Wine vacations for yogis

HI guys! My name is Alyssa aka Tipsy. I am so excited to be a part of Circ-om-navigate. When asked to write an introductory post, I knew right away what I wanted to share with you guys. I can honestly say I have learned more about history, cultures, climates, and lands in my wine classes than in any other class I have ever taken.

Studying wine tourism has showed me many similarities between winos and yogis. First off wine and yoga both bear fruits of transformation. Just like the vines that transform from flowering buds with time, patience and a lot of love you will find yourself with nature’s sweet nectar of bliss. Yoga allows you to break down walls and emotions in order to rebuild a stronger, mindful self, ultimately changing you to the best version of your self. Yoga teaches us to slow down and be present in the now during class hopefully leading us to take that philosophy with us in our daily life. 

Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River, Western Australia

Similarly wine to teaches us to slow down, when tasting we observe, swirl, taste, review, this process relaxes the mind and keeps us present. We engage out senses turning into our true thoughts and feelings. Both wine and yoga can change the way we look at the world, appreciating nature’s divinity. Plus I like to believe just how wine ages gracefully and deliciously so will yogis. 

That being said I wanted to plan my next vacation around my two loves; Wine & Yoga. Here is my list of destinations that will satisfy my thirst for wine and yoga...

   Margaret River - Located in Australia's south west region, housing roughly 215 wineries. Mostly boutique size wine makers. This region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production,  yet it produces over 20 percent of Australia's premium wine market. Margaret River wine region is located just 2 hrs from Perth, these luscious vineyards sit along the Indian ocean and giant forest. Whether its whale watching, surfing, yoga classes/retreats, hiking, wine tasting, or cave exploring that’s on your agenda you have come to the right place.

Check out for more information on accommodations, events, itineraries and more information on this magical area of Australia.

Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California

   Sonoma County - Sonoma County is California's second best known wine area, that lays adjacent to Napa valley. Sonoma is home to one of the most diverse wine regions in the world. Surrounded by mountains, 50-plus miles of Pacific coastline, oak filled hills, and sun-drenched valleys which inflicts its diversity to the wines that come from this area. California is king not only to wine but a healthy active life style. Sonoma host many retreats, and is home is many studios that take the practice into the vineyard.

   Mendoza, Argentina - Located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza is Argentinas largest and most important wine region, accounting for 70% of the country's annual wine production. Malbec has found its new kingdom in Mendoza.  Due to its unique setting, laying 2600-3900ft above sea level, this altitude creates hot dry days followed by colder windy nights. This cooling-off period slows ripening, extending the growing season and contributing rich, ripe flavors to the grapes. Aside from sipping, Mendoza offers plenty of adventure like mountaineering, hiking, rafting and horseback riding.   

Provence, France

Provence, France

   Provence, France  - Dream of sipping Rosé under sun drenched olive groves, orchards, wild herbs, vineyards and antique stone villages? Seeking an historical wine growing region that dates back some 2,600 years? This unique Mediterranean land was once home to ancient Greeks, Romans, Gauls, Catalans, and Savoyards. The diversity of these ancient people gives Provence is unmatchable culture that is so prominent today. Rosé wine accounts for more than half of the production of Provençal wine. With its Mediterranean climate (mild winters and very warm summers), you'll spend your days sun bathing by the pool or sea sipping Rosé and nights indulging in local cuisine drinking fine wine under the stars.

Make sure to check out Alyssa's Ambassador profile (link below) & follow her on Instagram!

My yoga and life journey adventure: The packing and planning phase!!

So I came to the conclusion a few months ago that it’s time to dig deeper and spread awareness, love and peace to the world! I’ve always had the yearning to travel the world and help people along the way.

I began my journey by looking into different sites that are for yoga jobs internationally. In the process, I came across a website called #YogaTrade and within a few minutes of setting up an account and paying a small fee, I was exposed to retreats, companies, people and more!

This was a an aha moment for me 😄

So like anyone would do, I searched for interests and sent my information off.

After waiting with full on excitement for about a day, I was responded to by a few places!

And so my trip planning began.

I started thinking about what I would need on this nonspecific time limited journey…

“what will the weather be like?”

“what clothes do I need, will there be a bathroom readily available, Is there INTERNET, what can I actually pack on the plane, what is this 3-1-1 thing, how long are these flights going to be???"

On top of the normal things, I also thought a lot about hygiene products...

"oh crap, how many tampons will I need and how much will that cost… How many razors…soap…deodorant…toothpaste…"

I was so bombarded with questions that I began to search for answers and simple/inexpensive solutions.

1.     What is 3-1-1?

These three numbers refer to the liquid based items in carry-on baggage regulation for TSA. The 3 represents three ounces (3.4oz) container, 1 quart size ziplock bag and 1 quart. This quart size bag can be filled with as many 3.4 oz containers the flyer wants as long as it can zip up.

2.     Is there internet?

There may be time that the area you are in will not have internet activity. This can be using the data from a wireless provider or just waiting until you get to a wifi area.


3.      Razors, Soap, Deodorant, Toothpaste and feminine hygiene products.

This can be a very tantalizing thing to think about, especially when you are traveling for long periods of time. Thus can be easily resolved by buying in bulk in the travel size. has regular items as well as natural items that can be purchased at a low price.

The razors may become an issue because of the lovely TSA regulations! If you are checking a bag, then you will be fine. If you are just taking carry-on bags then I’d suggest either purchasing an epilator (pretty much an electric tweezer) or just waiting until you get into the airport or destination and buy some there.

Now for the tampons, pads and panty liners! You can buy a bunch of pads/tampons and liners and try to just stuff them into your bag. If you know you will be carrying that bag and want everything you need, space will become an issue! A simple solution for this is to get reusable items. Menstrual cups instead of tampons, reusable pads and liners instead of disposable. There are websites that give tons of information about them. is great and general searches in your search engine for the pads will suffice! The decision to choose which is best for you is entirely up to the individual!

I got the largest carry on size bag from and it will hold everything for the next nonspecific time limit.

I started finding travel size natural items in bulk, I purchased Tom’s Soap and Toothpaste because I am living the most natural I can.

As for the tampons, I had to think realistically lol there is no way I could carry all of that stuff so I thought about some items that are natural, reusable and better for a woman’s body than the disposable items. As mentioned above, there are Menstrual Cups and reusable pads available and they have actually been around for a while!

So now that I’ve gotten everything from the bag, purse, hygiene items, few clothes and tickets…I realized I have nothing for teaching yoga!

Thus began my search for travel yoga mats and a water bottle which sprung the realization that the yoga store industry is making loads of money due to the extremely high prices of EVERYTHING!!!! LOL

In the end, I found my bag (Northpole), items to go into the bag, my mat (Manduka Eko Superlite, which can be folded into the bag/purse), a 32oz water bottle that folds up when not in use and of course, my sanity.

Next experience will be the first trip to an Island across the world!

Let’s see what happens next…

Stay tuned for more from Shawnice's yoga journey & make sure to check out her Ambassador Profile - link below :-)

Yoga during pregnancy - SECOND TRIMESTER: “Energy is back and props are my closest friends!”

Parsvokonasana (Side Angle Pose)

Parsvokonasana (Side Angle Pose)

For most women, this is the “honeymoon” period.  You will have your energy back and hopefully the nausea is gone (or less).  The growing belly will require some modifications in poses during this time period.  As the belly gets bigger, your feet should be hips width or wider especially on the latter part of this trimester.  Mountain pose (Tadasana), all the way down to standing or sitting forward folds, and even Fierce pose (Utkatasana), feet should widen to accommodate the growing uterus which is now moving to the abdominal cavity.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

As for twists, this should happen higher in the thoracic region (chest region).  So for example, in prayer hand twist during Utkatasana, you can face the same direction as the others but instead of prayers hands, spread one arm forward and one arm back twisting on the upper part of the body.  Open twists or twisting to the same side is also advisable, i.e. Modified Marischyasana A (twist only) you would be facing the other direction compared to non-pregnant yogis.

Ardha Ustrasana (Half Camel Pose)

Ardha Ustrasana (Half Camel Pose)

As for engaging your bandhas, the Uddiyana Bandha (upward flying lock) should be released downward in preparation for labor and since the belly needs space to grow, actively tightening and lifting the abdominal muscles may be unnecessary. This is why inversions may not be comfortable or advisable especially during the later part of this trimester.  However, there is room for this and exceptions as I have seen seasoned yogis practicing inversions very comfortably throughout this trimester and later.  If you still feel comfortable doing inversions during the second trimester, do it beside a wall to avoid any falls as the sense of balance starts shifting as the belly gets bigger.

Eka Pada Bhekasana (One-Legged Frog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (One-Legged Frog Pose)

Some teachers recommend completely eliminating “ab-work” during this time but if you must, hold a supported Navasana for a shorter time and/or go to your knees and alternate knee to elbow while everyone else is doing “ab-work” (suggestion care of Jenn Chiarelli of Lifepower Yoga).  Mula Bandha may still be engaged as this strengthens the pelvic muscles (Do your Kegel exercise ladies!). Chaturanga and plank can likewise be done from the knees (with the toes tucked under) which will be more stable and supportive for the lower back.  Forward folds should be kept to an 80-85 degree angle from the floor rather than going all the way down.  Pretty soon the belly will be too large to do this anyways so focus on keeping a flat back. 

Omit poses on the belly or any that would compress the belly such a Wheel pose (Danurasana). To modify, you can put a bolster or blanket underneath your thighs but keep one hand or forearm forward to support the upper body and other hand grabs the foot or ankle on the same side (modified one legged Bhekasana). When the entire class is doing belly down poses with backbends, you go to your knees and do a supported Camel pose (Ustrasana).

Supported Handstand

Supported Handstand

Backbends can be done as long as they are still comfortable during this trimester.  However, remember to be mindful as you do not want to stretch your belly too much. Relaxin, the hormone that relaxes the pelvic joints in preparation for labor also affects all the other joints so be careful not to overstretch and remember to engage the opposing muscles so one would know how far to go. 

I cannot emphasize how much props make a big difference during this period, so remember to have at least 2 blocks, a bolster and a blanket.  Blocks should be used in poses such as Ardha Chandrasana (half moon), Trikonasana (triangle), Parsvokonasana (side angle) and their Parivritta versions (revolved) with blocks going to the highest height and being further open in the revolved poses.  Blocks should also be utilized in forward folds especially if the belly already restricts too much folding while keeping a flat back.

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Avoid lying on your back if it is no longer comfortable.  Different women have different thresholds.  Early in pregnancy, Savasana should not be a problem but as the belly gets bigger it can compress the inferior vena cava when lying flat on the back for a long period of time (give and take more than 3 minutes). Symptoms include nausea and dizziness.   An alternative would be “propped/inclined” Savasana where you would place a bolster/pillow on your back, with sacrum on the ground and anotheraltenative is a side lying Savasana, lie on your LEFT side with a pillow or bolster between your legs with the head resting on folded blankets or pillows. (The aorta and inferior vena cava are positioned slightly to the right in your retroperitoneum which makes sense to lie on the left side which is the optimal position for lying down and sleeping in pregnancy.)

Make sure to check out Trish's Ambassador Profile and First Trimester piece: 'It's Hot'

Soul Sisters Meet in Costa Rica


I met Lauren through Instagram in mid-July. I fell in love immediately with her vibe and designs, and wanted to collaborate with her. Her name is @VeganYogiUnicorn & I’m Rima, @rima_danielle. I e-mailed Lauren, asking if she would host our September Yoga Instagram Challenge with me - #ShiftYourPractice. She immediately agreed and jumped in to help me organize. We work extremely well together, though only through on-line mediums at first. Skype, texts, phone calls, and e-mails were our way to get to know one another.


I had plans to head back to Costa Rica in November, and Lauren had plans to assist a teacher training for a few weeks in October – November. We bonded so much that she decided to extend her trip for a week and a half and I decided to change my flight to occur a few days earlier, so we could spend 9 days in Paradise together!

Lauren met me at the airport on my arrival and our souls recognized each other immediately from lives past. We made the 5-hour trek to Santa Teresa with no plans (other than the workshop we’re hosting, details below).

Without a place to stay, we were dropped off in Santa Teresa. We walked around and met some friends of mineand got a little hostel room to share, living fully in each moment. This truly is a magical part of the world.



To celebrate our time together and to spread some love to the world, we’re hosting both a 7-day Instagram Challenge & a three-day workshop here at the Hotel Tropico Latino

The challenge is called #YogaTravelChallenge and we’ll move up the chakras and learn all about them. Find today’s posts on Instagram and join along! Late posts are acceptable, too! The workshop is called “Yoga Recharge: Chakra Day Camp” and will be three days of yoga, meditating, hypnosis, reiki, and more! Join us if you’re in the area!


My Yoga Journey during Pregnancy - FIRST TRIMESTER: “It’s hot”

My Yoga Journey during Pregnancy

(Yoga for Pregnant Women with Strong Practices)


I have been practicing yoga consistently for the past 3 years and had just gotten my RYT-200 when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby.  Prior to actually knowing that I was carrying a child, I began to become suspicious that I may be pregnant because I kept turning off the heat during a hot yoga sequence that I was teaching and upon cleaning the room, there was hardly much sweat from my students! Normally I would see puddles!

By medical standards I was classified as a high risk pregnancy because of my age of 36 years.  I was concerned so I meticulously researched the internet and asked around for advice from my teachers with regard to yoga practice that would be safe and appropriate for a state of pregnancy. I had broken it down to why a strong yoga practice will benefit pregnancy (and this is assuming the pregnancy is not high riskand without complications as determined by your doctor), to 3 sections each covering the 3 trimesters of pregnancy.



The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) 1985 guidelines on maintaining a heart rate of <=140bpm during exercise in pregnancy had been removed in 1996.  This is because not all pregnant women working at 140bpm are putting out the same effort level.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) does not recommend using heart rate but it is rather recommended to use what is known as the “rate of perceived exertion” or RPE.  It uses a scale of 1-10 (1 being minimal effort to 10 being maximum effort) with recommendations for moms who are into fitness to stay between 5 and 7.  This is good news for yogis with a strong vinyasa practice; I was able to perform and enjoy hot vinyasa (only going up as high as 85 degrees F) flows.

Yoga helps loosen the muscles and joints and keeps the pregnant woman limber and flexible throughout her pregnancy.  Unfortunately I had terrible nausea the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and going to my classes, moving and keeping active helped a lot.  Endorphins are released during exercise and that help to counteract the stress hormone cortisol which may be in a heightened state during pregnancy due to all thechanges that the state of pregnancy causes to the body.  

Yoga also helps with breathing, being in tune to your body and being mindful of what feels good and what does not. I have not undergone labor yet but as a practicing MD in the Philippines, I have managed numerous pregnant women and have always taught them to practice breathing techniques during labor pains. (This was before I had been interested in Yoga.)


Having suffered with migraines in addition to working in a stressful Hospital-based environment in the United States as an internist, I have had my share of back pains, trigger points and joint aches that come with the job.  I can attest that only Yoga has helped me through all of them.  Drugs have provided only temporary relief. As many of you are aware, the less drugs you take during pregnancy the better it is for the mother and the baby.


Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester and in most cases it is because of a genetic abnormality in the fetus which is an accident of nature.  The risk of miscarriage increases when one has had a prior miscarriage.  For any woman planning to continue their yoga practice in pregnancy, please consult with your physician.  There are factors related to your pregnancy that may make you fall in the high risk category so please be mindful of this possibility and sometimes being “high risk” is not determined until the second trimester. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the developer of Asthanga Yoga has actually discouraged women from practicing Asthanga Yoga during the first trimester because of the reasons stated.  


However, assuming you are not found to be high risk at least during your first trimester and you are mindful about your body and your limitations and would like to continue a fairly regular Yoga practice, the greatest concern in the first trimester is overheating. During my hot vinyasa classes (max temperature is 85 degrees F), I stay near the door so that I could obtain more ventilation from the air coming in through the bottom of the door (my teacher Desiree Lapre of Lifepower Yoga would even open up the door by just a crack).  It is also easier to get out of the room once I feel overheated and I would be able to run to the rest room in case I need to use it.  Staying in a well ventilated room especially if you are experiencing nausea is a must.  Not too many modification are necessary during this period except for maybe stepping instead of jumping from Ardha Uttanasana to Chaturanga Dandasana and back.  One can still twist as long as it is comfortable and not forced, since the uterus is still sitting low in the pelvic cavity.


As for Pranayama practitioners, please remember to avoid breath retention (Kumbhaka), as should powerful practices such as Bhastrika and Kapalabhati). Pregnant women should breathe smooth, evenly and continuously. Nadi Shodhanam (alternate nostril breathing) can be done as long as there is no breath retention.

Make sure to check out Tish's Ambassador Profile and Second Trimester piece: 

“Energy is back and props are my closest friends!”

Diary of a juice fasting holiday {part I}

October 2013:

“What the hell is happing to me?!”

I was thriving, running a successful beauty business, I had a supportive partner, loving friends and family, a good income, I travelled a lot. I was kind of living my dream! How come I was just feeling more and more pain and exhaustion? And how could I feel happy, yet fighting against sadness at the same time?

Looking into the mirror I found myself struggling with what I saw. All the things I had learned about healing my body and mind just didn't seem to work anymore. The migraines and insomnia were starting to get worse and the overall pain in my body started to make me think I was suffering from some kind of illness. Doctors and specialists couldn't find anything significant. When my doctor prescribed me antidepressants, I snapped...Something inside me got very angry and started screaming internally: “NO, I will not let you go there anymore! Throw away those damn poisonous prescriptions! You need to detox, reset, find yourself, you are strong enough!”

Impulsive as I can be at times, I just went ahead and booked a last minute juicefasting holiday with a Dutch travel organisation called Health Holidays. I felt a little relieved, hoping and feeling that some things were about to change. But when I started to think about it I got a little scared: was I really going to do this?! Did I just spend money on a trip to some unknown place in Turkey, with a bunch of people I don't know, without being allowed to eat food for 8 days!!?? And how will my body find the energy to participate in the workouts and activities?! What will they think of me?!

Well, without further ado, I just want to say that my first detox holiday experience in Turkey was THE best life-changing experience I could have ever gifted myself at that moment!

I ended up at a beautiful clifftop resort at the peaceful Peninsula near the harbour town of Kas (Turkey).

I was sharing the experience with quite a large group of 30 other Dutch people: men and women, various backgrounds, ages 14 to 70, all with their own different motivations for being there.

The fasting itself was quite easy, being surrounded by beautiful nature, the warmth of the sun and the loving care of the staff. I did suffer from a major physical and emotional dip during day 3. I guess this was the day all the built up toxins were flowing through my body to be released. I remember that despite of the suffering, I was feeling very happy about it: I associated the feeling with having to go through difficulties to overcome them. I felt blessed I could just go through my difficulties while relaxing in the sun with stunning views over the mediterranean, knowing that I was taken care of..

This holiday was a blessing. It was as if I totally exchanged my “old” body for a healthy one within just one week. My aches and exhaustion had magically disappeared and the experience was so amazingly powerful and eye-opening... I made a promise to myself to hit this kind of reset button on an annual basis.

October 2014:

Sooo I know I promised myself to hit the annual reset button, buuuuut, of course I can think of so many reasons not to....time, money, different lifestyle choices...

“What's wrong with me?!” I'm still fully aware last years experience left a lasting impact on my health and wellbeing, so why am I even doubting to keep to my promise?!

After some deliberation I decided to go ahead and be loyal to myself. After all, I did feel like my body needed some maintanance again: my love of the occasional french fries with mayonnaise was growing out of hand, together with my love for Tony's chocolate bars, bread and a few other risqué food choices. And as I was about to turn 30, I wanted to do so in the best shape of my life!

Looking forward to feel fabulous again I booked my second juicefasting retreat. This time I decided to go with a different organisation, called Zest For Life (I love some variation). I also ended up in Turkey, but this time with a smaller group of 13 other people, in a tiny village on Lake Köyceğiz, an area known for its healing hot springs.

In Part II of my “diary of a juice fasting holiday” I will share every step of my journey into preparing my body for the big 3-0 with another amazing 8-day juicefasting holiday in the beautiful surroundings of Sultaniye!


Finding the beauty by Valerie

"You Must Break Your Heart Before It Opens" An Introduction to Nicole Anders

When Cirm.OM.Navigation asked me to write an introduction article,  I was thrilled. My passion for yoga has grown so rampantly, like wildfire, over this past year and I am eager to share it with anyone who will lend me their ears, or in this case, their eyes. Not to mention my travelling gypsy-soul has been in full force since I can remember, so to tell you about my adventures seemed like an easy task; I have it tattooed on my feet for heaven-sake. However, as I sit here, day-dreaming, I’m not sure where to begin.

My Yoga Journey: An Indroduction to Danielle Heaney

I’m relatively new to yoga—a yoga newbie, if you will! Sure, I’ve known about yoga and all of its amazing benefits for years. I’ve gone through phases where I would practice daily for a couple of weeks, but then the novelty of it would fade and I would go back my normal routines: homework, partying, study sessions, and the crippling anxiety and insomnia that plagued my entire college experience.