Wilderness Festival is always a highlight in my calendar. I’m a regular member of the Wild Wellbeing In-house Therapist Team.  Roll on summer!  See you in the Wilderness….

Here’s my recipe for super quick, tasty and healthy granola. Many of the shop bought granola is high in sugar, contains unhealthy fats and oils, and may contain unnecessary ingredients. The benefit of making your own is that you can mix up the flavours and experiment with ingredients.

Whole oats are full of good-for-you fibre, high in protein, and contain vitamins and minerals like iron and magnesium. Buy 100% pure whole rolled oats as “instant” or “quick cooking” will be highly processed.

Add nuts and seeds for flavour, texture, extra nutrients and added healthy protein. You can add unsweetened dried fruit and maybe added less sweetener if you are adding fruits to keep the sugar content down.

This recipe makes about three cups of granola – ½ cup is typically a serving. Serve it as cereal with milk (try it with unsweetened almond milk), unsweetened Greek yogurt and with fresh seasonal fruit. I like to add a sprinkling of chia seeds to add protein and nutrients. Plus chia seeds are very filling so will prevent mid-morning cravings!

Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
Serves 4-6

Use raw, organic ingredients whenever possible. These measurements are flexible; don’t worry too much about being exact.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw, whole rolled oats
½ cup raw nuts, chopped
¼ cup raw seeds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great)
½ cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional)
2-3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
1 large pinch fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use your clean hands to mix well and to coat.  The coconut oil might be liquid or solid depending on the temperature of the room you are in (it has a melting point of about 75ºF.) Your hands will warm it up and melt it into the mixture if it’s solid, just be sure to mix it all through the other ingredients so there aren’t any chunks of oil left. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted.  Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Why not get creative and add your own combo of healthy ingredients.  Here are a few ingredient ideas to get you started:

Blueberries
Dates
Flaxseeds
Cherries
Almonds
Walnuts
Maple Syrup
Cashew Nuts
Pecans
Raisins
Cinnamon
Cranberries

The list goes on…. Enjoy creating your own flavour combinations!

Easing back into life is not always so straight forward particularly after an extended trip to India.  Arriving in India, you feel as though you’ve entered a strange and magical world.  Your senses get overloaded with sounds, sights, colours, smells and tastes.  India pulses and you feel so alive.  There is no hiding from the experience, it is all consuming and you quickly adjust to the ebb and flow of life.

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(Rishikesh)

My first destination was Rishikesh situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and known as the “Yoga capital of the world”.  The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh and the city is considered holy by Hindus.  A bustling centre of temples, customs, rituals with a deep rich history. You become completely absorbed by life here.

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(Rishikesh)

Home during my stay was Anandprakash Yoga Ashram in Tapovan , just a few minutes walk from the sacred Ganges.  Tapovan, an ideal location for yoga sadhana, is named for its heritage as a site for spiritual disciplines.  “Tap”, represents tapas, the practice of spiritual disciplines.  “Van” means forest.  So, Tapovan is the forest of the yogis.

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(Arrival at Anand Prakash Ashram)

The rigours of ashram living can be challenging particularly the strict daily routine.  You wake up early before sunrise, meditate to go deeper into our mind, practice yoga asanas to work on a physical level within the body, practice breathing exercises to steady our mind, chant to raise our vibrations and bring balance, fire puja for purification, eat simple food, discuss philosophies to open the mind and lectures to develop our knowledge.

I had several goals for my trip, firstly to spend time with my teacher to seek guidance and spiritual wisdom.  I was ready to learn new skills and techniques to deepen my knowledge and personal practice.  I was looking for new ideas and inspiration to bring back and share with my students.  And finally to meet fellow yogis and spiritual travellers.

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(Our teachers – Gayatri, Yogrishi Vishvketu, Prem, Kamalika)

Simply being with other people who are also seekers and who are involved in the same quest you are is very meaningful” ~ Dan Wakefield

My trip didn’t disappoint, I gifted myself this time and I absorbed new teachings, personal reflections, had the opportunity to be fully present and in the moment without the distractions of everyday life.  I found peace and clarity of mind.  I met an amazing group of fellow yogis from all corners of the globe.  We developed a deep connection from sharing the same life changing experience.

As I reflect I can see that this trip is the beginning of something special.  The depth of the experience was so immense that I do not think I will comprehend the impact until much further down the line…  Every moment feels so special and I have a new vigour for life.

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(Yoga Teacher Training Yogis)

Spirituality is allowing compassion and love to flourish.  When belongness begins, corruption ends.” ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude” ~ Denis Waitley

Om shanti.

Starfish Meditation from the “Yoga Sleep and Other Magical Guided Meditations for Children” is now available on my YouTube channel.

Thank you for all of the fantastic reviews that I have been receiving for this CD.  It is such an honour that this CD is helping so many children in such a wide variety of ways.  Ranging from relaxation and stress relief, for bedtime and for those that have been ill and have listened to the CD whilst in hospital.

Downloads are now available on iTunes, Amazon and on streaming sites such as Spotify.

“Thank you for this brilliant CD!  Our 5 ½ year old daughter (who has sleep issues due as she is unable to allow her brain to relax) listens to it every night , and it has really help her to calm down at bedtime. For us, we can see a real positive change, and she is often less frantic when going to bed following using the CD, and sometimes she even falls asleep before the end – a real result!!  She has asked me to tell you she particularly loves being an eagle, and asks when are you doing another one!” ~ LR, UK

Freshly back from my extended trip to India I have plenty to share with you!  This sharing will happen gradually so for now I’ve created a video to give you an essence of my trip.


Wishing you peace, love and laughter in the new year!  I look forward to seeing you soon or connecting online.

May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself” ~ Neil Gaiman

I’m busy preparing for my upcoming trip to India and contemplating being back in an ashram environment.  Life is pretty hectic as I get ready for this extended trip.  I have friends and family to catch up with, planning to be done for the cover of my weekly yoga classes and monthly workshops, getting my business admin up to date as well as attending a number of meetings for future projects.

I feel both excited and apprehensive but I know the trip has come at the right time for me.  My destination is Anandprakash Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, just a few mintues walk from the sacred river Ganga (the Ganges).

Ashram living follows a strict daily routine which can prove challenging at times but reinforces the need for a regular daily practice.  The ashram removes the distractions of everyday life so is the perfect opportunity to re-focus and to re-establish good habits.

The deepest learning comes from having this time to dedicate to our sadhana (practice) and to experience a much deeper personal enquiry.  Sadhana is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a spiritual goal using mind and intelligence in practice towards this goal.

This extended stay in the ashram is a perfect time to get journaling and to focus on svadhyaya (self study).   I know from previous trips and retreats that journaling is so creative and useful.  Without regular distractions, really powerful realisations can come up.

I will have the perfect opportunity to evaluate what is important for me right now.  Have the space to review my vision for the short to longer term.  This is the perfect opportunity to make internal and external changes to generate greater fulfilment and happiness.

There will be the opportunity to meet fellow yogis and spiritual travellers all undergoing the same life changing experience.  Great friendships to be formed.


(Anandprakash Yoga Ashram Tapovan)

Just to mention that regular classes and workshops will continue whilst I’m away so there will be no change to your programme.  Weekly classes will be covered by Exeter based Carol Fentimen and Yoga Nidra workshops will be taught Christine Dumbleton.  All bookings will be managed in the usual way so please book via my online shop or you can email info@juliebladon.com.  I have admin cover for this whole period so your message will be dealt with by Wendy.

Have a wonderful couple of months and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

Om shanti.

Image credit: Piriamvada Yoga

As mentioned last week, my summer has been busy working on my creative project.  Alongside that I have been completing extra yoga study and also focussing on study related to my business.  It was recommended through my business study to read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks PhD.

I was familiar with Gay’s work and background in psychology, personal growth, abundance and consciousness so I jumped at the chance to read this book.  In fact it was so engaging, I couldn’t put the book down and ended up reading it in two days!

The book is a comprehensive and simple guide to overcoming our barriers to achieving our full potential and to live more fully.  This potential is not just financial but also in love and life.

The goal in life is not to attain some imaginary ideal; it is to find and fully use our own gifts.”

The book can lead to some major “A-Ha” moments in terms of understanding our gifts and how we may be subconsciously sabotaging ourselves so that we don’t move forward to be the best we can be.

We have a limit to how much success, love, joy we may experience in life and generally this can be set early in our childhood.  This limit comes into play when we are doing well and we subconsciously do things to sabotage our achievements such as making bad decisions, engaging in negative thoughts, physically injuring ourselves, creating personal dramas.

Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy.  When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves , causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.”

Hitting this ceiling is referred to our “Upper Limit Problem”, when we push through our upper limit a voice in our head may say “You can’t possibly feel this good” or “be this happy in love”.  Unconsciously you do something to bring you back to your safe zone, a place where you feel  most comfortable.

Gay talks about our “Zone of Genuis”, a set of activities that are uniquely suited to you and serve your highest purpose in life.  The key thing here is that they are unique to you drawing on your talents and strengths.  This is what we truly LOVE to do, what makes our heart sing.

The fear of being fundamentally flawed brings with it a related fear.  It’s the fear that if you did make a full commitment to living in your Zone of Genius, you might fail.  It’s the belief that even your genius is flawed.”

Gay expertly guides us through the hidden barriers giving advice on how to bust through them.  The four barriers identified are:

  1. Feeling Fundamentally Flawed – A feeling that you are fundamentally flawed in some way.
  2. Disloyalty and Abandonment – Believing that if you achieve success you will end up alone, be disloyal to your roots and leave behind people from your past.
  3. Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden – Believing that reaching your highest potential will make you an even bigger burden.
  4. The Crime of Outshining – Feeling that having full success will make you outshine others which will make them look or feel bad.

I really loved this book and found new ways to look at how I deal with situations.  It gave me the opportunity to really look at how I respond to situations and where I may be sabotaging my life.  I firmly believe that you can change your life from the inside out so this book is a useful tool to examine ourselves and develop ways to change.

I’m sure I will get more out of the book upon further reading.  I’d highly recommend this book if you wish to take a different look at your inner life and would like to make positive change.

I love the mantra Gay quotes “I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same”.  We can each be the change.

the big leap

 

Next week I am back to my full yoga schedule and I’m certainly looking forward getting back into the studio. I’ve had a lighter programme over the summer which has allowed me to focus on my creative projects.

I’m in the middle of writing a children’s illustrated book which is a collaboration with Nia Gould, a locally based artist. This project started a while ago when a chance conversation seeded an idea. I must admit I started the project and didn’t really have a firm timetable in place which has allowed the project to evolve of its own accord.

On the one hand a lack of timetable could be seen as frustrating or unproductive but in this case it has allowed the book to emerge naturally and organically. I look back at our early proofs and can see how much the book has developed.  Using a collaborative way of working we have developed ideas, tried out different creative ideas and allowed the characters to find their voice.

The process of creative writing has also been interesting. I have spent most of my career writing in some form or another. Academic essays, business reports, funding applications, marketing copy, press releases, theatre programmes and brochures, web content and the list goes on. I thought this would have prepared me for the creative task ahead but it has been a steep learning curve.

Introducing the characters, setting the scene, linking the story to the illustrations, allowing the story to open up and flow have been new ways to write in order to gain the reader’s attention. Crafting a book that draws people in, grabbing their attention and sharing some inspirational thoughts has been the goal. Creating a fictional world that speaks to the reader has sometimes been an interesting challenge.

At times I have felt too close to the project which has obscured my view. Luckily I have had creative friends and “guinea pigs” around me to test out our ideas. I now realise that it is time to take the project to the next level so I have commissioned a writing coach to seek their professional view, iron out any concerns and to ensure that the book will be the very best that we can create.

At the outset I didn’t really know what adventure I had signed up to but I am certainly enjoying the process, allowing the book to emerge and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the life of this book.

Watch this space as I am looking forward to the time when I can share this book with you…

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At the beginning of August I held a Yoga at the Beach class to raise funds for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project.

We raised £82 for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, a campaign under the International Marine Mammal Project at the non-profit Earth Island Institute. The Dolphin Project aims to stop dolphin slaughter and exploitation around the world.  This work has been chronicled in films such as A Fall From Freedom, the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, and in the Animal Planet mini-series Blood Dolphin$.

Here’s a lovely thank you letter from the project which explain a little more about their work:

dolphin project thank you letter

Also visit the Dolphin Project website to find out more and learn how you can get involved.  If you haven’t seen them already it is worth watching The Cove and Blackfish.

Taking action, no matter how small, builds momentum.  Do something….”  We sometimes think that our small action will not make a difference but our collective effort can make a huge difference.

Om shanti.

yoga at beach tree aug

 

 

I’m back from deepest Oxfordshire where I had the pleasure of working for Wild Wellbeing in the Sanctuary area of Wilderness Festival.  A perfect space for people to immerse themselves in peace and tranquility in order to feed their body, mind and soul.

I love this Festival and it’s always a highlight of my annual calendar.  There is a huge mix on offer and it’s certainly more than just music.  Theatre, arts, talks, workshops, craft, wellbeing, lakeside spa, adventures, magical experiences, banqueting, good food, chilled vibe and great people.

It’s meant to be a holiday rather than a festival,” Jo Vidler, creative director and co-founder of Wilderness told Positive News, “A holiday experience with amazing entertainment around it.”

I was working as an in-house therapist offering Lomi Lomi massages in the Sanctuary.  I love working outside, nature brings an added dimension to the treatments.  The Sanctuary team was amazing, it’s great to work with such highly regarded therapists and yoga teachers in this special space.

It’s not all work and no play though.  Festival highlights for me included Burt Bacharach, Jessie Ware, London Grammar, dancing at the “Village Hall”, dancing to a soul band in the pouring rain, the fire spectacular, bathing in the light of the supermoon (the closest and largest full moon of the year) and accompaniment from the Friends of the Earth Busking Stage whilst we were massaging.

Here’s Vogue’s “Postcards from Wilderness Festival”, a picture diary of the weekend including a special mention for the Sanctuary!

Thank you Wilderness, it’s been fun.  Until next year…

Photo Credit: Wild Wellbeing/Secret Sanctuary