How-To: Side Plank Pose

Side Plank Pose, VasisthasanaSide Plank Pose, Vasisthasana, is a powerful arm balance yoga pose. 
In this post I'll give you detailed instructions on how to perform it correctly, the common mistakes to avoid and a few variations you can experiment!

Side-plank-pose

I usually incorporate this pose to my practice because it’s great to strengthen your shoulders, arms and oblique muscles. It's known as one of the best core-strengthening pose and if you have ever come to one of my power or core classes you know that's true 🙂

Among its benefits... 

  • It strengthens the arms, abs and legs 
  • It stretches and strengthens the wrists 
  • t stretches the backs of the legs  
  • It improves the sense of balance 

Dos and don'ts:  

  • Keep your hips lifted and don’t sink them towards the mat! 
  • Keep your top arm long and straight, fingers spread and activated  
  • Stack your feet together
  • Keep your shoulders far from the ears
  • Align your entire body into one long diagonal line from the heels to the crown and don't look down 

A couple of variations... 

  • Forearm Side Plank: people with wrist pain often have a hard time doing side plank since it puts a lot of weight on one arm. Take the pressure out of your wrist by placing your forearm on the mat! 
  • Supported Side Plank: great for beginners or if you have trouble stacking the legs. Bend your upper leg and step the foot in front to support you and help you balancing. 

Caution: if you have serious wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries you should avoid this pose! 
If not...enjoy, resist, have fun and try to hold it for 5 breaths!

Namaste, 
Giulia 

 

    Happy Things

    What makes you happy?
    I've decided to list down a few simple things that sometimes we take for granted or we don't give the proper importance to...and that are actually a real source of daily happiness and make us smile inside!

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    Those are mine...

    The smell of the sea.
    Walking barefoot on the sand. 
    Clean and fresh sheets. 
    Cafes that have all-day breakfast.
    Great ideas that come to you in the middle of the night.
    Old movies, old songs.
    Sunflowers. 
    Cooking for someone you love.
    Feel the sun burning on your skin. 
    Passports and the conversations around "how terrible you look in the photo" and "how many stamps you are collecting".
    Sunsets.
    Sunrises.
    The smell of the rain.
    Baking cookies for Christmas.
    Swimming naked in the ocean (at midnight even better).
    Watching old videos of when you were a kid.
    Finding something that you hid ages ago and forgot about it.
    Running in the nature.
    Listening to my brother's songs.
    Airports.
    Coconuts.
    Playing with the curly hair of my best friend.
    Singing loudly under the shower.
    Girls moment.
    Taking millions of reportage pictures while visiting a new country.
    Sauna.
    Frozen cheeks and nose during the winter. 
    Savasana.
    Getting dirty and muddy while hiking in the jungle.
    The sound of the waves.
    The reflection of the moon on the sea.
    Asia.
    Dark chocolate with salt grains.
    Laughing until you can't breathe anymore.
    Eating fresh fruit straight from the tree. 
    Horse-riding.
    Tight hugs from my loved ones.  

    What are yours?? Does any of the above make you happy too?
    Try to make your list and see what's coming up for you.
    I'm curious to know...comment below!

    xxx
    Giulia

    Penang - Top things to do!

    Penang is a real hidden gem! I loved it!  
    It's the perfect destination for a week end if you live in South East Asia and a great place to add to your itinerary if you're travelling around the area. In Georgetown, Penang's capital, a fresh new cultural dynamic has emerged and you can enjoy street art, hipster cafes, typical Malay food, art galleries, trendy boutiques, fun museums... 
    Here the Top things to do... 

    Street Art & Murals

    Listed as a UNESCO’s world heritage site since 2008, Georgetown is famed for its diverse cultural heritage and has by far the most charming murals in Asia! In my opinion, one of the best ways to enjoy Penang’s capital city is to hunt out all the famous murals and installations. Walk around the streets (Chulia Street and Love Lane are the main ones), get lost among antique colonial buildings, and enjoy taking a lot of pictures! 

    The most famous artist is Ernest Zacharevic and his works have a 3D appearance because he incorporates real objects to his murals, creating unusual, lively, and engaging vibes. I did a sort of treasure hunt to find them all! :) Have a look!

    Hipster cafes & Street food

    The café trend is a worldwide phenomenon with no signs of slowing down and in Georgetown you can definitely find great spots! These trendy cafes have quirky interior design, mix of styles and a nice atmosphere. Find out my favorite cafes and Malay food clicking here

    To give you an idea, one of the best in my opinion is China House (153 Lebuh Pantai)
    You can't miss this amazing multi-concept dining spot! 🙂  

    Museums

    Usually quite crowded but efficiently organized is the famous "Upside-down Museum" that is worth to visit and take some fun pictures! Have a look at my pics below 🙂 
    Other museum in Georgetown are: 3D Museum, Penang State Art Gallery, The Camera Museum and Chocolate & Coffee Museum. There's no time to get bored!! 

    Also check out... 

    • George Town Heritage Hotel 
    • Teddyville Museum, Malaysia's first and largest collection of Teddy Bears in Batu Feringghi
    • National Park: I suggest you to rent a car or scooter you explore the Northern area of the island 
    • Monkey beach and Turtle beach, located in the park mentioned above

    Penang - Hipster Cafes & Street Food

    As mentioned in the "Top Things to do" in Penang, the café trend is a worldwide phenomenon with no signs of slowing down and in Georgetown you can definitely find great spots! These trendy cafes have quirky interior design, mix of styles and a nice atmosphere.  

    Here there's a list I did for you... 

    China House (153 Lebuh Pantai): by far my favorite!! You can't miss this amazing multi-concept dining spot. Combining three heritage houses into one fancy space, the China House includes 14 areas comprising of shops, a cafe, restaurant, galleries, live music stage and a bakery. Each section is decorated differently, each with a distinctive vibe, to enhance one’s experience there. The cafe section is famed for its extensive selection of cakes (up to 30 at any point of time) and is every cake lover’s dream. When night falls, local bands or stand-up comedians entertain the crowd. Give it a go and let me know what you think 🙂  

     

    Bean Sprout (35 Masjid Kapitan Keling Road): have a look at both floors and the hidden area on the right side. I loved the interior design! This café is a good option for a brunch with a menu that includes avocado toast, pancakes, different types of scrambled eggs etc... 

     

     

     

    The Alley (5 Stewart Lane): it hides under the facade of the shop’s former front, an incense shop under the name Kedai Gaharu Keat Seang. Though limited in space, the café makes up for it with its quirky interior. Check it out and try their churros! 

     

     

     

    The Mugshot Café (302 Chulia St): nice café famous also for its freshly made Bagel Muffins as well as their home-made Yogurts. 

     

     

    Penang is also known to have some of the best street food in Asia. Georgetown's streets in particular are renowned as a food paradise mainly due to its diversity in ethnicity and culture. There is no lack of food options here! 
    Those are the typical dishes you should to try...

    1. Penang Assam Laksa: a proud signature dish of Penang, the laksa is a rich and spicy, fish-based noodle soup with tamarind juice, chili paste, lemongrass and topped with prawn paste and mackerel/sardine flakes. I have to admit, it's too spicy for me ahah
    2. Chee Cheong Fun: rice noodle sheets with shrimp paste
    3. Char Kway Teow: flat rice noodles stir-fried over very high heat with soy sauce, chilli, prawns, bean sprouts and chopped Chinese chives
    4. Cendol: iced green rice flour jelly with coconut milk, beans and palm sugar  
    5. Nyonya Kuih: coconut and rice desserts, I LOVE THEM! 
    6. Egg tarts: like a custard tart with a soft-centered egg fill. Try them at Ming Xiang Tai

    Enjoy and let me know if you manage to try any of the above!! 

    Strawberry & Pistachio Crumble

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    Ingredients

    Serves: 4
     

    • 2½ cups chopped strawberries
    • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • ⅓ cup rolled oats
    • ⅓ cup chopped pistachios
    • ¼ cup almond flour (or you can blend 1 cup of almonds)
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
    • coconut oil
    • water
    • coconut yogurt (optional)

     

     

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 2 small skillets with coconut oil.

    2. In the food processor, pulse the oats, pistachios, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt until just combined. Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and pulse again. Add 1 tbsp of water and pulse again. The mixture should be crumbly.

    3. In a bowl, combine the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar and then divide the strawberries between the skillets and top with the crumble.

    4. Bake for around 15 minutes until the topping is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. 

    5. I love adding a spoon of coconut yogurt on top!

    Enjoy!! 🙂 

    My kind of Buddha Bowl

    Buddha bowls not only look amazing, they are a fantastic way to eat a variety of foods and get a lot of nutrients into our bodies! 
    I usually change ingredients according to what inspires me at the market or my cravings! This is one of my favourite. You can stick to this or get as crazy as you like adding and removing different ingredients! 🙂 

    Buddha-Bowl

    Ingredients

    Serves: 2

    ½ pumpkin
    120g brown rice
    100g red quinoa
    10/12 Brussels sprouts, halved
    1 large zucchini, sliced
    100g baby salad greens
    1 capsicum, sliced
    10/12 cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cucumber, chopped
    4 spoons of hummus
    2 beetroots
    Rosemary, origan, black pepper and the spices you like

    I know that many of you like avocado. I don't... but feel free to add it and make your own yummy variation! :) 

     

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

    2. Chop the pumpkin into squares and lay them out on the lined baking tray. Add the Brussels sprouts and chopped zucchini with the spices on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast until golden and soft (about 30 to 40 minutes).

    3. Meanwhile, cook the brown rice and quinoa. I've recently bought a rice cooker, life changing! ahah

    4. To serve, lay the baby salad greens in a bowl. Add the brown rice and quinoa mixture then top with Brussels sprouts, zucchini, roasted pumpkin, capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber and beetroot. Add a spoonful of hummus on top!

    5. Drizzle over fresh lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice) and finish with salt/pepper to taste!

      Enjoy!! 🙂 

      Singapore in a Nutshell!

      Hi guys, I've realized that I've been writing about amazing cities I'm visiting but never about the wonderful city I'm living in! In the past months many of you asked me tips and suggestions on what to do in Singapore and I have always reached out to you individually. Keep on doing it, I love it! And tell me your next holiday destination so that I can help you in planning the itinerary 🙂  

      At the same time, for those of you who haven't visited Singapore yet, I've decided to start a new travel category fully dedicated to this city. You can find it in the Travel section! 

      In this post I'm gonna give you a list of districts and must-DOs if you're coming to Singapore for the first time. In the next weeks I will dedicate one post to each area in order to be very specific on what to do, where to eat, what not to miss etc

      Singapore

      Here the best neighborhoods to visit walking and get lost in their vivid alleys: 

       

      • CHINATOWN: the main markets and shops are around Temple St. and Pagoda St. where you can find a lively atmosphere. A bit touristic though, reason why if you have to stop eating somewhere I would suggest to walk towards Keong Saik Road, Duxton Road or Telok Ayer that have plenty of nice bars and restaurants. 

       

       

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      • LITTLE INDIA: Serangoon Road, Little India Arcade and Mustafa (a HUGE shopping mall that sells literally everything and once you're there you completely lose your orientation. But it's worth having a look!!). If you like Indian food you can stop at Lagnaa in 6 Upper Dickson Road, where you are supposed to eat barefoot and sitting on the floor (on a pillow of course eheh). The adventurous ones can give it a try! 

       

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      • MARINA BAY & GARDENS by THE BAY: Next to the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel there is the amazing and green area of Gardens by the Bay, a 101 hectares garden. You can’t miss the massive Supertrees here. These tree-shaped vertical gardens are between nine to 16 storeys tall. You can also walk on the suspended walkway between two of them. In the evening, catch the sky show of choreographed lights and sounds or watch the picturesque view of the city skyline. In the Gardens you have also the chance to visit the Flower Dome that replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions and houses a collection of plants from deserts all over the world. 
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      • BOTANIC GARDENS: Singapore’s oldest garden is an UNESCO Heritage Site is a great venue for jogging, dining, relaxing or organizing pic-nics. It includes the National Orchid Garden, the Swan Lake, the Heritage Museum and the Symphony Stage where they often host outdoors concerts! Click here so see the upcoming events.  

       

       

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      • DEMPSEY HILL: my favorite area for a Sunday brunch! It's a green, hilly, hipster and not so touristic area in Singapore. You can find good restaurants (dedicated post to follow 🙂 ), interior design shops, antique furniture shops, art galleries and much more. You can also take a stroll along any of its walking trails (formerly this area was a nutmeg plantation, then re-purposed as the military camp until 2007 when it was transformed in a tranquil hideaway where you can dine, relax, shop and enjoy a nice walk). 
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      • ORCHARD RD & SOMERSET RD: for those of you who want to do shopping, this is the main area, full of shops and malls. The most famous is ION.

       

       

      Hope you will enjoy and don't forget to subscribe to my blog to receive the upcoming articles! 

      Xxx 

      Giulia 

      4 Must-Do's in Margaret River

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      Margaret River is a small town location in the South West of Western Australia, about 300 kilometres south of Perth. “Margs”, as the locals call it, is known for legendary surfing, breathtaking wineries, and magical nature views. The annual Margaret River Wine Regional Festival is a wine and food lovers paradise, and brings in thousands of tourists and locals each year. I spent four days driving along Margaret River and I must admit that it turned out to be of my favorite trips of 2017!

      Stunning scenery, great food and wine, friendly people and breath-taking nature. What else do you need?

      Here are 4 dreamy tips to include in your trip to Margaret River!

      1. ORGANIC FARMS

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      Spending your first days on the farms in the Margaret River is an amazing experience for all the nature lovers out there! I highly suggest sleeping at the Fair Harvest Organic Farm, either in the gyspy truck or the Bohemian tents. The farm aims to inspire people to grow their own produce and learn how to live a more sustainable life. You can have a walk in the fruit and vegetable orchard, shower under the stars in a really wild and natural “compost shower”, have lunch in the garden eating super fresh organic products, and much more. The location is also perfect since it’s less than 10 minutes’ drive from the ocean!

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      Another farm that is perfect for a delicious breakfast or lunch is the Berry Farm. On the way to this farm you will have the chance to do a chocolate tasting at Temper Temper and visit the Yahava Koffee Work, both located in Rosa Brook Road in Margaret River town.

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      2. WINERIES

      Margaret River is famous for their wineries, and it rivals the likings of Italy, France, and Napa! There are hundreds of delectable wineries from Yallingup to Augusta and everybody can find a delectable wine to sip on while relaxing in the sun.

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      Here are four wineries that I can safely say will amaze you:

      1. Vasse Felix is a perfect place for an afternoon lunch and wine tasting and is open from 10am to 5pm. They do a daily winery tour at 3pm that gives you the opportunity to tour the vineyard and talk with a sommelier!
      2. The chardonnay selection at Cullen Wines is absolutely delectable.
      3. Wise Wine is famous for being the only winery in the Margaret River region with ocean views and is open for lunch and two rounds of wine tasting a day (9.30 and 5.30).
      4. Palmer Wines has won over 50 national and international awards for their stellar wines. The winery in Dunsborough is also one of the few wineries that is open also for dinner! Their alfresco dining and italian foods make for an amazing end to a wine tour in the Margaret River.
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      3. SURF AND BEACH

      Even though every beach in this area is wonderful, my advice to you is to make sure to stop at least at these four:

      Smith’s Beach in Yallingup: Enjoy white sand and blue ocean, and if you’re lucky you’ll have the chance to swim with dolphins! Swimming with these majestic creatures was a once in a lifetime experience, and much better in the ocean compared to in a pool!

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      Surfers Point in Prevelly: This surfers paradise is close to the Margaret River Mouth. Here you can surf, windsurf, or simply enjoy the beach and the Australian vibes! According to the day and time, you’ll find two trucks selling either coffee, the Combi Coffee or fish and chips, Hooked Up. Grab a snack and enjoy one of the best sunset you can have in Western Australia!

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      Gnarabup Beach is a perfect place to swim in the blue ocean and have breakfast/lunch at the White Elephant Beach Café. Another cosy bar there that is better for dinner is The Common.

      Hamelin Bay, near Karridale, is the best place to go if you want to see the stingrays surface close to shore!

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      4. LIGHTHOUSES

      The two famous lighthouse are located at the opposite capes of the Margaret River. The Cape Naturaliste in the north part of the town and about 13 minutes’ drive from Dunsborough. My favorite was the Cape Leeuwin in the South, only about 10 minutes’ drive from Augusta!

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      Enjoy!! And let me know your feedback once back :) 

      Byron Bay - My Favourite Spots

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      Hi guys! It has been a while since I posted my last article on the blog! I’ve been super busy with yoga classes, travelling and working! But I’m still here and I will soon share with you a few new exciting projects I’m working on!
      Meanwhile, I wanted to give you tips and inspirations for your next holiday telling you about my recent trip to Byron Bay!

      I fell in love with Australia the first time I visited this amazing country and it keeps on charming me every time more.

      Here I’ve selected for you my favorite spots in Byron Bay, from delicious cafes where to indulge in super tasty dishes, to fantastic yoga studios where to reconnect with yourself and create positive energy! Enjoy :-) 

      Breakfast/Lunch

      Cool and hipster spot where to relax for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Definitely my favourite in the city centre! Highly recommended: Coconut quinoa porridge, smashed avocado toast and beef/kernel/beetroot salad!

      Next to Bayleaf Café, Mediterranean restaurant open for both lunch and dinner.

      Great spot on the beach where to grab a coffee or enjoy a Sunday breakfast.

      Beautiful café with ocean view. Great location and atmosphere.

      Easy and tasty spot for a quick lunch or take away! Yummy poke bowls with fresh raw fish. Vegetarian options available.

      Grab your coffee/tea/organic smoothie or enjoy a delicious vegan lunch! Tasty raw options included in the menu!

      Something different… The Farm!

      The Farm, this is for sure my favourite spot outside the city centre! A real bucolic paradise where to lose yourself… Animals, plants, one restaurant serving tempting fresh food, a colourful florist, a dedicated space for workshops and much more…

      Dinner

      Byron Fresh

      Great food, vibrant atmosphere and perfect location for a dinner in town.

      Balcony

      Book a table on the balcony facing the street and enjoy the atmosphere with a glass of wine!

      Sunday Market

      Every 1st Sunday of the month don’t miss this super cool market in Byron Bay! Clothes, food stalls, jewelry, furniture, souvenirs and live bands performing from 8am to 3pm: Byron Bay Community Market.

      Yoga

      If you’re lucky to be in Byron Bay when Fee is teaching, go for that!

      Last Special Activity

      Do you like horse-riding and you’ve always dreamt of a ride by the beach? Check this out!! Zephyr Horses !