Canggu, Bali, August 2016

Buddhist Monastery, Banjar, Bali, August 2016

Yogi at Hindu Monastery, Kauai, Hawaii, March 2014


We often believe the arrival of certain things – more money, the perfect partner, a better job, bigger house or new car – will make us happier. But Harvard psychologist and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Stumbling On Happiness, Dan Gilbert says our brains constantly misjudge what really makes us happy.

In fact, studies have shown it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to how we feel and function. Being happy is actually a lot like exercise. It takes discipline and daily effort. But if you do the work, you reap the rewards.

We can strengthen our happiness muscles daily by adopting simple, healthy habits that make us feel better. Happiness is not an emotion that just magically happens. It’s state of mind you can create.

Here are some ways to start cultivating your own self-renewable supply.


Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. The Japanese call this “ikigai”. In Hindu, it’s called dharma. Knowing our purpose and feeling needed helps us connect with our communities. But sometimes we say yes to doing more than we can manage, with studies showing people who are time-pressured report feeling less happy. Prioritise things that matter most to you. And, wherever you can, practice saying no to the things you say yes to out of obligation.


It can sometimes feel like a challenge while you’re doing it. But a runner’s high is real. Exercise releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins that trigger positive feelings and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which calms our nervous system.

Countless studies have proven exercise makes us feel better, reduces tension, boosts our energy and improves our body image. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week or five, 30-minute sessions. Or just break it up into 10-minute bursts whenever you can fit it in. Every little bit counts.


Humans are hardwired for social connection. While online likes and followers may flush the reward centre of our brain with the addictive neurochemical dopamine, connecting with our loved ones in real life produces the stress-reducing, bonding chemical oxytocin. Face-to-face conversation and physical contact are powerful mind-body medicines that lower blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, boost immunity, relieve pain and anxiety and make us happier. Don’t mistake online connection for real connection. Screens and virtual relationships are no substitutes for seeing our favourite people in the flesh.


It’s been proven happiness is contagious. Spending time with happy people makes us feel happier and also makes us more likely to be happy in the future. You wouldn’t sit next to a smoker and deliberately breathe in their second-hand smoke. So don’t hang out with negative people and soak up their bad vibes either. Seek out friends who have a positive outlook and bask in the warmth of their sunny disposition.


Studies have shown when we give to others we produce oxytocin, also known as “a helper’s high”. People who volunteer are happier, healthier and less likely to suffer from depression. One study found spending money on others even makes us feel happier than spending it on ourselves.

The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, says there are three types of lives: pleasant, engaged and meaningful. While a pleasant, pampered life may sound most appealing, engaging in service to others and doing meaningful work will deliver more lasting happiness.


The good bacteria that live in our gut produce many of the neurotransmitters that affect our moods including 80 to 90 percent of our happy hormone, serotonin. To make key neurochemicals we need a diet rich in whole foods including complex carbohydrates (from whole grains and starchy vegetables), amino acids (mostly from lean protein), antioxidants and phytonutrients (from plant foods), vitamins, minerals such as folate (found in leafy greens and legumes) and essential fatty acids (from oily fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil).

The Beauty Chef’s BODY Inner Beauty Powder is packed with four clean sources of bio-available plant proteins, superfruits, vegetables, alkalizing greens and probiotics, with the added benefits of pure matcha green tea. Joining 40 other superfoods found in the wellness supplement, Matcha is known to increase metabolism, enhance focus and concentration, detoxify the body and boost the immune system, enhance mood and energy, and improve general wellbeing.


Feeling tired can make us irritable and impatient. Sleep deprivation also increases our stress levels, risk of depression and lowers our libido. Conversely getting seven to nine hours’ rest a night boosts our immunity, productivity, motivation and memory and helps stabilise our emotions.

One study found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience repetitive negative thoughts. Another study found sleep-deprived people are worse at gauging subtle emotions such as happiness or sadness in others – making them less able to get along with them. The Beauty Chef’s SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder contains natural sedatives, lemon balm and passionflower to soothe the nervous system and promote quality sleep. It also contains bio-fermented turmeric, rich in anti-oxidants to help combat and repair free radical damage while we sleep.


Keeping a gratitude journal sounds time-consuming but is scientifically proven to improve your health. In fact, it’s been shown to lower pain levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, boost motivation and optimism and improve your sleep, moods and life satisfaction. Start by writing down three things you are grateful for each night. Show your gratitude to others by sending them a card or giving them a call to say thank you. Or simply spend time outdoors and take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature whenever you can.


Which habits will you start implementing into your daily routine?




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Gift for your beautiful self, or family & friends.

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Go to Shop / Yoga Mats


Article from mbg - Vincent Pedre M.D. - Gut Health Specialist & Best-Selling Author 

Many of my patients don’t have time to cook, resorting instead to unhealthy takeout, prepackaged foods, or skipping dinner altogether.

Ultimately, I encourage patients to forgo takeout and hot bars. Instead, I ask them to preplan a little and prep one of these three uncomplicated dinner recipes. My approach takes a simple but nutritionally comprehensive approach to dinner that takes the guesswork out of calorie-counting: Fill your plate with one-quarter protein and healthy fat, and for the other three-quarters, add a large salad or vegetable side dish.

I also try to incorporate fermented and cultured foods to support the growth and proliferation of healthy gut bacteria. These include:

  • Cultured foods, such as coconut yogurt or goat milk kefir
  • Fermented foods, such as Japanese fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, or kimchi
  • Cultured beverages containing favorable live bacteria, such as kombucha

Eating the right foods, including cultured or fermented foods, keeps your gut healthy and prevents dysbiosis, an imbalance between favorable and unfavorable gut microorganisms that leads to leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and many other gut disturbances.

I’ve discovered a few other simple rules to follow to make every dinner gut-friendly and avoid overeating:

  • If you know dinner will be late and you’re getting hungry late afternoon at the office, have a healthy snack.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your day during dinner. As you strive to get a handle on your gut issues, I encourage you to keep a daily food and symptom diary. And in addition, keep a gratitude journal entry for each day.
  • Slow down and be mindful with your food. Some people confess to things like reading through social media, thumbing through their favorite magazine, or checking email while eating. These actions don’t let you be present in the relaxed state necessary for smooth and easy digestion.
  • If you suffer from gas, bloating, and other post-meal miseries, watch how much fluid you consume, drink less during meals to avoid diluting your digestive enzymes, and try a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement about 15 minutes before meals. These three meals are designed to be easy on your digestive system, but symptoms can still occur if you don’t follow these rules.
  • Try to finish eating dinner no less than three hours before going to bed to reduce the chances of acid reflux from undigested food still sitting in your stomach pushing acid up into your esophagus.


Research suggests that drinking spearmint tea twice daily may improve liver function and support clearing excess testosterone. BePure created this Sparkling Spearmint Iced Tea, a tasty non-alcoholic option to support hormone balance. A glass of this tea is light, refreshing, and best enjoyed with friends.



Spearmint Cold-brew Tea


  • 1 litre jug
  • A large handful of fresh spearmint leaves (organic) or from your garden
  • 500mls of boiling filtered water 
  • 500 mls of sparkling soda water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Ice to serve


  • Place spearmint leaves in a jar and fill with 500 mls of boiling filtered water.
  • Stand for 10 minutes.
  • Refrigerate your brew until cold or overnight for best results. 
  • Once cold fill the rest of your jar with sparkling soda water.
  • Add juice of lemon and lime. 
  • Serve with Ice. 
  • Enjoy!

The above recipe is compliments of Ben Warren & Team


Katy Bowman spoke at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Queenstown, New Zealand October 2017 on Move Your DNA: Movement Ecology & the Difference Between Exercise & Movement

Here are a couple of exerts:

Movement isn't only affecting your arms, legs, and abs; through a process called mechano-transduction, movement influences the behaviour of your cells.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented sedentarism.

There are local effects of movement, as well as systemic.

Within an active body you can have cellular sedentarism ie running with supportive shoes (your feet have restricted movement), having smoothies & juices instead of chewing whole foods (there is minimal movement of the muscles of the jaw, tongue & face). 

The key to increasing our personal movement lies in understanding how movement works & expanding our thoughts & actions away from exercise & towards a movement-rich life.

Katy Bowman has a live event this weekend in Wellington, followed by events in Nelson & Auckland before she heads back home to the States. For more details check out Katy's live events at






Ageing Breakthrough


Scientists have found a way to rejuvenate old cells.


A team led by Professor Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Exeter, has discovered a new way to rejuvenate older, inactive cells.

Within hours of treatment with compounds called reversatrol analogues, the older cells started to divide and had longer telomeres – the ‘caps’ on the chromosomes which shorten as we age.

The treatment is based on a substance found naturally in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes and blueberries.

The discovery has the potential to lead to therapies which could help people age better, without experiencing some of the degenerative effects of getting old.

Come join the creator of YogAlign & FitAlign, Michaelle Edwards for a 2 day workshop "Change Your Posture, Change Your Life" here in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Open to anyone interested in posture education including yoga practitioners & instructors, physical & massage therapists, movement & fitness instructors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, & wellness practitioners.

Michaelle Edward's will be over from Kauai, Hawaii for the 12 hour immersion workshop Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec, 9am - 4pm (if you can only attend one day please email me for details, thanks Leonie).

Learn the unique YogAlign self-care program with breath based neuromuscular realignment techniques. Create balance, strength & agility using safe, comfortable & functional poses & exercises. Aligned posture, deep core strength, alleviation of chronic pain & anxiety, & an increase in beneficial hormone levels.

This course is suitable for all ages & fitness levels.

Venue: Ohauiti Settlers Hall, 459 Ohauiti Road, RD3, Ohauiti, Tauranga

Cost: NZ$275 (US$200) for the 2 day workshop

For Registration & Payment: - Workshops & Retreats



Breathing is an extraordinary event. Not only does it bring oxygen to your cells, but also gives your organs, endocrine system & inner connective tissue a massage from the inside out with every breath.

YogaAlign's breathing exercises are designed to help you fully awaken, supercharge & recode your breath & posture at the nervous system level.

When you breathe in, try moving the ribs out in all directions as though you are inflating a balloon. As you inhale your outer rib muscles pull the ribs apart as your diaphragm contracts downwards, creating more space in the chest area & allowing the lungs to expand & fill with air.

As you exhale, notice the internal intercostal muscles pulling the ribs back together, while the outer muscles of the abdomen & waist area contract & press the air out.

Take a few moments each day to ground yourself with a few deep breaths, toning, lengthening & strengthening. 


Supermarket giant to ban plastic bags


A supermarket chain has announced it will be getting rid of single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018.


Globally, we use and discard approximately 1 trillion plastic bags each year. In Australia alone, over 7000 plastic bags are dumped into landfill every single minute. The effects of this are great: bags pollute the ocean, choke waterways and are ingested by wildlife.

Given these horrifying statistics, when Australian supermarket giant Woolworths announced in July this year that it would stop giving out single-use plastic bags within 12 months, eco-conscious consumers heaved a collective sigh of relief. Despite its parent companies’ decision, Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand did not follow suit – until now.

By the end of 2018, all Countdown supermarkets will stop giving single-use plastic bags to consumers. “We have been tracking customer sentiment for two years,” says Countdown’s managing director Dave Chambers. “Our most recent research, concluded in August, indicates that 83 per cent of our customers support phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags.”

Instead of offering to sell plastic bags for a small fee, the supermarket will reduce the price of reusable shopping bags to $1. Taking effect from October 9, this initiative is the only way to prevent plastic bags from being used, Chambers maintains. “We’re confident Kiwis will get in behind this change across the country, and we’re committed to making the move from check-out bags as simple for customers as we can,” he says. Other sustainable alternatives, such as selling compostable bags, may also be introduced.

Auckland Mayor Phil Gof has applauded the announcement and encouraged other supermarkets to follow suit. “If other businesses make efforts to reduce plastic bag use and the Government introduces a levy on plastic bags, we can likely cut around 500 to 600 million plastic bags a year out of our waste stream in Auckland alone,” he says.

With fellow New Zealand supermarkets FreshChoice and SuperValue pledging to follow suit, it is estimated that 350 million plastic bags will be eliminated from the country’s waste per year.




"The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow & gain wisdom, first you must have the mud - the obstacles of life & its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying & death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness & more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus & open each petal one by one."

Goldie Hawn


Before the invention of the chair, squatting was part of everyone's daily life.

Today, few people can squat without pain or injury. The YogAlign squat helps release tension in your hips & legs.

This is a pose that will tone your pelvic floor & abdominal organs & in particular, your bladder. In cultures where squatting is done every day, people stay flexible & aligned well into advanced age.

Prostate & colon cancer, knee & hip replacements, & osteoarthritis are rare in cultures that still squat. This pose also aids the digestive & elimination processes & brings a feeling of lightness to your body. 

Unless you are a seasoned squatter with excellent knees, it is best to use a strap for support in this pose, to keep compression off your knees.

Place a strap around a post or tree, holding one end in each hand. Slowly drop into a squatting position, with arms straight & engaged strongly through your lats to your hips & into your trunk. Activate your shoulder blade muscles to keep the blades stabilised & your neck elongated. Position the strap just below shoulder level, & keep your feet slightly turned out. Stay on the balls of your feet as you slide back, pulling on the straps while you squat with a lift in your waist, curve in your lower back & your entire spine & skull in natural alignment.

For further details consult your local YogAlign teacher or check out Michaelle Edwards's book YogAlign - Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core



If You're Not Eating This Food, You're Going To Have A Hard Time Getting in Shape

by Dr James DiNicolantonio 20 September 2017 mbg 

There are five main factors that determine performance. Everyone knows the first factor, and that’s training. Whether we are hitting the gym to build muscle or running to improve our cardio, the first step is always going to be lacing up your sneakers and getting active.

The other four factors are less obvious. Those four factors determine how well you perform during a workout, marathon, or an athletic competition. They are:

  1. Staying hydrated
  2. Keeping heart rate down
  3. Staying cool
  4. Maintaining blood circulation

What you may not know is that salt helps with each of those four factors—so much so that I’m proposing we consider it the sixth factor for achieving peak performance. Consuming more salt can even help to prevent overtraining, which may actually be caused by our tissues becoming depleted in salt. Consuming more salt improves those four factors by increasing water retention and vasodilating the arteries. When these two effects are combined, you are more hydrated, circulation and blood flow to muscles improves, sweat production increases (helping to keep you cool), and heart rate goes down.

How does salt help with hydration? you might wonder. Most tap or bottled water contains zero sodium, and this increases the risk of hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in the blood. Hyponatremia is a very common problem, especially among endurance athletes, and it can be fatal. We don’t just sweat out water; we sweat salt. We need to consume salt with our water if we want to reduce the risk of dehydration, cramps, and hyponatremia. Indeed, one study concluded that the primary cause of muscle cramps during exercise in warm weather was sodium deficit. 

This makes biological sense. When your body works hard, you sweat. And when you sweat, you sweat out salt. Failing to replace the salt that is lost drains your tissues of salt, with wide-ranging negative effects on your ability to keep going. For example, salt depletion can lead to muscle cramping, dizziness, and fatigue, the exact opposite effects that you want during competition.

But wait—what about blood pressure? All of our health agencies, government bodies, and dietary guidelines tell us to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. The American Heart Association goes as far as telling Americans to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Never mind that the average person loses around 1,200 mg of sodium per hour of exercise, with some individuals losing more than 2,000 mg of sodium per hour. And based on the above sodium losses, even if you are eating a normal sodium diet, if you are an avid exerciser you can still be at risk of salt deficit. It’s not hard to calculate how following the low-salt advice while exercising could lead to more harm than good, so you might want to think twice about holding the salt.

I’m often asked about whether consuming sports drinks gives us all the salt we need while we are exercising. The answer is a resounding no. Most sports drinks contain only around 300 mg of sodium per liter of fluid, four times less than the saltiness of our sweat (or around 1,200 mg of sodium per liter of sweat). The reason sports drinks are missing an extra 900 mg of sodium or so is because no one wants to drink something that tastes like sweat. It’s literally too salty, so the manufacturers of sports drinks simply leave that extra sodium out.

Closing that sodium gap is where you may find your competitive advantage. And dosing yourself with salt prior to and during exercise may be the best way to close that gap. The average person may lose about a half of a teaspoon of salt per hour of exercise in sweat. If the loss of salt through sweat is not replaced this may lead to symptoms such as exercise intolerance, muscle spasms and cramps, fatigue, elevated heart rate, dizziness, hypotension, heat stroke and even circulatory collapse. The average person may also lose about 50 mcg of iodine per hour of exercise in sweat (which is why I recommend Redmond Real Salt, which contains almost this exact amount of iodine per half teaspoonful of salt). Preventing the depletion of salt and iodine that occurs through sweating is a great strategy to help reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and even potentially hypothyroidism. You can drink the salt, or simply put it on the food you eat before or after working out. While I lay out a more precise salt dosing regimen based on ambient temperature in my book, The Salt Fix, this is a good place to start.

By Dr James DiNicolantonio author of The Salt Fix

Article from mbg mindbodygreen

ps I have just started using Harker Wholefoods Celtic & New Zealand natural sea salt enriched with NZ deep water sea kelp. It has 84 known minerals & trace elements & naturally rich in iodine. No chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Sweet tooth causes mass deforestation in Africa

A farmer holds an open cocoa pod at his farm in Anyama, Ivory Coast. 

West Africa's Ivory Coast has lost 80% of its rainforest as a result of a worldwide demand for chocolate. 


The ever-growing chocolate industry is having disastrous effects on Ivory Coast’s protected rainforest. Throughout the West African country, national parks are rapidly being deforested to make way for cocoa plants. These illegal beans are then mixed with legal ones and sold to big chocolate brands including Nestlé, Herschel and Mars, reports The Guardian.

With 40% of the world’s cocoa originating from Ivory Coast, it’s no surprise that since 1960 the country’s rainforest has reduced by over 80%. Where rainforest initially covered a quarter of Ivory Coast, it now covers less than 4%. This has severe repercussions on wildlife and plant species, presenting a gloomy outlook for the future; environmental group Mighty Earth estimate that by 2030 Ivory Coast will have no rainforest left at all.

Ethical issues also surround the illegal deforestation, wherein local farmers and residents lose their precious forest for chocolate bars they cannot afford to buy.

In light of the recent revelations, Nestlé issued a statement declaring they regard deforestation as “one of the most serious environmental challenges facing the world.” Chief Sustainability officer at Mars, Barry Parkin, agreed with his competitor: “Sustainable cocoa is too big a challenge for any one company to address,” he said. “That is why we are partnering with others in the industry to try and drive change at a global scale.”

Along with Herschel, the two chocolate businesses said they intend to sustainably source 100% of their cocoa by 2020.


August 31, 2017

If you're a woman who regularly practices yoga, a new study published in Environmental Health Perspective last week may have sounded a few alarm bells: Apparently, there are chemicals in yoga mats that can make it more difficult to get pregnant.

These chemicals are called organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), and they're a class of chemicals found in most yoga mats. So while your mat won't catch fire while you're in downward-facing dog, it probably is slightly toxic. In an attempt to find out what impact PFRs have on fertility, researchers followed 211 women who were trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The researchers tested for metabolites of PFRs in each woman's urine, and they found that the women with higher levels of these metabolites were 31 percent less likely to have the embryo successfully implant in the uterus, 10 percent less likely to achieve fertilization, 41 percent less likely to get pregnant, and a 38 percent less likely to give live birth. Yikes. 

Can you do anything about the chemicals you've already been exposed to?

If you hit the yoga mat seven days a week and don't love the results of this study, Aviva Romm, M.D. and natural women's health expert, notes that PFRs aren't only in yoga mats. "Flame retardant chemicals are everywhere," she says. "And yes, it's a real risk. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the ones we’ve been exposed to, per se, but we can keep our detox systems and elimination healthy and strong."

Erica Chidi Cohen, doula and co-founder of the reproductive wellness company LOOM, says that you should evaluate how much time you're actually spending on your yoga mat. "I like to get people to adopt a 70/30 rule," she says. "So if someone is working out every single day and using a yoga mat at a studio that probably contains PFRs, buy your own mat. If you’re doing yoga only three or four times a month and don’t want to make the investment, maybe it’s not worth it. So it’s really about how often you’re using that product. But we can and should do our best to avoid them whenever and however we can."

What you should know about PFRs if you're trying to get pregnant.

When it comes to fertility, Cohen says the most important thing women can do is lower their stress levels. "The No. 1 thing we’re trying to reduce for people trying to get pregnant is anxiety," she says. "While that study is helpful—because knowing more about chemicals and solvents and how they impact your fertility is always important—in terms of being alarmed, I wouldn’t necessarily go on red alert, but I would definitely look more closely at every yoga mat I do have and try to make a quick switch. There are tons of great natural yoga mats out there!"

If you're in the market for an all-natural, chemical-free yoga mat, you have options. Manduka has an excellent selection of nontoxic rubber yoga mats, as does Jade and Yoloha, which makes cork yoga mats. 

The reality is that while there are plenty of toxic yoga mats, there's no need for a yoga-related meltdown. After all, yoga is supposed to lower your stress—and you can avoid PFRs a lot more easily than you think.




Join us for Michaelle Edward's two day YogAlign Workshop in Tauranga

Change Your Posture, Change Your Life 

If you are Open to Learning & Enthusiastic about Optimising Your Wellness this Workshop is for You

Date: Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd of December 2017

Venue: Ohauiti Settlers Hall, 459 Ohauiti Road, RD3, Tauranga, New Zealand





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