NAMAS-GO-TO-BED - Akasha's Guide To The Best Night's Sleep You've Ever Had!

Look, I get it. Sometimes getting your butt to yoga class is tough. Getting excited about another kale salad can prove arduous. And drinking those 8 glasses of water a day ain't always easy! But sleep... seriously! Who doesn't love a good ol' slumber!?! So why then, is it so hard for us to put down our phones, switch off the Handmaid's Tale and get some quality zzz's? 

 
image via @ask_the_dusk @ cizimist

image via @ask_the_dusk @ cizimist

 

Report after report tells us about the positive effects of sleep. It sounds so obvious, but yes, sleep makes us feel better! It improves creativity, positivity, attention, immunity and aids with weight loss amoungst other things. 

So to make things easy, we've put together a list of things you can do to get some sweet sweet dreams:

  1. Schedule in a bed time and stick to it! Just like you would getting up for work, set a definitive bed time depending on your schedule the following day. An 5:30am start at the gym; time to hit the hay at 8pm... ok 9pm at the latest... I'm not ten years old anymore mum!

  2. Switch off all devices an hour before bed (hence why a bedtime schedule is important).

  3. Create a bed time yoga flow ... oh wait, these legends have already done it for you here!

  4. My new favourite thing to do before bed is to give myself a foot massage! Those little guys work hard to support me all day, so it's only fair that I show them so lovin in the evening... feels soooo good! And it's a great way to relax the body.

  5. Invest in a magical himalayan salt lamp. Not only do they create great "mood lighting", they also (amongst a plethora of things), clear the air, neutralising electromagnetic radiation caused by ALL of our electronic devices, thus giving you a better nights sleep. Don't believe me, click here

  6. Buy yourself an old school alarm clock and leave all electronic devices outside of the bedroom (you'll survive I promise). 

  7. First there was the boombox, then the walkman (stick with me), then the discman (I'm getting there)... and then the there was the IPOD! Yes! Find that little guy from the bottom of your "random stuff" drawer and make friends again. Create a sleep-inducing playlist and drift off into la la land with some sweet sweet tunes, like these I prepared earlier.

  8. Set the mood and burn some incense (steer clear of candles, we don't want to burn the house down).

  9. Drink some nourishing camomile tea (but if you're like me and have a teeny tiny bladder, try to stop drinking two hours before bed, so that you don't have to interrupt your deep sleep for a midnight stumble to the loo).

Still need some inspiration? Click here

 
image via @sammyslabbinck

image via @sammyslabbinck

 

OUR FAVOURITE ETHICAL YOGA-WEAR BRANDS

Being socially and environmentally mindful in our everyday practices is really what yoga is all about. 

There are so many amazing brands out there that share our core values: working towards transparency, sustainability and fair trade. So, for your reading pleasure, we've compiled a list of some our faves here:


SNEAKERS

 
 

VEJA

Made in Brazil these styling vegan sneakers are made from organic cotton, natural rubber and recycled plastic bottles. Who said you had to sacrifice style to be ethical?


ALL BIRDS

These versatile sneakers are crafted from zq-certified merino wool, which means they meet stringent standards of sustainable farming and animal welfare - yay! Not only that, these babies are shipped out in boxes that require 40% less materials than traditional packaging (it's the little things!). And, there's more, these guys have big hearts partnering with soles4souls, providing footwear for those in need .Oh, and they come out with new ranges of the most amazing colours! I'm digging the new lemon option!

Fun fact: merino wool requires 60% less energy to produce than typical synthetic materials used in shoes; and castor beans are an incredibly sustainable source for the green polyurethane used in our insoles.


RADICAL YES

Ok, they're not technically "sneakers"... But they're super comfy and how cool will you look showing up to class in these babies! Why we love radical yes, apart from the fact that kerryn the owner is an absolute wonder woman! For starters, their soles are made from plant based rubber, they use non-animal glues and avoid plastics and synthetics in their upper shoe materials and packaging! Plus, they're affiliated with an amazing organisation "women in need", so if you take you're pre-loved radical yes toe-tappers into store, they will pass them on and give you a gift voucher to go towards your next pair! How sweet is that!


YOGA MATS

LIVE WHOLE YOGA

Live Whole Yoga are leading the way in environmentally sustainable yoga mats with their innovative 100% chemical free mats that are biodegradable, fair-trade and sustainable.

Made in Sri Lanka using locally and sustainably grown natural tree rubber reinforced with coconut coir fibre.

Plus from the sale of every Live Whole Yoga mat they'll donate a portion of their profits to buying back land for conservation in support of Rainforest Trust. Pretty cool!


CORK LEAF

Cork Leaf eco-friendly yoga mats are biodegradable and completely sustainable, meaning they can be safety returned to the earth after use - not many yoga mats that can boost that! 

They are also part of the Carbon Neutral Plant-A-Tree Initiative, which means that for every mat sold, they'll plant a tree! Oh and they use only recycled packaging!

Fun fact: the harvesting of cork bark is responsible for a sizable contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change... oh yeah, and an important producer of oxygen!


YIN YOGA MATS

Yin Yoga Mats are some of the prettiest on the market, the only problem is deciding which design is your fave! These mats are manufactured from recycled tree rubber, free from pvc, silicone, and phthalates. Plus (we see an exciting theme here), they ship without plastic.


APPAREL

VEGE THREADS

Made in Australia using eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton which is grown in controlled settings with no pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. These guys are certified by ethical clothing australia which is a big deal!


ALAS THE LABEL

The Alas activewear range is made from recycled pet fabric and gots (global organic textile standard) certified organic cotton, in fair labour, sweatshop-free factories. Their commitment to transparency and constantly searching for ways to reduce our impact on the environment is inspiring...Not to mention their gorgeous pieces! Check out their website for a detailed listing of their production processes


NAGNATA

Not only is Nagnata's new movement knitwear collection striking and unique, it is also made from certified organic cotton employing sustainable knitting techniques, which eliminates any yarn wastage from the production process. With a focus on quality, longevity and sustainability, you can't go wrong with these directional pieces!


If you know of any other amazingly sustainable, ethical or environmental yoga brands please share in the comment section below! Namaste yogis x

HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE WHEN TRAVELLING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

 
Oxaca-394.jpg
 

I have spent the most part of three years travelling through Latin America and more often than not, "roughing it". Which means checking into to a hotel with a gym, or mapping out the closest Wholefoods is not an option. Staying fit & healthy on the road isn't always the easiest task, but here are my top tips for a healthy travel lifestyle:

  • I am a BIG fan of the Nike Training App there are so many great workout options that don't require equipment, and it's FREE!

  • Dry brushing, if it's good enough for Miranda Kerr, it's good enough for me! It is such a fast and easy way to get your circulation flowing - I actually use a shoe cleaning brush as it is a great travel size.

  • The best way to explore a new town is by running! I love a good early morning run, watching a city wake up with bustling markets and street vendors! Always make sure to check with locals if there are any places that are unsafe to go. It's great to travel with an MP3 player too (so old school!) as they are easy to conceal. And don't overlook the power of a great playlist.

 
EARLY MORNING SAN MARCOS

EARLY MORNING SAN MARCOS

 
  • In terms of supplements, I always carry fish oil, spirulina and magnesium tablets  with me. I would love to carry more but these are my absolute essentials.

  • A regular yoga practice is such an important part of my travels! Long bus rides/flights plus full days of walking and carrying heavy loads, can be gruelling; yoga is the perfect antidote to keep me feeling nimble and grounded. To aid my practice I use Akasha yoga straps (I'm not biased at all though) which also function as a mat carrier. Manduka offer some great light travel mat options too.

  • Hike, swim, dance whenever you can, and challenge yourself! Most of my most treasured memories are from the incredible hikes we have accomplished, where I have pushed myself both physically and mentally.

  • And I always carry nuts with me at all times! Sometimes it is hard to know when and where your next meal is coming from so to prevent myself to falling victim to nearest 7-eleven-esque tienda, nuts and seeds are a great go-to. And you don't want to see me hangry.

 
GLACIER HIKE EL COCUY, COLOMBIA

GLACIER HIKE EL COCUY, COLOMBIA

 

AKASHA'S Travel Guide To San Marcos, Lake Atitlan Guatemala

 

Having spent so much time in Guatemala, Luke and I are always slightly embarrassed when people ask us for travel tips, because we've really never left Lake Atitlan! We are just so entranced with the magic of the Lake that we've never felt compelled to explore further. So here is our guide to getting the most out of your stay around Lake Atitlan (be warned, you may never want to leave!).  

WHERE TO STAY

  • If you're looking to splash out on some luxury there's no going past the stunning Lush Apartments with it's unique design and breath-taking views. 

  • If you're on a budget, but still like a little luxury and a great breakfast, Circles Hostel is a small boutique hostel connected to a great cafe. (fun fact: we use to live here before it became a hostel!)

  • And if you're looking to make lots of new friends and enjoy the night life that San Marcos has to offer (read drum circles, live bands, movie nights) Hostel Del Lago is the place to be.

  • For long term stays there are lots of beautiful houses for rent. Check out San Marcos Facebook page

WHAT TO DO?

  • Start the day early and hike up to the Indian's Nose to watch the sunset over The Lake - absolutely beautiful (pictured below - we made the hike to welcome in luke's 30th birthday).

  • a Cacao Ceremony with the infamous Keith.

  • a Mayan Astrology Reading at the flower house.

  • Iridology reading/acupuncture/massage/reiki - whatever holistic therapy you're looking for, you'll find it in San Marcos!

  • Spend a month getting in touch with your esoteric side at The Moon Course run by Las Piramides De Ka.

  • Study the art of fermentation with Love Probiotics (your tummy will love you).

  • Take a permaculture course with Atitlan Organics.

  • Enjoy morning yoga class high up in the mountains at The Yoga Forest. Daily yoga classes are also held at Hostel Del Lago and La Paz hostel. 

  • Watch the sunset in the reserve (and jump off The Trampoline if you're game!).

  • Visit Latin America's largest outdoor market Chichicastenango. Day trips can be organised in San Marcos. you can also head straight to Antigua after you've finished at the market at 2pm.

CHICHICASTENANGO MARKET

  • Visit the talented artisans of San Juan and learn the art of the backstrap loom and natural dying.

BACKSTRAP LOOM SAN JUAN

  • Sit by the dock and read your favourite book, watching the boats go by.

  • Relax on the deck at the beautiful Isla Verde as you work on your tan, sip on some cocktails and enjoy the view (the mediterranean plate is amazing too!)

WHERE TO EAT?

  • Local organic fresh produce! There is nothing better than a home cooked meal, using local produce! And a great way to support the indigenous community too. 

FRESH & LOCAL TOMATOES

  • For all of your superfood supplements, powders and a great range of dried herbs visit Salud Para Vida

  • Circels Cafe offers great breakfasts! be warned though, their cookie caramel brownies are addictive!

  • Zen out and drink some delicious chai tea while listening to some local live music at Shambala Cafe

  • If you go to Guatemala you have to try the coffee... unless you're like me and you don't drink coffee! however Word on the street (and according to Luke) is that Cafe Loco (cool vibes) and Crossroads Cafe (where you'll find the most amazing cheesecake and the friendliest of friendliest barista) in Panajachel are the best places to go. Well worth the boat ride. And a great gift idea too!

  • If you've worked up an appetite, there is no beating a falafel burrito at Moonfish Cafe.

  • If you're looking to "treat yo'self", then you can't go past the iconic Cheese & Wine in San Juan. Words can not describe how incredible the food is here... put aside a entire day (no I'm not exaggerating) to enjoy the experience of cheese, cured meat and wine in a breath-taking setting. And don't be put-off, if you're vegetarian, there are some great vegetable dishes available too. Did i mention the endless artisan bread baskets! 

  • Love Probiotics. It is not uncommon for people who visit the lake to experience parasites. Actually it's very rare that you won't get parasites, which is why it is so important to build up your gut health with delicious fermented foods. These guys offer so many amazing products! Our faves are the apple cider vinegar, kimchi (on sourdough with avocado!!!), bliss balls for when you need a little snack on the go, jun tea and the hot sauce! Fun fact: there are a few scorpions around town, and we found that the best way to treat these pesky little bites is to apply apple cider vinegar. I was bitten on the face last time we were there and the A.C.V. worked a treat.

  • For authentic Italian head to Pequenos Pecados (the nutella gelato is the best on The Lake!)

  • For a nutritious meal that will not only make your tummy feel good, but also your heart try out Konojel Comerdor . These guys originally started out as a nutrition centre for the town's most in need, and due to generous donations, they have expanded their do-good reach by opening a cafe in the centre of town, empowering the local women by providing training and jobs. 

WHAT TO PACK?

  • Grapeseed extract (great for washing fresh produce and for any tummy bugs)

  • Runners. Luke and I love our early morning runs over to the neighbouring town of Tzununa, breathlessly greeting the locals on their way to work! There are lots of great hikes around too.

  • A yoga mat. Surprisingly very hard to find around town, and if you don't want to take it home, there will be so many people grateful to take it off your hands after your finished with it.

  • Yoga gear... you'll most likely spend all day in it.

  • Long pants/skirts/dresses - it's important to respect the local culture wherever you are, and around Lake Atitlan short shorts are a no-go. That goes for walking around in your swimmers too. 

  • Spare ATM cards. They have recently opened up an ATM in San Marcos, however, it is not uncommon for cards to be scammed at the ATM's in San Pedro, so just to be safe bring and extra card.

  • Books! Oh so much time for reading!

  • Motion sickness tablets (the roads are winding and the lake can be rough).

  • If you're there during wet season, definitely a good rain jacket and thongs. 

HOW TO GET THERE?

  • You can fly into Guatemala City and take a 3 hour shuttle to Panajachel and then a 45-60 minute boat ride to San Marcos (or you can pay for a private that will take you directly to San Marcos, but this is pricey).

  • Or if you're coming from Mexico we always like to stop by San Cristobal De la Casas and take a shuttle from there (8 hours... although be warned we have experienced road blocks, doubling our transit time). Again, this will drop you off in Panajachel, so depending on what time you arrive, you can grab one of the last boats for the day to San Marcos or spend a night in Panajachel. 

For more info check out Visit San Marcos

EARLY MORNING ON THE MAIN STREET OF SAN MARCOS LA LAGUNA