet. On the one hand, we’re training people to be yoga teachers, and on the other hand, we run yoga health and wellbeing retreats so that individuals can come here and refresh and recommit to their health. They take these benefits back and share with their families, friends and work colleagues. Part of the vision is to get people to practise yoga more regularly. The mission is that people who do practise yoga more regularly become more considerate, caring and sharing – and that simple act will ultimately make the world a better place.

What do you believe is the key to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life? I have a simple answer to that and it’s a quote from Helen Keller: “True happiness comes from serving a worthwhile purpose.”

To visit Byron Yoga Centre and enquire about their yoga retreats and teacher trainings, visit

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