We’ve all heard it before. We say it all the time on our social media. But we can all throw the word around so easily, without getting to the nitty-gritty of what “balance” actually means to us. Especially in a yoga industry saturated with a tonne of beliefs around what a healthy, balanced life looks like. Let’s get real for a hot minute, shall we?
For starters, a balanced life is not necessarily a beautiful thing, worthy of Instagram. We mean it when we say you do not want to see Rosie before she’s had 10 minutes of “quiet time” upon waking. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that every day incorporates all of the things necessary for our happiest lives. For us it means not getting caught up in the shitty little details and rather, focussing on the bigger picture. Acknowledging that we are already whole, and happy, we are lacking nothing, and sometimes we just have to dive a little deeper under the surface. Did this day/week/month/year serve you, make you happier, bring you closer to something that feels right? Balance for us is less about the external appearances, and more about following a feeling.
Nowadays, there’s a whole lot of stigma and far too many false perceptions as to what it means to be a yoga teacher. As if a 200-hour training in India magically leads to enlightenment within four weeks; giving one full permission to strut around in skin tight pants, adorn an elaborate mala necklace, and sport a holier-than-thou attitude to accompany a newfound “ultra spiritual” lifestyle.
…..And then there’s us.
We’ve never had enough funds to purchase a mala crafted from magical beads, we wear our yoga pants in public only out of sheer convenience, because nothing else within the depths of our mangy backpack is clean, and the only thing we’re holier than is the center of our bagel which we sloppily ate for our hangover brunch this morning (smoked salmon means you’re mostly vegetarian, right?!). Perhaps it’s the fact that we’d choose wine and cheese over a super skinny frame any day, that we have this embarrassingly spontaneous need to dance and sing in public, or that we spend countless hours giggling over our occasional (and incredibly entertaining) Tinder dates. Whatever it is, we’ll admit – we’re not your average yoga teachers. But then again, we’re not trying to be. Life doesn’t have to be so serious, and we believe that spreading positive yoga vibes needn’t come with all the pretentious stereotypes.
This alternative take on a yogic lifestyle stems from our individual introductions to the practice itself; both of us living a decidedly unbalanced lifestyle, and then discovering yoga with the intention to heal our precious minds and bodies.
Natasha: “The practice cultivated balance for me amidst a rather unsustainable social calendar laden with far too much alcohol, techno music, and chemical enhancers. I began practicing yoga weekly, then daily, and before I even knew it was happening, my desire to do good for my own self became the forefront of every thought and decision I made. With the help of yoga, I unknowingly (and at times painfully) detoxified my life as I knew it; purging anything and everything that wasn’t contributing to the best version of Who I Am. It was shortly following the disintegration of my marriage, my first ever broken heart at the ripe age of 28, that I enrolled in my initial teacher training in the mountainous town of Pokhara, Nepal. The experience was one of the most humbling and challenging periods of my life to date; removing distraction, confronting every last fear and, perhaps for the first time in my life, allowing myself to be deeply seen. And although it may sound as cliche as the push-up bra sewn into my expensive Lululemon yoga tank, my life has truly never been the same again.”
Rosie: “I started doing yoga at a time in my life when I was swinging from one extreme to another, in true Gemini nature. One month I was partying hard, having SUCH fun, meeting hilarious people but my body didn’t feel good, I wasn’t in touch with my emotions at all and deep down I was lacking purpose. I was very hard on myself as well, in terms of my body and how I looked at, and food was often a means of reward or punishment rather than nourishment, fuel and food for the soul. So the next month I would take myself off to work on a retreat centre in the middle of nowhere, I would go vegan for a month, practice yoga daily and learn all kinds of weird and wacky healthy things, but I felt my inner Disco Steve was itching to get out, desperate for a cheeky glass of wine and a conversation that didn’t revolve around yogic philosophy and raw vegan baking. And then I started practicing yoga regularly, it just kept calling me back, and I started meeting people just like me, and I realised that it didn’t necessarily have to be all or nothing, one or the other. Yoga taught me that I could just be myself, disco Rosie and healthy, mindful Rosie, all at the same time, and that this was in fact a wondrous combination! My inner Gemini still writhes about and gets confused sometimes, but I have the tools now to bring me back to centre, and yoga is at the top of that list.”
Two years ago we found ourselves living and working alongside each other at a yoga and meditation center in Southeast Asia. Call it coincidence, call it fate, call it soul recognition, call it whatever you like – but since the moment we met, we have been inseparable. Boy-crazy best friends, badass business partners, and the queens of successfully sneaking into fancy five-star hotel swimming pools, we’re now learning to balance it all whilst embarking in a whole lot of fun and adventure as we go. And although we quite often feel like a couple of big babies living in an adult world (especially Rosie with her wardrobe of adorable, toddler-esque onesies), we’re giving ourselves total permission to screw up. Baring all, not pretending to have it all together, acknowledging that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and sometimes things are a bit shit, and allowing this vulnerability to be our greatest strength as we move forward.
What you see is truly what you get. You’ll find us sharing not just the pretty parts of Who We Are, but the messy hair, messy minds, and even messier dorm room floors. It’s a partnership based around complete trust and honesty; never hesitating to nudge (and occasionally forcefully shove) in order to keep each other on track in the process of becoming our Whole & Happy-est selves. In this friendship, if we feel something, we say something. We act cheerleader for each other’s individual accomplishments. We adopt an attitude that encompasses rather than excludes. And we are not afraid to laugh at the imperfectly perfect beings we are playfully en route to becoming.
So, this is us. Two little ladies from opposite sides of the planet who desire to spread a little joy in a world that we feel, at times, can be a tad too uptight. And don’t be fooled by our super professional-looking social media (…tumbleweed…) because, like you, we’re just making it all up as we go along; rolling with the punches and riding out every low with the thread of hope that the next high will present itself soon enough. Enjoying everything, needing nothing, and never (ever) denying ourselves any last thing that makes our souls happy… be it long-term happiness that stems from deep connection, or the momentary gratification of sunset beaches, bowls of coconut ice cream, and a few too many sips of delicious Portuguese men – uhh – wine.
So what does balance mean to you? If you’re not entirely sure, you’re not alone. Luckily for you, we run a retreat dedicated entirely to discovering your unique happy place, however that may look or feel for YOU.
Nothing but love,
Rosie + Natasha
FIND OUT MORE about our Balance Retreats…