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Yoga Diary

Fuck Cancer. Live Now! 11th of November, 2019

Each year the last class of the year I term the 'Gratitude Class'. This year the class will be held on Saturday the 21st December at 7.30am, with all the profits being passed on to a very special cause. 

This year's class has quite a special driving force, a client with whom I have worked intensely with over the past year. Holly has stage 4 breast cancer and together we explore yoga and all it can be for her in this indescribably challenging time.

My time with Holly has taught me so much and acted as a catalyst also for many changes that have now be actioned in my life. Read on below as I sit down with Holly and ask her to share a little more about life, cancer, pain and yoga.


A convo with the unicorn herself, Holly. 

Rhy: Give me the most frustrating thing for you about your cancer. AND the most positive thing you have gained from it?

Holly: By far the most frustrating thing about my cancer has been the limitations it has placed on my body to be as active as I would be if I did not have cancer. Movement and exercise have always been a massive part of my adult life, and it has been a struggle mentally to adjust to the limitations of my body – particularly when the cancer spread to my lungs. However, from this I have learned so many different methods to incorporate my love of movement and exercise into my life in ways that I would never have otherwise considered. 

Without hesitation, the most positive thing I have gained is an equal tie between a beautiful sense of perspective, together with a heightened ability to be present and enjoy each day as if it were my last. I no longer sweat the small things in life, as for me, nothing can compare to my Stage 4 cancer diagnosis. My favourite mantra at the moment is “what will be, will be”. My diagnosis has also given me the ability to REALLY and TRULY appreciate every single moment in each day knowing that you never know what tomorrow holds – so its best to really enjoy and make the most of today. 


Rhy: Most important things people have taught you / told you / shared with you in your life?

Holly: Last year, not long after I was very first diagnosed, during a private Yoga session with Rhy, she told me a beautiful story, which had the ultimate message of “this too shall pass”. The story she told me and in particular this mantra has always stuck with me. No matter how bad the pain of any given moment is – its fleeting. Nothing in this world is a permanent state. This has really helped me process a lot of not only physical but mostly emotional pain with cancer. I know that if I am having a bad day, it's going to pass. It will always pass. 

My mum and dad have always installed the idea that I can be and do whatever I set my mind to. I know this is a corny one, but quite often we are comparing ourselves to everyone else – we are never enough. They taught me that I am running my own race and as long as I am achieving and working as hard as I can be in any given moment toward my goal – that was enough. They also gave me a beautiful sense of belief that anything is possible – you might have to go about a different road to what you originally planned, but any goal is possible. When I was disappointed I didn’t get straight into Law School, my parents encouraged me to study Legal Studies, work to get straight Distinctions and try to transfer over. That’s exactly what I did. My degree took a couple of extra years, but I become the lawyer I always wanted to be. This flexibility in approaching your goals and regular reflection has allowed me to flow from being a full-time lawyer, while working as an Xtend Barre instructor, to recently retiring from all of my jobs due to medical treatment. I know my retirement isn’t what I had planned, but its what my body needs at this point in time. Now I have the opportunity to find a new goal to work toward, one less straining on the body and mind! 


Rhy: Pain, physical + emotional; how do you deal with it?

Holly: This is a hard one to answer. If I'm 100% honest, my ability to deal with pain has been a rollercoaster and an ever-evolving element of my inner self. Yoga and meditation is at the forefront of my coping strategies. Its what I turn to each time. If I can't physically move, I will always have the ability to meditate or even just breath. Some days if I cant focus well or I am particularly frustrated, I just say a mantra over in my head and that’s it. I am still working on the ability to be able to block out and really zone into a full meditation practice when I am either in a lot of physical or emotional pain. Other days when I am feeling strong I will do a few rounds of sun salutes, which always make me feel grounded and grateful. 

I try to exercise regularly and eat as healthy as possible. So much of our serotonin is made in our bellies so I try really hard to ensure I am healing myself from within. 

I also journal my feelings and thoughts quite regularly, which allows me to get the thoughts out of my head so they aren’t just going around and around sending me insane. I find a sense of relief getting any negative thoughts or feelings onto a page and ‘out of my head’. 


Rhy: Favourite yoga pose & why?

Holly: Easy – Warrior 2. This position gives me a massive sense of being centered. It's not about what’s happened in the past (where the back arm is reaching), or about what is going to happen in the future (where the front arm is reaching), but about being right in the present moment, centred and grateful for what we have.  Standing in warrior 2 also makes me feel courageous like I am ready to fight a battle. Its often a pose I will just stand-in, and breath through on a morning of treatment. 


Rhy: Favourite songs to get you moving or relaxing?

Holly: My favourite song to start my yoga practice with is and will always be Follow the Sun by Xavier Rudd. My favourite song to do a more high impact movement is anything upbeat and fun – at the moment it is a good remix of Drop Like This by J-Trick. 


Rhy:: Meditation, what does that look like for you? How important is it to you right now?

Holly: As mentioned, meditation has been an ongoing evolving practice. It is so important for me to stay in a regular practice. I find if I don’t, my ability to emotionally handle what life throws me takes a little beating. It gives me a sense of power and control over how I process what is happening to my body. Lately, it’s been a bit of a struggle to meditate without guidance because of physical pain distracting me. So I will often find guided meditations on Google to keep me on track. If I am not in any pain, and feeling focused, I will meditate and use mantras/set an intention for the day. I will always incorporate some gratitude meditation into my practice, because I firmly believe that no matter what the day throws, there is always something to be grateful for and we need to remind ourselves of this. 


Rhy: One person / One place / One food / One drink / One action / One animal / One word / one flower / One book / One feeling.

Pick them!


One person – My partner Paul. 

One place – Home. 

One food – Kale chips! 

One drink – a nice glass of Prosecco. 

One action – ANY movement. 

One animal – Dogs (I have two puppies – Romeo and River). 

One word – Love

One flower – Peony 

One book – The art of Happiness 

One feeling – Contentment 


Rhy: What’s the reason behind the choice to support the Breast Cancer Research Centre WA with profits from this special 2019 gratitude class?

Holly: Prof Arlene Chan has been such an incredible person for me on this journey. She is doing amazing things with the research centre and I really want to support them to keep doing those things!


Join the Gratitude Class 2019 - Or simply donate -


Stretch it out - a simple guide to releasing tension after your workout 7th of August, 2018

If you exercise you should always ensure that you are giving your muscles a proper stretch afterwards. Yoga doesn't have to be an isolated thing, if you can get down on your mat even for 10 minutes and move and breathe mindfully your body will thank you!

Here are a few key favourite stretches of mine after cycle class, intense workouts etc


1. Straddle Forward Fold 

Areas targeted: hamstrings, calves, outer ankles, back and neck

The Straddle Forward Fold is beneficial for stretching out your hamstrings, calves and outer ankles. Added variations also start to target parts of your upper body like back, neck, shoulders etc.


2. Low Lunge

Areas targeted: hip flexors, chest and spine

Cardio activities can be hard on the hips, so this pose is perfect for stretching out hip flexors and the spine. It creates a nice opening sensation that you feel across your chest. The pose releases hip tensions, whilst also stretching and strengthening your lower body


3. Half Split

Areas targeted: hamstrings and calves

Especially after a big run, cycle or just sitting for hours hamstrings and calves tend to hold a lot of tension. This pose is helpful for releasing tightness in these muscles.


4. Half Pigeon Pose

Areas targeted: outer hips, hip flexors, quads

Helps to stretch your quads, open up the hips, and lengthen hip flexors which over time increase range of motion.


5. Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Areas targeted: Groin/ inner thighs

This pose helps you to decrease your heart rate and relax – essential for after high-intensity workouts and stress. It stretches out groin and inner thighs reducing the chance of strain in this area.

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A Wanderlust first-timer... 30th of August, 2016

Wanderlust: The irresistible desire to travel, practice yoga, eat well, be green, appreciate art & create community around mindful living.

Let’s do it!


I head in as an individual soul, seeking little explosions of understanding, an affirming experience, and a smile from the universe. Wanderlust Sunshine Coast, what will I learn and uncover here? Here are 4 things I learnt as a Wanderlust first-timer.

1. Being a yogi means realising that we are not all the same; but wanting to hang out anyway.

First thing I notice, Wanderlust is not the set of ‘Clueless’ circa 1995 or any other American teen movie based on stereotypical cliques ie. If we don’t all look the same, dress the same and like the same things: we simply cannot be friends. We all have our own style, ideas, views and experiences both on and off the mat. I met many yogis over the 4 days, unique yet somehow in the crazy mosh pit, all strongly connected.

To name a few:

Me- 30, Yoga teacher & business owner from Perth, AUS. Vegan, bendy, loves a bit of yogi bling, recognises her obsession with yoga apparel and devours strong vinyasa classes with intricate anatomical cues.

Tom- Late 20’s worked in rural Victoria as a ‘bush track landscaper’. He practiced yoga irregularly but ended up at Wanderlust as his wife (the keen yogi) decided to pass on her ticket and lay by the pool. The poor girl broke her ankle a week out from the festival. Tom is tall, slender and dresses like a casual ‘Aussie’ bloke would. He likes to talk about his outdoor adventures, drinks beer on the weekends and looks like he has a metal rod running parallel to his spine in any type of back bend.

Lisa- Mid 30’s, mother to 2, living a family life on the Sunshine Coast, AUS. She has been a yogi for 10 + years, is gentle, kind, shy and eager to please.

Sandra- 19, Brazil dancer. In the midst of her yoga TT she asks lots of questions, has a stand out handstand practice and no fear.

JT-  30, Musician from NZ. He is a free loving, hug giving, without prejudice, tattooed guy. Tall, gentle and relaxed.


Five places to call home, five ages, five jobs, five experiences; One clique, one tribe, one family, one Wanderlust.
Lesson - Wanderlust Festival = A kindred clan, not an American school yard.


2. Committing to a simple structure serves me.

First, wake up then follow with any combination of the following actions; walk on the beach, enjoy a green smoothie, attend a rad yoga class, lay in the sun, listen to a swami speak, dance till your legs tire, meditate, hula hoop.

Once the day is complete, sleep. Wake and repeat x4 days.

Lesson - No car, no lists, no set-in-stone plans, no watch, no phone = Bliss


3. I really like being on my yoga mat.

So, none of the promotional material stated that at almost every yoga class on offer you would be asked to leave your mat! I loved moving like a unicorn in the sand, feeling the grass between my toes, dancing to the beat of my breath in circles, hugging the stranger across from me and being blindfolded and asked to crawl to the centre of a ginormous room.

However, by the end of the 4 days all I really craved were the words of my fiery teacher at home, “10 rounds of salutes, go, breath, press your hands down into the mat”.

Lesson - Don’t be fooled by the ‘normal’ sounding blurb in your wanderlust passport! Make space for your own salutes if it serves you, as it's unlikely you will get this ‘comfort zone’ practice in otherwise.


4. I am on the right path. I know just the right amount to be right here, now.

The first few moments in a new environment with brand new companions almost always invites questions,self-judgement, and perhaps fear. It was when the comparisons started in my head as I rolled out my mat for my first session that I decided, enough. I am here, as I am, right now. Worthy and vulnerable. I kept this mantra pinned to my heart during every offering thereafter.

This seemed to be a personal boundary that once set, allowed me to move effortlessly in and out of moments. Each class, connection, experience, flowed and felt spacious. I felt liberated by my current knowledge and excited by the potential understandings to come.

Lesson - Full and empty are both valuable. Feel your capability and vulnerability equally, from here you will grow.


Wanderlust is a community. A group of amazing people coming together, in common unity!

2016 Summer Festival season heats up in AUS with the Perth 108, one-day event, and Sunshine Coast, four-day festival Sept and Oct respectively. Join me at both!

*Tickets and details here-

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New Year's Res. 21st of January, 2016

No doubt this time of year sparks up a little bit of reflection and some forward thinking. Did I achieve what I set out to achieve? Am I moving forward? It is when we look back, we ask ourselves where to from here? 

Which leads to…New Year’s resolutions. Yup, we’ve all heard of them. We’ve probably all made them at some point…and probably all broken them at some point too. Quite possibly this year’s resolves are long forgotten already.

So are they worth it?
Are they useful?
And what’s yoga got to do with it?

Firstly, yoga teaches us we’re enough. That we’re not defined by what we achieve, by our weight, by our wealth – the unchanging Divine within us is always everything that we need to be. The closer we can align ourselves with that truth, the more we realise that resolutions like I want to lose xxkg or I want to be in xxxx position in the company or even I want to achieve xxxx pose in yoga this year really hold no place in our thinking. We kind of have to make an ‘un-resolution’…instead of entering 2016 to be ‘better’, or to change ourselves, we change our thinking and find a resolve to be more authentically ourselves.

But we can still have goals right? After all, tapas (our discipline) and abhyasa (our consistent practice) is what keeps us going and what keeps us focused on the mat…how do we bring that to our lives?

It lies in embracing impermanence – understanding that our world is continuously cycling through the three phases of creation, preservation and destruction. It’s through this flow that we can allow ourselves to let go of what no longer serves and welcome the opportunity for new possibilities.

We can think about how impermanence exists in our lives a little bit like traffic lights. The obvious: RED means stop, YELLOW means slow down (yes, yellow means slow down and not put the foot on the accelerator and gun it…), and GREEN means go. As inconvenient as traffic lights can feel at times, they get us to our destination. The changes that occur in our lives unfold in a similar fashion. There are moments in our lives that force us slow down. Sometimes we’re stopped completely – opportunities to find clarity and ask where am I actually going? And then there are the times we get the green light to move forward with momentum.

If we think about what traffic lights are actually designed to do, they’re there to keep everyone flowing smoothly, getting them where they need to go. When we truly understand impermanence, we see that everything we’re currently experiencing is moving us to the direction we need to be. Even when it may not feel like it at the time, everything is moving at the proper speed. Sure we can cheat it, try to race ahead and run the yellow light (or the red one…)…but ultimately life catches up with us at the next red light. We just gotta let it play out.

So let’s bring it back to the mat, because that’s where it starts. It’s not about changing ourselves, or about being better, about being this or being  that, but about finding a firm resolve that honours the incredible being that is Self. The universe is always going to throw at us what we need, when we need it (even when it reeeeeeeeeally doesn’t feel like it at the time). What we can choose to do is stay consistent in our efforts. Choose to keep showing up. Choose to embrace all the changes we experience along the way (the stop’s, the slow down’s and the go’s)…let them be the opportunities that await us in this exciting year ahead.

Namaste. Rhy xx

Image credit: Gemma Correll via Society6

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