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5 Tips for getting through the Winter Blues

Though I make an effort to put my best face forward when coming into contact with others, I do admittedly struggle with getting the winter blues that taint my feelings toward myself, my life and everything around me. It's not a fun state of mind to be in. The main difference between me and the typical depression sufferer however is that the fighting streak in me will not allow defeat for long. It takes over and forces me to lift myself up again. Call it the survival instinct of someone who has had to face a lot of adversity in life! So up I go again! Higher than before. And my results are powerful, as can be seen by the growth and continued success of Suncokret and my long-standing personal relationships and continued good health (knock on wood), with the occasional minor setback. In this blog post, I wanted to pass on my 5 best tips for getting through winter like a true Spiritual Warrior: 1. Be sure to get outside for some meaningful encounters with the sun and nature for at least 20 minutes once or twice per day, or at least whenever the weather is forgiving enough to allow. If you can't get out daily, make a committed effort to go out for longer stretches of time, between 1-3 hours, at least once per week instead. On some days, I manage just a little walk around the property with the dogs, but lately I’ve been extending that walk up to the church (see photo) and around our side of the village as I find it truly inspirational and a great way to warm up the body without it feeling like a great effort. The church sits on a hill and offers a view of Stari Grad, Brac Island, our village, the coast line and it is a place where I feel connected to One and where I can talk to the Divine. On weekends, I make a committed effort to spend family time doing things we love outdoors, as much as possible. This past weekend we took a long bike ride along the coast in and around Hvar Town. The weather was sunny and the air was brisk, but it was wonderfully inspirational! 2. Take 20 minutes daily (or as often as you can) to check in with yourself, mind, body and spirit, and be sure to form a dedication or Sankalpa (short, affirmative statement or personal mantra) for your “I am, I AM” time. Start by doing a simple 1-minute grounding exercise, like sitting in Sukhasana while performing Prana Mudra, or standing with your feet firmly on the ground and circling your arms down and around like the sun. In both practices, you imagine drawing life force from the earth and sky into your body, chakras, glands, organs and entire being, connecting to the life force within and around you. ​Do this or anything that allows you to slow down, go within, connect you to how you are feeling today and connect to the Source… Perhaps today’s a day for journaling or taking a mindful walk in nature, instead? It’s all good if it helps you get grounded and feel connected! Next, take 3-5 minutes to perform a few rounds of Surya Namaskar with Ujjayi Pranayama: there is nothing more powerful and uplifting than performing sun salutations in winter while connecting to the light that radiates out from your own heart and connecting you to the life force that drives everything. This will not only activate every part of your being, get your circulation going, connect you to your breath, stretch and strengthen you from head to toe, but it will also help you feel strong, limber and pumped up for the day ahead. And you can do it in just 3 -5 minutes! On days that you simply can’t unroll the mat, just go for a more active walk in nature, or do some active house cleaning, noticing how much better and clearer you feel now that your space is all tidied up! Once you are feeling warm and more flexible, try slowing down and going in deep; performing any 3-5 Asanas, Pranayamas, or perhaps a short Kundalini Yoga Kriya that you feel calling to you from within. If you went for a walk instead of doing sun salutes, then take 5 minutes to deeply observe yourself and the nature surrounding you. Or, if you cleaned house, then take some time to re-decorate or just appreciate the beauty of the space you’ve cleaned. The point is to gain deeper connection and appreciation of where you are at with yourself and life right now. End the process with a minimum 3-11 minute Savasana or Meditation: always rest after your practice to allow time for integration and self-reflection: how am I feeling and how has this practice helped me today? Is there any message I am receiving from my higher being which can help me move forward with my day ahead with more ease and grace? 3. Check in and keep up with your goals from time to time; if you made new year resolutions or are simply dedicated to progressing toward your life’s main goals, check in with how well you are keeping up and adjust accordingly. If you’ve slipped off track, get back up and start again. It’s never too late to be true to yourself and the things you want. Start today: Name 3 things you want most for yourself today, this week, this month, this year. Jot it down, now get to work! ​​4. Make time for friends and social life; whether it’s just a coffee, lunch or dinner date, a playdate with like-minded mamas and papas, a walk in nature with a dear one, or even a meaningful chat over the phone, don’t forget to feed your soul with the blessing of good company to keep your spirits lifted and bright. Give and get some encouragement for your mutual plans, dreams and goals. Be a coach to one another and help one another be the best you can be! 5. Eat and sleep right for your body type; So, I mention "for your body type" because "eating right" and "sleeping right" does not mean the same thing for every person. According to the wisdom of Ayurveda, we all have a different constitutional makeup that dictates how much sleep we might need and the type of food that is supportive to our good health and well being. But you don't have to be an expert in Ayurveda to eat and sleep right. You can simply start by observing how the various types of food you put into your body make you feel. What is the best portion size to help you feel fulfilled but not bloated? When is the best time of day for you to eat your meals, and do you need two, three or four meals to feel satisfied? What is the right balance of carbs, protein, veggies and fruit, and dairy that helps you feel energized not foggy and depleted? Similarly, how much sleep do you need to feel good? Do you need the same amount of sleep every day, do you (sometimes) need a power nap (like I do) to reset? What kind of environment and bedtime rituals help set the foundation for your highest quality sleep experience? To summarize: By mindfully addressing these 5 areas of well being on a regular basis, and especially when I am feeling down, I manage to slip out of the winter blues soon after succumbing to them. In case you find you have fallen off the wagon of maintaining good lifestyle habits that help keep the winter blues away, isn't it high time you got back on? It just takes a decisive moment to pick yourself back up again. And if you simply can't find the will or strength to do this on your own, you know where you can come to get the support needed to get yourself back on track. It would be my pleasure to do this together with you! Wishing you all light, peace, health and happiness from Hvar, Evening Marie

Improvising life & 4 great tips for manifesting positive outcomes

Happy 2019, dear readers! It's been a while. Not that there hasn't been anything to say, it's more that there is always so much to say and so little office time to jot it down. That's life with a pre-schooler. It forces you to do things in a new way. The anti-perfectionist way. It's not easy to adapt, but there seems to be little choice. So here it goes, my improvised message to you: Last year on Dec 31st I wrote a very special piece about the 10 Proven Tips for a Balanced Year Ahead which involve rituals I go through each December & January in order to take inventory of my life in the current year before honing in on desired dreams and wishes I want to manifest in the new one. It's a great process and I stand by everything I mentioned in the article 100%, but this year I broke tradition and didn’t write things down, well not in extended form, due to lack of personal reflection time. So, when I found myself on New Year's Eve and then New Year's Day without having completed many of the steps from my list in writing, I realised it was time to improvise and get cracking with action anyway. We spent New Year's Eve at home, just hanging out and enjoying one another's company and pondering aloud all the blessings we recall having touched our lives that year. I managed to make a bullet-point list of all the blessings I could recall from the past year, and the thing that surprised me most was that the joy and blessing I felt from spending time with people far outweighed the joy I felt about accomplishing great feats, including a major renovation project in my home or the business success we had had. So, thank you friends, new and old, for making the year so special for me! Following my own protocols as best as I could, on New Year's Day, we made a point to do something new together, and so we went on an adventure to find a labyrinth that a friend of ours had made, high up in the peak district of the island. We had tried to find it a while back without luck, but this time we got lucky. It's a rather small and unpresumptuous circular formation made of stones that is hard to spot in a land of endless stones. But the energy around the formation is quite energizing and appealing. Impromptu, we formed a line and followed the maze, turning this way and that, my husband, 3-year-old daughter and I taking turns stating our wishes aloud for the year ahead. Everything off the cuff. Everything from the heart. Stipe happened to have a bell in his pocket and began ringing it after each statement. The three of us reached the center of the formation, and then made our way back out in similar fashion, but this time I started chanting my favorite mantra for manifestation, "Har, Har" (which is quite catchy, it seems) and my companions followed suit, much to my delight! Once we exited the maze, we felt magical and blessed. Blessed to be alive, magical for being able to call out our dreams under heavenly skies, with the wind, and Divine nature as our witness. Though I kicked off the New Year without having made my lists in detail, I must say that this improvised version felt very powerful and true. The lesson here is that when you don't have time to be your best or do your best, just do the best you can. The Universe knows when you are sincere. The Universe listens and responds to you. ​ ​And because my inbox was flooded with Christmas and New Year's messages, probably just like yours, which I sadly had to delete due to lack of time to ponder them, probably just like you, the ones that did manage to stand out before deleting were those that gave simple instructions and seemed to come from the heart. So here are my 4 best New Year's inspirational tips for you, from my heart: 1. Create a Gratitude Treasure Chest: Get a container of some kind (a box, a glass jar, etc.) and place a statement of gratitude in it each day, or each week, or whenever you feel inspired. Read the contents at the end of the year to close it on a high note, and for pure inspiration as you move into the new one. 2. Get out there and do something new, big or small, planned or improvised. The rush of energy from experiencing new things will help build wind in your sails for a time to come. Enjoy! 3. Forgive yourself for any perceived failures and start anew today! Whatever it is that you are empowered to do now, whether it be one small step or one giant leap, the trust you place in life and your heart's whisperings will certainly bring great rewards. This I know to be true. 4. Chant "Har, Har" for 3 minutes while cupping your hands up and down, as you focus on your goals coming to life! You'll absolutely love this mediation! This magical manifestation tool comes from the teachings of Kundalini Yoga an instructs us to sit in Sukasana with eyes gazing into the 3rd eye, while forming a cup with our hands below the navel, outer edges of the hands on the pinky side touching. Chant “Har" while circling the hands up around the heart chakra, connecting the inner edges of the hands together along the index and thumb side, keep your thumbs pointed away from the rest of the fingers and form a cross with them - in doing so, we keep the ego at bay and let the mantra of “God’s Gift” and the cup of manifestation do the work - and then bring your hands back in the starting position and repeat the mantra "Har" again. The mudra and mantra chanting are repetitively and rhythmically done for the next 3-11 minutes, all the while, the heart & mind are focused on that which we would like to manifest, as if it were being born strait out of the Manipura Chakra, with the loving energy of the heart connecting and guiding us to receiving the positive outcome(s) such manifestation(s) will bring. For added power, pull in the naval point as you chant each "Har". It is said that the navel is the place of re-birth and when we focus the sound frequency there it makes it even more powerful. I have always found this exercise to be extremely profound. My New Year's prayer for us all: May work together with great energy and achieve powerful, uplifting results for ourselves and those we come into contact with. May we respect and learn from one another, and grow brighter and more joyful as a result. May we tap into the wisdom and experience needed to perform our work and live our lives with excellence, abundance and light. May we love and appreciate one another as reflections. May we be blessed, now and always. Har, har! Namaste, Evening, Stipe & the little one

The magic of retreat!

Happy 2019 everyone! Today I'd like to share an interview I conducted with one of our former retreaters as part of our Yoga Unites Us series. She is an incredibly inspirational woman named Luanne Rullestad, who came on retreat together with her daughter, Emile, and who is so bravely sharing her story of personal transformation and growth as inspiration for us all. Going on retreat is often the catalyst for a major life change, or an ideal way to celebrate life together with a loved one and with a like-minded community in a positively empowering, life-affirming way. In Luanne's case it was both. Tell us more about you? Who are you, what do you do for a living, where are you from? My name is Luanne, I am the mother of two extraordinary daughters and co-author of the book titled "Mom as of July." A true story of a mother's journey through addiction, homelessness, faith and love. How would you describe your life and lifestyle? My life today is filled with blessings. I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. I live within 30 minutes of both of my daughters, in the beautiful city of Dallas, Texas. I spend time working to promote our story in recovery centers, helping families bridge the gap of hope in restoring families burdened by addiction. I also enjoy playing, swimming and laughing with my 7 year old grandson. If you could change anything about your present lifestyle, what would that be and why? One thing I would change about my present lifestyle is getting up earlier so in order to enjoy a fuller day. Can you share with us more about your yoga journey / background… What got you started, with who, and how has that experience been progressing for you? I started with yoga 3 months after spending 40 days in Mercy Hospital, dying from liver failure. Both of my daughters arranged a private yoga class for us. After one class I joined the studio and went to 1 1/2 hours of hot yoga 3 times a week. I know with out any doubt, this is what healed my internal organs and of course renewed my mind. I love yoga to this day. Medically, mentally and spiritually this practice saved my life. If you met someone who had never tried yoga before, how would you describe it to them? In other words, what is yoga to you? Yoga to me restores life, joy, peace, balance, health. A true and powerful connection to my inner self. I highly recommend yoga to everyone. What was the reason you wanted to go on a retreat? Coming to the retreat was a dream come true and a very gracious gift from my daughter Emily. I was sick for many years and she kept a dream and a vision alive in her heart that she and I would go to a yoga retreat together one day. An impossible dream it seemed due to the condition of my daily deteriorating health. So, the retreat to Croatia was a miracle for us and an extraordinary experience. Have you been on a retreat before; if so where and what was it like for you? This was the first yoga retreat I had ever been on. My experience was more than invigorating and amazingly blissful at the same time. I plan to go on more yoga retreats in the future. This experience will be a hard one to top. How did you choose to retreat at Suncokret and what inspired you most while here? Emily did all the research and through website information and asking people questions about Croatia she found this most magical and enlightening place on earth. What was your favorite spot on the island and why? My favorite spot on the island was the home style retreat. I loved the comfort of the stone home, the beauty of the nature and scenery surrounding it, I loved the birds and the animals freely roaming, the history and the incredible all natural homemade meals from the surrounding gardens and farms and the precious, intimate time I spent there with my daughter, Emily. If you had one message that you could share with the rest of our readers, what would that be? Today we are sharing our story with the world. Bringing radical hope that every lost loved one can find their way home.

Yoga Unites Us

Welcome to our new blog series featuring the personal stories of the amazing guests from all walks of life who retreat with us! This past month, we opened doors to the start of our 14th retreat season! Fourteen! And it was quite an inspiring start, indeed. Firstly, we were blessed to have hosted a stay with the incredibly talented visionary artist, Burgandy Viscosi, who had contacted us over a year ago to inquire whether we would be interested in doing a yoga retreat – mural painting exchange. Though we were open to the idea already last year, that shared vision didn’t actually manifest till late April of this year. But the wait was certainly worth it! The stars aligned and the universe conspired to bring together two soul-sisters in fortnight-long exchange of yoga, art, creativity, open-hearted sharing, and all around pure magic. ​​However, it was not just Burgandy whose presence blessed us during opening week. There were also 4 other ladies; two from France and two from Germany, each with her own fascinating background and stories to share. I am always amazed and honoured to share yoga, delicious meals and meaningful chats with our retreaters, and, under the blessed skies of Hvar Island, slowly get to know the most poignant, meaningful life experiences these beautiful people share with one another in our space. Whether it be their hopes and dreams, their present or past struggles, the great learning blocks they have overcome and gained mastery over only to be the light for others in need, each person has a unique passion and purpose that can help us all come to know our own selves even better. As Burgandy spent her days drawing out and then painting images from my mind’s eye, hand equipped with paintbrush, flowing rather quickly but carefully along the wall in graceful, fluid strokes, rendering powerful images such as magical trees with peacock feathers for branches, chakra and other mandalas as adorning flowers, butterflies and birds and lavender as finishing touches… it felt as if the whole group was also flowing in and around our own creative waters, coming into greater alignment with our passion, purpose and potential. Toward the end of the week, just prior to the departure of the German ladies, whose stories I was only just beginning to get to know through bits and pieces of conversation, and who were becoming increasingly fascinating and inspiring to me, I had this “ah ha” moment… "Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could preserve some of these stories for others to learn, grow from, and be inspired by? Instead of Suncokret being merely a place where people can retreat together, why not also act as an extended channel for spreading word about the struggles and growth, passion and purpose of all these amazing souls who come together to share in a holistic yogic retreat experience together. In this way we empower our community to grow beyond the confines of the retreat space itself and demonstrate through story-telling just how universal our experiences are, despite our unique spin on things! And what better way to do this than to provide a platform for people to share their own stories, in their own words, on our very own blog? Alas, the title, “Yoga Unites Us” came to me as a beautiful heading for this expansion of our mission. Because the holistic yoga and spiritual pathway is indeed the very wonderful thing that brings us all together, from various corners of the globe, from diverse walks of life, to a little village on an island, in the middle of the Adriatic Sea… to a place called Suncokret... a place with purpose that is devoted to revolving around the Divine light (of the sun) and providing a platform for the blossoming of one's fullest potential. So, without further adieu, I leave you with the first interview of the series featuring a chat we had with Burgandy, in the hope that you may find inspiration in the slices of life shared by her and, in future editions, other retreaters alike. Enjoy and thanks for reading! Namaste #YogaUnitesUs #SuncokretGuestInterviews

Yoga Unites Us - Interview with visionary artist, Burgandy Viscosi

Dear Burgandy, tell us more about you? Who are you, what do you do for a living, where are you from? My name is Burgandy Viscosi, I currently live in Seattle WA and am a full time artist (primarily painting). How would you describe your life and lifestyle? My life and lifestyle is a creation itself. I’m always changing and exploring to meet, understand and learn from the various experiences and cultures I pursue in the hopes of getting a bigger picture of this great, beautiful world. If you could change anything about your present lifestyle, what would that be and why? Actually, after just having left your retreat, that is so efficient with its own grown natural products, and while there meeting a fellow woman retreater who does everything in her power to live a lifestyle that is close to zero waste... I feel inspired to truly be more conscious of my day to day use of disposable items. I feel the strong desire to minimize my consumption. Can you share with us more about your yoga journey / background… What got you started, with who, and how has that experience been progressing for you? I would say my yoga journey started with meditation. In my late twenties I would have intense panic attacks and meditation had been suggested to me. It literally changed my life almost overnight and almost completely illuminated my anxiety. Shortly after I paired up with an amazing Yogi to help illustrate her children’s stories. She inspired me to find my own physical stretching flow within myself and that truly deepened my meditation practice. At this point in my life I feel that taking time to be still and be present is truly the most important part of my day. If you met someone who had never tried yoga before, how would you describe it to them? In other words, what is yoga to you? If I were to talk to someone about yoga I would say that the journey will be absolutely unique to everyone. Teachers and gurus can only point in the direction but the specific path is yours and yours alone. Although being around other people who are walking their own path to the body, mind, spirit connection does seem to help nurture the process. What was the reason you wanted to go on a retreat? Retreats are great training grounds for learning to stay in a conscious mindset... conscious of our body, of our words, of our interactions and intentions. I feel that someday humanity can, on a global level, start living and interacting in this way. This I believe will truly birth the compassion and peace that humanity has the potential to be felt at a global level. Have you been on a retreat before; if so where and what was it like for you? I've been on a few retreats, mostly in Mexico while exploring and learning about the Mayan and Aztec cultures. I have found that most native cultures from around the globe incorporate the idea of ritualistic 'retreat' time and space into their daily way of life. Self reflection on the energies that work through and around us are the most intimate part of our being, and being in this world. How did you choose to retreat at Suncokret and what inspired you most while here? I recently learned that I had Balkan in my ancestry and became curious about the Croatian region. After hearing about how amazing Hvar was, one morning on a radio show about the best islands in the world, I did a bit of research and found Suncokret. I quickly felt a strong connection with Suncrokret's creator, Evening, and we started co-creating ideas to incorporate yoga inspired painted images into the yoga spaces. And the rest is pure Magic. I had the honor of enjoying an absolutely amazing spiritual experience at my stay at the retreat and now Suncokret has creative touches of paint with loving intention. What was your favourite spot on the island and why? My favorite spot on the island is a hard pick between sitting along the crystal clear turquoise water and walking in all the town stone narrow pathways. Both of which have inspired me to create a painting about them. If you had one message that you could share with the rest of our readers, what would that be? I would say if I had one message to share with everyone, it would be that beautiful cliché...

* Its not about the destination, its about the journey* Somehow I have found that the greatest paradox in life is that as we become more still and conscious of the universal life force within our being, we then easily accomplish all of that which we feel we deeply desire. Our deepest desires being that of the universe, moving through us to experience itself. The illusion being that we are seeking something outside ourselves, but instead when we reach the state of bliss internally the outside world is only a reflection of it. Thank you for sharing a little of your story with all of us! We look forward to your return visit and to keeping up with you via your Facebook and Instagram pages as well as your website!

Core Vitality – develop strength, flexibility, balance and fluidity with Zhineng Qigong, Taijiball a

Even though my Leo star sign connects me to the element of fire, I have always felt very connected and drawn to the element of water. Observing the endless, ever changing flow of running river waters in different landscapes or the unbroken song of ocean waves has always fascinated me. The passionate flow of water blends the music of movement with an accompanying depth of stillness, a magical natural balance whose wisdom has much to teach us. The martial artist, philosopher and filmmaker Bruce Lee had an amazing understanding of Taoist principles and was one who embodied the wisdom of water in a fascinating way. One of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes is: "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." A river represents the miracle of presence, with an ever changing yet stable nature. Ever changing yet always one, connected to source and striving forward into the endless flow of emerging possibilities. Passing over, under and around every obstacle, which may appear along the path, realigning, adjusting, finding it´s path along the way. “Running water never grows stale. So you’ve just got to ‘keep on flowing" – Bruce Lee Coming into a "flowing state" does't only connect you to a harmonious flow of life were you can live more intensely in the present moment as well as gather experiences that will help you to grow into a wiser human being, but also is fundamentally necessary for developing abundant, vital and energetic health on all levels. I invite you this summer to a beautiful retreat week in August at Suncokret, to take the opportunity to learn fundamental Zhineng qigong and Taijiball spine exercises which can lead you to experience this flowing state and improve your qi (energy) flow, posture and balance, and loosen tension in your muscles, joints, ligaments and internal organs. It will be a week full of mobilizing Yin and Yang energy, and resting in the stillness in movement, were Yin and Yang blend into the universal rhythm of one. Together we will explore aware breathing and inner space deepening during the relaxing Yin yoga postures. Experience the benefits of slowing down and working on your hips and spine in a more passive Yin Yoga way and turning your attention inward. Do you want to improve your core strength and relieve back pain, improve your posture, increase your range of motion and release tension, improve balance and concentration and your energy level? By learning and practicing Zhineng Qigong, Taijiball and Yin Yoga you'll take the most important first step toward genuine and lifelong health and vibrancy. Did you know that the spine is the central axis of our body through which the entire nervous system flows? And that 80% of chronic diseases are due to a disturbed energy flow in the spine? The whole nervous system is like a trunk that branches out with roots connecting deep into Mingmen, your main energy gate in the lower Dantian. Strong root energy connects with the trunk, the branches and the leaves. So like a tree whose roots are strong, the energy flows freely and the tree flourishes and becomes very strong and very healthy. Building a strong and healthy body on all levels starts with focus on cultivating this root energy. I’d like to empower you during this week to strengthen your spine and core and to learn Qigong relaxation and expantion from your inner space. Explore performing the movements slowly and gently, merging into the universe, pushing, stretching, and opening inner space. Zhineng Qigong and Taijiball incorporate (mainly standing) slow, easy to learn, flowing movements and "silent" postures, all of which are performed repetitively and in a meditative state of deep relaxation. They help to loosen up your waist, lumbar area, sacroiliac joints, shoulders and spine. Experience water like fluidity and movements that create energy, not consume energy like common sports movements. As you practice body awareness through Yoga you become mindful that there isn't just physical tightness in the hips but also emotional; it's where we store our emotional vulnerabilities and trauma leading to blocked energy. Explore releasing tension in your hips and spine with Yin Yoga postures. Listen and let go of the need to control, surrender, and remain in the moment. Appreciate everything. Every experience has meaning and matters. "Empty your cup, so that it may be filled: become devoid to gain totality" – Bruce Lee We will open the inner body space and structure, using consciousness and movement in an harmonious way to keep our energy flowing like pure water. The practices will also maximize the circulation of all bodily fluids, including blood and lymph, and the smooth flow of qi throughout your body also strengthens your immune system. Lets explore together the deep wisdom of free flowing water! Click here for full event details #2018AugustEvents #AnitaIlicic #ZhinengQigong #YinYoga #Taijiball

Exclusive Events: an extension of the "Dream Manifestation" cycle at Suncokret

Without a doubt, the absolute most enthralling aspect of the work we do under the umbrella of a running a holistic retreat is its complex and intricate connection to it being a platform for "dream manifestation". When I came up with the slogan "Manifest your Dreams and Goals" to describe our mission back in 2004, what I was originally referring to was the blessing of our own love story; the fact that the coming together of Stipe and myself enabled us both to blossom in incredible ways that gave us a solid foundation for re-constructing our life together in a way that was mutually inspiring and self-fulfilling, according to our inner vision and "dreams." Conversely, because a major part of our life vision involved sharing our lifestyle and lifestyle tools with others in this idyllic setting, this also meant that, as we lived out our own dream life, we would also be providing a platform for others to experience a slice of that, too, and perhaps take home some fresh inspiration and ideas to apply to their own life back at home. A beautiful win-win dharmic cycle was perpetuated as a result. I'm not sure it occurred to me, however, all those years back, that one major extension of the dream-manifesting avenues we could explore would be to provide a space for others to host their own unique lifestyle dream events in, what we have come to term "Exclusive Events". But this has indeed turned out to be a regular and growing sister operation at our retreat and, because of this, I would like to shed more light on the nature of such events: Specifically, what are Exclusive Events, whom are they designed by and for, and why friends of Suncokret should be interested in them, too. The term "Exclusive Events" refers to the ability for any path-walker to co-design the retreat of their dreams for their own group of friends and connections by exploiting our expertise, services and space to enable their own holistic retreat vision to unfold. We've hosted many such unique events for a variety of clients over the years and one of our most memorable was an event for a woman from Belgium who asked us to co-design a holistic bachelorette week for herself and her closest clan of girlfriends who had all dispersed to live in various countries and who would reunite for a week of goddess yoga, tarot readings, organic spa treatments and good old holiday fun in paradise. I led the yoga, tarot and organic spa sessions, Stipe handled the outings and meals and the ladies arranged their own unique bachelorette activities in our space. We were blessed that the same ladies came back two years later to celebrate the birth of the woman's first child! Needless to say, we find it extremely special that we were able to provide a safe, sacred and supportive shelter for these two beautiful events to unfold! But what may be even more special is when a former guest of ours returns in the role of teacher to host an event with us in our space. This is the case with our dear friends, Nathan and Eduardo, who have conceived of a unique Life Coaching event taking place this September called "Balancing Life with Joy". Nathan visited us for the first time back in 2008, and returned again 8 years later on retreat with Eduardo in 2016. The reunion was one of the sweetest I have had with a returning guest, and it laid the foundation for the unfolding of one of Nathan's inner visions, i.e. to host a retreat of his own in the comfort of a spiritual space he has come to feel as an extension of home away from home. You can learn more about Nathan and Eduardo in our interview with them here. And finally, we also have the honor of welcoming international teachers who wish to hire our space to host their own events in, a situation we term "retreat hire". During such events, we are blessed to be able to house a range of diverse teaching and holistic modalities that we may not otherwise have on offer during our own series of co-hosted summer events, and this also gives us the chance to meet fellow path-walkers and inspirational light workers and their friends that we might not have otherwise met. ​​ This is the case with Linda and Larry Cammarata's upcoming back-to-back event weeks happening this May from 20 - 26 May 2018 and 27 May - 2 June 2018. They will be leading "The Mindful Body: Moving into Emotional Freedom and Joy" event, together with Lavinia Plonka, GCFP. Learn more about their backgrounds in our interview with them here. No matter whether we are hosting our own Yoga B & B event weeks, Co-Hosted Summer Events, or one-time Exclusive Events, all of the events at Suncokret act as intricate links in the perpetual dream-manifesting process that is at the heart of the Suncokret mission. Thanks to you all for being a part of this journey! Namaste. #exclusiveevent #2018 #2018bloginterviews

Interview with Nathan and Eduardo - Balancing Life with Joy Retreat Hosts

Dear Nathan and Eduardo, it is such a deep pleasure and honor to be able to welcome you back to Suncokret this September - and this time as retreat hosts rather than guests! How cool is that?! Can you please tell our readers a little about yourselves?What do you do? Nathan: I live a multi-faceted life as an urban dweller, global traveler, corporate leader, spiritual seeker, and personal coach. I love the arts and have been a singer and actor as well. While I haven’t performed in a few years, I love to attend symphony concerts, musical theater shows, and cabaret performances. I enjoy hosting people and events and am getting acquainted with my new city of Los Angeles while still traveling a fair amount. I enjoy helping out and participating in various volunteer activities and non-profit boards, too. Eduardo: I think of myself as one who is a perpetual opportunist to enjoy life! My passion is connecting with people and traveling the world. As a flight attendant, I have the privilege of visiting many places. I’m also completing a year-long training and certification program in life-coaching. I’ve read many spirituality-based books and practice meditation on a daily basis. I also love movies, dancing, and connecting with people. Nathan, you've been to Suncokret on retreat twice and, Eduardo, you've been with us once. Can you share with our readers what your favorite thing about coming to Suncokret as retreat guest was? Eduardo: I loved the experience of being part of a yoga and spiritual retreat in an old-world setting like Hvar. The stone architecture, picturesque villages, and the beauty of the Adriatic Sea in combination with meeting spiritually-minded people from all parts of the world made this a very unique experience. Nathan: Each time I have visited Suncokret, I have been able to pause in a way that is meaningful for me. The sunshine, the smell of lavender, the al fresco dining, the clear water of the sea, and the wholesome, delicious food are sensory delights. Having a customized yoga practice and spiritual guidance as part of a vacation helped open up new ideas and possibilities for me. I leave feeling refreshed and clear on something I need to do next in my life. Now that you are returning as a retreat host, what do you hope your event participants will gain by attending the Balancing Life with Joy retreat at Suncokret? Eduardo: Inner peace, clarity, and inspiration. I believe the beauty of nature that we experience in the island mixed with yoga, meditation and loving company helps us to connect with our true joy, recharging us completely. This retreat is a perfect set to disconnect from our busy world, connect with who we are, and create new dreams. Nathan: Tools and ideas for balancing busy lives. I am planning some focused group conversations on balancing contrasts so that we can be successful in our day-to-day lives while achieving new goals. On a basic level, I also hope people enjoy the conversations, connections, food, physical activity and joy in sharing this experience with new friends. Balance and Joy – How do they work together? Nathan: Balance is found in movement; it is not fixed in time or space. The art of balancing involves continuous experimentation, adjustment, and alignment. In our human experience, we often find ourselves out of balance and through various practices we align ourselves back into various balancing acts and states. As we lose our rigidity and open ourselves to contrasting elements, we experience balance as a tool for greater self-expression and mastery. Eduardo: Joy is one of the highest energetic vibrations which allows for optimal states of experience and service. We will explore the enablement of joy as an inner state and as an outward expression. Balancing Life with Joy is that ability to smile through life’s challenges and love ourselves and others through various forms of expression. As part of this retreat, you will design your own strategy and for infusing balance and joy into your immediate goals and dreams! We're so much looking forward to providing the space, yoga classes and other support needed for this event to unfold beautifully this September! Thanks so much to you both for taking the time to share a little more about who you are with our readers. We're really looking forward to this magical and meaningful event with you! Namaste! Read more about the Balancing Life with Joy event on our Exclusive Events page here and connect with Nathan and Eduardo via their Facebook event page for more details. #exclusiveevent #2018Events #September2018 #YogaLifeCoaching

Interview with Linda and Larry Cammarata - Hosts of The Mindful Body: Moving into Emotional Freedom

Hi Linda and Larry! We're so excited to host your first ever Croatia and Suncokret retreat weeks this May! Tell us a little more about who you are and what you do... what else do you do besides teach yoga, mindfulness, tai chi, and qigong? Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT: In addition to teaching yoga, qigong, and mindfulness skills, I have a long-standing professional background as a registered nurse, with extensive experience in healthcare management and in preventive medicine education, with a specialty in natural sleep recovery. Several years ago, with my husband Larry, I co-founded Mindfulness Travels, an educational organization that hosts mindfulness-oriented retreats in beautiful, inspiring places around the world. I’m the director of the company, which keeps me focused on choosing retreat locations that offer our participants a wonderful space for learning and practicing mindful movement skills, cultural immersion, adventures in nature, time for personal restoration, and of course…great food! I’m also a professional singer-songwriter. Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.: In addition to teaching qigong, tai chi, and mindfulness, I’ve been a practicing licensed psychologist for over 30 years, specializing in mindfulness-based psychotherapy and mind-body medicine. In addition to my psychology practice, I write about topics related to mindful movement, sleep health, communication, and mindfulness; my writings on mindful movement have been published in magazines, a fitness journal, and a book. I’m passionate about mindful movement, and have made presentations to national and international conferences on this topic. I also have a background as a professional musician and performance artist, and always enjoy musically collaborating with Linda. We both enjoy exploring nature, art, music, film, and new cultures. When we’re not travelling, we can often be found hiking around the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding our home in Asheville, North Carolina. We enjoy bringing supportive communities of open-hearted people together. Wow, I love the diversity of your backgrounds and how they blend so beautifully together through your combined retreat work! What do you most hope retreat attendants will gain by attending your event at Suncokret this May? We hope that our guests will gain knowledge and skills that will support them in feeling an uplifting sense of what it means to be alive and free from self-imposed limitations. We often refer to this sense as “vitality” and “joy”, although words are not enough to convey the meaning of these qualities. That’s why we focus on mindfulness of the body as a vehicle for creating peace, ease, and joy in relation to self and others. Why would attending your particular event be beneficial to the participants who join? ​​Participants at our retreats come away with greater self-acceptance and compassion, an appreciation for the beauty of nature, an enthusiasm for the practices of mindfulness, qigong, and yoga, an expansion of their understanding about what it means to be truly—and realistically—mindful, and ways to integrate mindfulness into their lives to advance their professional and personal development as it applies to health, wellness, and rewarding relationships. Is there any ideal way retreat participants can better prepare themselves for their retreat time with you? Yes…we recommend that participants contemplate upon an intention for their time with us. It can be as simple as learning ways to relax or more existentially complex as in, “what do I want to do with my life?” or “what’s holding me back from…?” Ideally, participants will “let go” of preconceived ideas about the retreat and show up with a “beginner’s mind”; that sort of mindset most always contributes to the many blessings that are received when the mind and heart are open. ​​At the end of the event week, what is the one thing you hope retreat participants will walk away feeling? The word that comes to mind is “connected”. Our retreats facilitate an experience of appreciation for your life, a sense of joy about being alive in the present moment, and a willingness to compassionately care for your self, others, and the planet Testimonial “I have had the opportunity to join Larry and Linda for more than one of their Mindfulness Retreats with and without a third facilitator. Each retreat has been remarkable. Facilitators are at the top of their fields. There are opportunities to expand one’s inner work and/or clinical practices, relish a spirit of adventure, and enjoy cultural immersion and appreciation. Lovely accommodations are chosen thoughtfully to support the overall intentions of the retreat. Culturally inspired gourmet meals are served. Because retreatants typically share some common values, a supportive sense of community emerges. You will be graciously welcomed whether you are traveling alone or in the company of companion(s). I travel alone and have roomed with kind and thoughtful people.” - Solo Female Traveler We're very excited to be welcoming you to Suncokret this May! Thanks again for taking the time to shed light on your backgrounds and retreat intentions with our readers. Namaste! Read more about the Mindful Body: Moving into Emotional Freedom and Joy event on our Exclusive Events page here and connect with Linda and Larry via their website for further details. #exclusiveevent #2018Events #May2018 #Mindfulness #AwarenessThroughMovement #qigong #yoga

Sat Dharma - find the way to your real potential through rebirthing

Sat Dharma: Why am I here? On my last Reincarnation Therapy week there was one session I remember really vividly to this day. I was standing as a young woman on a lawn on a huge piece of land with hills, trees and a cloudy sky during sunset time. I was standing there in a thin white dress, arms open and asking the Divine: "Why am I here?" Not far away, there were some houses with lights on and I could see the people in the houses living their everyday lives; living polarity, living in a state of forgetting their true divine nature. They had forgotten where they came from and they stopped asking this question. As there was no answer to my own question, I suddenly found myself some years earlier as a little child in one of those houses, lying on the bed crying and asking my mother the same question: "Where do I come from and why am I here?" And she had no answer either. She was dressed completely in black, hiding her divinity and beautiful energy under a black cloak, already totally present in the duality of life and in forgetting her origin. On the other side of the bed was my guardian angel in a radiant green light smiling at me. He took my hand and we went on a journey. ​​​​Where do I come from and why am I here? The next moment I was just energy and experienced my life before incarnating on mother earth. I saw all the other souls in their radiant colors, I saw our spiritual guides helping us through the process of getting ready to incarnate again and learn our next lessons. I saw how I had chosen this life and, what was really interesting, I saw a big colorful circle, a radix, like in a horoscope... In this circle there were some parts highlighted in color while other parts were not surrounded by white energy. And I started to understand that this was my life and the areas in color were the issues I wanted to concentrate on and learn in my next incarnation. And one part especially, in the right lower corner, there was something obvious; it was red and really easy to see. It was
 my “lunar node”, my potential to discover and to develop myself in my next life. In Astrology, the lunar node is the part of the horoscope where you can see what your soul wants and where your path leads to. So there I had the answer: that was why I am here. That is why I am on mother earth. I chose this specific lesson to be solved in this lifetime. Dharma or Sat Dharma In Vedic tradition, we also call this potential our Dharma or Sat Dharma. Though dharma cannot be directly translated in western language and is a concept that varies, depending on religious affiliation, we mostly use it in close reference to the Buddhist and Hindu definitions. In Sanskrit, dharma refers to your true purpose, or to living a life that is in harmony with cosmic order or universal truth. So when we speak about you living your dharma, we are referring to you living your truth, living your highest potential, and living in a way that is supported by the Divine in a manner that is in accordance to your soul’s desire. Sat means “eternal” or “true” so we can translate our Sat Dharma as our soul’s own eternal universal truth. So the answer is obvious but also hard to find, because, as children, we fall into forgetting our true nature; we are aware of it but are made to function in this dualistic world. We are told that what we know is not true but false and because we want to belong, we start to shut down our connection to the divine. And this is also meant to be so we can rediscover, reconnect, and, through this process, become reborn by rediscovering that we are divine beings in a human shell. The process of getting reconnected or "reborn" can be diversified, as we are all individual souls with our different imprints and Karmas. So there can be hundreds and thousands of ways to get reconnected to your true self. As in my case, the path was through Rebirthing and Reincarnation (Regression) Therapy, which are closely connected with each other. What is Rebirthing
? Rebirthing is an ancient breathing technique, which was mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, as so called “Pranapaganati” and was passed from Master to follower through initiation with the primary goal of the Spiritual Rebirth of man. In modern times it was rediscovered and called Rebirthing by Leonard Orr in the 1960s. Some Therapist use the breathwork to guide people back to their own birth and beyond. The practice I teach derives from Thorwald Detlefsen, who established Reincarnation Therapy in the 1970s in Munich, and used the Rebirthing breath as a trance induction to guide people into former lives. One of my teachers, Mathias Wendel, worked with Detlefsen for 10 years in Munich and still teaches this wonderful technique today. This connected breath, as my teachers also call it, is easily explained as involves breathing in and out continuously through the mouth. Some traditions also do it through the nose in a comfortable and lying position. The continuous breathing takes place for half an hour or more, enriching the physical body with oxygen and on the subtle level with lots of Prana. Towards the end, the intense breathing is stopped and followed by the breathless state, the so called “sailing phase” which lasts for about 10-15 Minutes, where you can just relax, lie still and see what comes up. Music is played throughout the Rebirthing session, sometimes strong pieces, sometimes divine sounds reconnecting you to your true nature, depending on the topic and the teacher. What actually happens during Rebirthing
? While breathing intensely, the subtle body detaches from the physical body and the result may be a beautiful lightness, like an out-of-body experience, or a connection and “talk with” your spiritual guidance. Some people may experience former lives, see colors, or get in touch with people they once loved. The experiences are as manifold as the souls on this earth. It can also happen that nothing happens, or that there is pain
 in the joints due to energetic blockages in the body. Anything is possible, and nobody should have any expectations... Everything happens as it is meant to happen. In that way, it can be an amazing experience; like being reborn, waking up from polarity, realizing that everything is possible. My first encounter with Rebirthing The first Breathing Session I had was during a Yoga festival in Sweden and I had no idea what I was getting into then. They played music from my teenage years, like Guns and Roses and Metallica, and at first I thought, “What is this?” Suddenly, people started crying and yelling and I started laughing. But the group energy and dynamics were so strong, that I found myself lying on a lawn with my inner child in my arms, holding her and crying, being so grateful for that moment. As a result, I was able to heal many childhood fears and issues. Afterwards I felt that that it was a powerful technique and that, I wanted to repeat it. ​ ​Being reborn Upon discovering Rebirthing and Reincarnation Therapy, my life changed rapidly as I found a tool to connect to my true divine nature. It was truly a new beginning, a new birth in my life, which enabled me to finally know why I was here. I found out that I had been a healer in Atlantis and a priest in Lemuria during the days when it was falling apart and people were leaving. I also found myself as victim and as offender in former lives, and came to understand that all the people we meet are just our own reflection, teaching us the lessons we need to learn. I found the connection to my spiritual guides, learned how to communicate and interact with them in order to find my Sat Dharma, the reason why I came on earth this time. I saw the detours I took on my path and found the way to walk more stable and straight with their help, in order to become what I really wanted to be. Today I am grateful for all the tools, which have been shown to me and which made me become a Yoga teacher for adults and children and also working on the subtle level with Yoga Therapy and Pranic Healing. If you are intrigued by this story and keen on experiencing the Rebirthing process, Pranic healing or Yoga events led by Daniela, join us for these upcoming events: Sat Dharma Yoga - Find the courage to reveal yourself through yoga from 8-14 July 2018, Divine Yoga - connect to the god-dess within from 5 - 21 July 2018, or Yoga & Creativity - unleash your creative potential from 22 - 28 July 2018. #2018Events #Easter #SatDharmaYoga #YogaCreativity #DivineYoga #DanielaDippong #Rebirthing #yogatherapy

Spring into Dance: Easter, Ishtar and Belly dancing

And there it is again, the figurine of an ancient Goddess, circulating on our social networks, attracting hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. The author of the meme claims that the roots of the word Easter come from the goddess Ishtar, and that the roots of Easter come from the ancient rites in honour of this once powerful deity. But is this ‘the truth of Easter’? The symbolism of Ishtar is powerful. It is easy to see the attraction of the image of the beautiful figurine, and understand the appeal of this feminine, corporeal, new-yet-old representation of Easter. However, the information passed on by this meme has been widely questioned. For example, anthropologist Krystal D’Costa in Beyond Ishtar: The Tradition of Eggs at Easter warns us not to take the meme at its face value and gives useful insight into the symbolism of eggs, Easter and Ishtar rites. Rather than dwelling on the debate on ‘the truth of Easter’, I would like to explore the symbolism of this ancient Mesopotamian Goddess, digitally re-born from its 5000 year-old slumber by our communal ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’. Is it a coincidence that this digital rebirth of Ishtar taps into the wider rebirth of the feminist movement that has been happening largely via social media, such as #MeToo and EverydaySexism campaigns? The ‘Goddess culture’ and feminist movement have intersected before. Emerging from the grass-roots women’s movement in the 70s, the Goddess culture is associated with spiritual feminism. In 1978, Carol Christ published the essay Why Women Need the Goddess, and presented it as the keynote address at the ‘Great Goddess Re-emerging’ conference at the University of Santa Cruz in the Spring of 1978. In it she said that: ’The simplest and most basic meaning of the symbol of Goddess is the acknowledgment of the legitimacy of female power as a beneficent and independent power’ (Christ 2006: 45). In a fascinating, thriving subculture of belly dancing, consisting largely of women from all corners of the world exchanging tips and videos on this globalised dance practice via digital networks, the power of the Goddess symbolism has long been recognised and used. For example, Ishtar, a ‘belly dance artist, writer and musician’ based in Liverpool, UK, says that by connecting with a ‘divine feminine archetype’ women can connect with universal, spiritual power through dance. On her website she addresses those who wish to connect to the powerful feminine Ishtar archetype like this: ‘Call on her to make your dance command the attention of the audience and when you want to be treated like a queen’. Christ argues for the need for women to establish a system of symbols and theory congruent with their experience, in clear opposition to patriarchy and patriarchal religions. She emphasises that ‘the Goddess is a symbol of the affirmation of the legitimacy and beauty of female power’ (2006:46), and writes: 'The affirmation of female power contained in the Goddess symbol has both psychological and political consequences. Psychologically, it means the defeat of the view engendered by patriarchy that women's power is inferior and dangerous. This new "mood" of affirmation of female power also leads to new "motivations" it supports and undergirds women's trust in their own power and the power of other women in family and society.' (Christ 2006: 46) However, symbolism of female power represented in the image of a Goddess can too often be taken at a surface value. Some belly dancers have commented in my research that, within the subculture of belly dance, the over-emphasis on what is superficially feminine, such as body parts like hips and breasts, can lead to a trivialisation of Goddess culture. It can lead away from the original empowering intention of adopting the Goddess symbolism, which, in Christ’s words, is ‘to support women’s trust in their own power and the power of other women in family and society’. There are many different ways to celebrate the re-birth of this valuable idea, and I invite us all to take those that are most congruent to our own experiences, or desires. Whether it is by taking yoga or a belly dancing class, joining a campaign, recalling an ancient Goddess in a ritual, or going for an Easter service, if these personal paths support our growth as powerful women, they are all precious. - Edina Join co-hosts Edina and Evening-Marie for Viva Shakti, a yoga & belly dancing event for women happening this June at Suncokret! #2018Events #YogaBellyDancing #Easter #Ishtar #Spring2018 #EdinaHusanovic

What to do when there are delays in moving forward with your life’s plans?

Last month I wrote about the 10 proven tips for a Balanced Year Ahead, which is a summary of the annual New Year’s rituals that enable me to start the year off on the right foot. Point 10 on the list describes a process that enables me to check in with myself in a profound way, realign myself to the vision I have of the life I want to live and the person I want to be, and helps me to tune into the current steps I can envision taking that allow me to walk along that path in the best possible way I know how, given my present “tool kit” including skills, talents, assets, connections and apparent opportunities available to me in the present. It is obvious that in order to live the life of our dreams, we have to first envision what that might be. After all, wanting to have a “happy, fulfilling life,” i.e. the basics of what we all really want, means quite different things to different people, so it’s not enough to say “I want to be happy” but rather define what that would actually entail a very precise and detailed way. Please refer to the Life Path Awakening - New Year's Review and Refresh for further guidance on how to do this in a systemized way by exploring the specific categories outlined. Once you get the hang of it, you can even add some categories of your own, too! Once we do awaken to our inner vision, it is logical that we then have to next assess how close we are to manifesting those dreams, by taking into consideration our present state of being and circumstances, and what we are currently empowered to do in order to actively align with that vision. We also need to consider how to best become a magnet for the things we want and what we can do to reflect the essence of the person we know ourselves to be on the inside, even if we're not currently showing up in that way in certain relationships. But what can be done if, after having clarified the vision and laying out the appropriate steps needed to move toward our desired outcome, and then following through with the outlined plans to get there (i.e. following the treasure map), we come up against major roadblocks that prevent us from reaching our desired goal(s) and dream life or dream state in a timely manner? Just to be clear, by “timely manner”, I mean, “within the time frame we deem is appropriate for the wishes to manifest and the desired outcome to unfold according to how we envision.” I’m talking about delays! I mean, on-going, increasingly annoying, totally frustrating and unbelievably repetitive delays?! Delays that seem to obstruct every good effort you put into traveling the ultra-efficient highway toward the vision you would like to see manifest, despite your excellent, ultra-efficient plan and effort? I tell you what I do… after first getting “a little annoyed” and perhaps feeling “somewhat panicked” (=code for I freak out)… I take a deep breath and then I take a break! I go for a walk or even venture on a fun weekend escape, if I dare! Oh, yes, I do! I know if I can clear my head of the issue and give it a buffer of time some new spark of hope will appear, a new inspiration I had not seen before with my tunnel vision glasses on. By taking that beautiful step back, I am able to see the broader picture. And from this platform, I am able to consider with an open heart: “Is what I am attempting to do in alignment with who I really am and what I really want and need at this time for my purpose to unfold in it’s most perfect way?” If the answer is yes, I start to consider possible detours around the roadblock or ways to decrease the wait time of the delay (a plan B and even a plan C, of sorts), and then focus my attention to moving along that route instead. If the answer is no, then I try to envision a pathway that is in better alignment with who I am and what I really want and need for my purpose to unfold, now that everything has become clearer to me. In essence, this is also creating an alternate plan B and C, but just from a different perspective! The point is, when things are just not going your way, it’s time to pause and remember that old saying, “All roads lead to Rome,” which actually means there are many means to get to the same endpoint. And the ultimate endpoint is our Destiny! Even if we do not (yet) know who we truly are and what we are destined for, a spiritual pilgrim will have faith that he or she will figure it all out and arrive there regardless. He or she will make every best effort to get there intentionally, even if blind, maimed or otherwise limited in some capacity, because a pilgrim believes in the Ultimate order of things and in their dream. They will not give up on their dream, even if the dream is not yet too clear or well defined in fancy, descriptive words and elaborate, vivid visions, they feel in their heart and gut that that dream is alive. There quest is to discover it through life's many roadways and blockades! And guess what? They will be successful in the end, because “energy flows where attention goes!" If you make it a point to focus on working toward your finding your happiness, purpose and self-fulfillment, even if you're not completely sure what that actually means but willing to explore and find out through the process of trial and error and use the delays and roadblocks as challenges for re-alignment, you will eventually discover the secret ingredients of your very own unique recipe for that happiness and fulfillment. There's another interesting thought I once came across about the nature of delays; they are sometimes the Universe’s way of saving us from unforeseen trouble ahead. Like the time you left your car keys in the house and had to go back to the house, unlock the door, find where you misplaced them, and walk back to the car again before starting off on your journey, only to soon after pass by a terrible accident along your path that could have involved YOU had you been “on time”; life’s delays in your plans are sometimes a way of actually clearing your path of potential danger and keeping you on track. So, the next time you do find that there are roadblocks in your desired pathway, consider this handy, 10-point action plan: 1. Sit tight (and try not to get too frustrated but, if you do, forgive yourself for being human!), 2. Trust there is a reason behind the delay 3. Take a break and clear your mind 4. Check-in and re-align yourself with your highest possible Vision 5. Look for a possible lesson presented in the delay (trust your gut) correct and learn from it 6. Wait for a new spark of inspiration, or look for signs 7. Define the alternate route(s) you can take to get to where you want to be 7. Move forward with your fullest integrity, best intent and positive outlook 8. Trust in your ability to get it right now but be open to Divine timing 9. Follow the signs as you move ahead (repeat process if necessary until smooth sailing) 10. Never give up! (not on yourself, not on your dreams, not on your goals, not on the Universe’s love and support for you) In the end, the Universe will either deliver smooth sailing or present obstacles in your path to help you learn, grow and re-align toward the outcome or Destiny that is meant for you. So next time there’s a major delay in moving forward with your life's plans, take it as a good sign that you are being redirected in a way that is purposeful for you. A trendy way of saying this is: “Keep Calm, Follow the Signs, and Carry On”. With love, Evening Marie P.S. In case you are in need of some assistance getting in touch with yourself and your life's vision, here are some upcoming event weeks that can help you understand yourself and your purpose better: 29 April - 11 May & 3-8 June ​ Yoga B & B / Personal Retreat with Evening Marie; with the option to sign up for Chakra Life Mapping or Life Path Awakening 8 - 14 July Sat Dharma Yoga - find the courage to reveal yourself with yoga with 60-minute Sat Dharma readings with Evening or Daniela 19 - 25 August Source-Healing - walk the path of wholeness & heart connection with Zhineng Qigong & Yin Yoga 16 - 22 September Touching the Sacred Space Within - Atma Kriya Yoga & Sri Yantra painting meditation event with option to sign up for 30-minute “Soul Purpose” Vedic Astrology reading, 30-minute “Chakras” Vedic Astrology reading, or 1.5-hour full Vedic Astrology reading (pre-ordered, limited spots)* #2018Events #LifePathAwakening #SatDharmaYoga #AtmaKriyaYoga #SriMantraMeditation #SourceHealing #PersonalRetreat #ChakraLifeMapping

10 proven tips for a balanced year ahead

I love the New Year season but not for the usual reasons. I don’t engage in partying (not in the traditional sense, anyway) and I don’t indulge in excess, neither regarding food, drink, shopping or other traditional holiday customs that I find bring me down rather than lift me up. Instead, I view the closing of the year and the opening of the new one as a sacred, spiritual but also goal-oriented process that sets the backdrop and foundation of success and happiness for the year ahead. And each year I am pleased with the results as I watch myself moving actively forward toward my dreams, goals and wishes, manifesting the life I want to live one beautiful step at a time. For me this process starts in mid-autumn, after the retreat season has ended and I’ve attended to setting up the plan for the year ahead business-wise. I then take some time to clean, reorganize and de-clutter my home and office, I spend private time with my family and catch up with island friends and take extra time out for my physical wellbeing. When celebratory December rolls around, including the important celebration of my son’s and husband’s birthdays followed by Christmas, I embark on my yearly pilgrimage to my former home town, Ljubljana, where together with my island family I catch up with my son, old and dear friends and take advantage of city life, immersing myself and my islanders in the cultural offerings that have always played a big role in my life. It’s very rewarding to keep this aspect of my love for city and culture alive, if only in intensive short doses several times each year. Finally as January approaches, we return back to the island in preparation for the New Year and this is when I actively engage in inspiring rituals that help me ring in the New Year on a positive, sober, guided, and empowered foot. I share with you these ten tips for empowering your life in positive ways as you embark on the New Year and wish you the most successful, prosperous and rewarding year ahead! One – Reflect back and celebrate the coming year with purpose Give yourself 1 hour to make a list of all the reasons you have to be thankful, for people and events that have influenced you for the better over the past year, and then make a list of all the things you are looking forward to seeing, doing and experiencing in the new year. Relish in the positive feelings this exercise brings you. If you can’t remember what happened to you, review your photos and / or Facebook timeline, chat with your best friend about your past year or review your diary. Focus on feelings of success and happiness and keep a positive outlook as you ring in the New Year in a wholesome way and be sure to keep the best of company while you do this, even if that means spending the night with your cat! Two – Drink if you will but don’t get drunk I’m not saying don’t drink… if you can have just one celebratory glass (or perhaps two) and if you enjoy the taste then why not indulge a bit of bubbly along with that healthy dose of festive cheer together with your select friends and loved ones. But if two glasses leads to three, four or more, you are headed for experiencing a New Year’s blur rather than sparkle, most likely followed by nasty hangover that will mark this precious time with a cloak of darkness that will taint your steps into the year ahead… And why on earth would you want to do that to yourself (again)?! Start off fresh and be your best on New Year’s day! Three – Take a daytrip to somewhere new (or loved) on New Year’s day In par with the above sentiment, changing the air and scenery is always rewarding and inspiring for the spirit. Even if this means walking a district in your city, town or village that you’ve never been to (or spent much time in) before, discovering new pathways and seeing new sights with clear and receptive eyes brings new perspective to your life and getting fresh air never hurt anyone, either. If you can’t get out for whatever reason, pick up a good book and journey on that way! You never know what or who you just might bump into in the most unexpected of places... Go ahead and see what’s just around that new and exciting corner on New Year’s day! Four – Start something new and stick with it Start 2018 on an adventurous foot. Everyone knows adventure is the spice of life; just name your pleasure! Schedule it in this January and keep up with it for a while. Try that sport you’ve always wanted to try, take up a challenging hobby you’ve always wanted to master, dare to do that thing you’ve been dreaming of doing but never quite get around to. Whatever you decide on to shake things up a bit, you won’t regret the feeling of starting off this year with the fresh energy and excitement of engaging in something new that helps picks up the wind in your sails… come on, I dare you! Five – Do something nice for someone else (and make a habit of it) If you are feeling the winter blues, one of the best ways to usher in a spirit of cheer into your life is to brighten up the life of someone else in need. This can be a friend or relative who has been having a stroke of misfortune, or it can be a complete stranger for whom you feel inspired to show a bit of kindness to. Did you know that a simple act of kindness has an incredibly powerful rippling effect felt by the receiver, the giver and anyone else who witnesses or experiences the benefit of that act? Being kind will improve your mental, emotional and physical health so get out there and be kind to others and witness the beautiful karmic effect it has on yourself and the world around you! Six – Clean and then de-clutter your home Okay, this is a big one and it may take more than just a few hours or days, weeks or months. Start with baby steps by simply cleaning the home to make it fresh for the New Year. We’ve all heard the saying that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and you will feel divine in your clean and tidy home. After you’ve completed the main tasks, make a plan to de-clutter your home, section by section, room by room, one category after the other. Do a little something each day (or weekly) and have weekly, monthly and a yearly goal. Mark them down in your calendar to keep yourself accountable to your wishes. No matter how long it takes to de-clutter, dedicate this year to clearing out the old in order to make way for the new. One precious rule of thumb is “if you don’t love it, lose it and if you don’t use it, lose it!” This process will have a powerful cleansing effect on other aspects of your life, too. If you don’t quite know how to de-clutter effectively, consult the online or printed works of Marie Kondo or other reputed de-cluttering experts to discover the approach that works best for you. In the end, there’s no one right way to de-clutter. Just start with something small and move forward to the next task and then onto the next, and do it systematically and continue to make a habit of doing this regularly throughout the year. When you clear out the things which are no longer necessary or serving you (and which are taking up precious space in your life, both physically as well as mentally-emotionally) you show the Universe that you are open to experiencing new things that are in alignment with the person you have grown into and/or wish to become in the near future. Go for it, you’ll feel lighter for sure! Seven – Donate don’t ditch After you’ve done your de-cluttering, why not give away your ex-precious items to someone in need; this can be a friend, an acquaintance or even a total stranger or charity. Don’t have a birthday present for your dear friend? Why not begift them with something you once loved and think they will, too? You not only experience the beautiful qualities of compassion, sharing and giving but you also help make this planet a better place by not ditching useful things in the trash and adding to the incredible amounts of waste that litter our beautiful planet. Eight – Get up and move your body regularly The holiday season for many of us means a time of indulgence in hearty festive meals, sweets, treats, alcohol, lazy days spent indoors in front of the computer screed or TV, and a general feeling of lethargy due to the shorter days and longer nights. All of this can lead to a feeling of depression and imbalance. Tackle the holiday blues by taking some simple exercise. Do something that gets your muscles moving, your blood pumping, heart thumping and mood soaring to new heights. Try vigorous walking, jogging, or biking, and be sure to keep up with your yoga practice, Qi gong, dancing or anything else that feels attractive to you, too. Remember to do this often. It is said that a little bit of daily exercise is better than a lot of it only every now and then. I know it may be hard to commit to taking care of yourself in this way but remember that if you don’t do it for yourself, no one is going to do it for you. You will even find yourself with a slimmer, stronger physique and eliminate the need to go on a silly diet that you will inevitably bounce back from… that in itself is worth the 30 minutes daily or whatever you decide to commit to! Nine – Make a habit of engaging in regular self-care and occasional pampering Many of us take on the role of caregiver to those we love but sadly overlook our own needs and wants. Why not start off this year by making a commitment to taking care of you? Whatever that means for you on a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual or even yearly basis, make a list and start planning it into your calendar today. Consider doing daily self-care rituals like foot massage, dry brushing, oil pulling, etc. when you wake up or at bedtime or both, or sign up for a package of yoga classes with your favorite yoga studio / teacher / or gym. Plan a weekly or monthly get together with your best buddies for a good laugh (the benefits of laughter are so great that there’s even a world belly laughing day!), purchase a package of weekly or monthly massages… Also consider the more indulgent but necessary things you can do for yourself like taking that much needed vacation away from family or work (how about a holistic retreat?!). Committing to a more balanced diet on an ongoing basis, doing a dedicated detox, signing up with a holistic therapist for a series of treatments to address chronic issues you may be facing is also worth scheduling in. You might also want to engage yourself in some form of therapy or coaching, whether it be with a trusted expert trained in helping you deal with any mental-emotional issues you are facing, or perhaps just a commitment to daily meditation and or journaling before bedtime or upon waking to clear your mind and connect with your inner silence. Ten –Take Life Inventory The New Year is a great time to evaluate and keep track of the health and wellbeing your relationships, health, career, finances, and other important matters in your life. Each year for the past 17 years I have gone through the process of what I call “Life Path Awakening – New Year’s Review and Refresh”.

Ideally, I start my review (along with the other rituals described above) after the retreat season ends and before the New Year starts. But sometimes I use all of January and sometimes February and March to fine-tune the process.

However long it takes, the process helps me to keep in touch with my inner self, my dreams, goals and wishes. It helps me keep perspective on the most important aspects of my life and it is absolutely one of the most rewarding things to be able to check off things from the previous year’s list that have been accomplished and experienced, and helps me redirect my energy toward the goals or wishes I have yet to manifest. So, as a New Year’s gift to all of our subscribers I have placed a simplified version of some of the major themes covered in the Life Path Awakening process in a downloadable copy in the member’s zone of our website. Get your copy in the member's zone today! Wishing you the most wonder-ful year ahead and let me know if you have any questions! Namaste, Evening #2018 #Selfhelp #LifePathAwakening #EveningMarie #LifeCoaching #NewYearsMessage

6 Tips to Find the Best Airfare Deals

After some years of constant travel I have come to understand that when you’re planning your next holiday, flights fares often play a major role in deciding where to travel. If you don’t know how to book cheap flights, reaching some off the beaten track places like Croatia can be very expensive and you might decide not to go to your desired destination or at very least you might "postpone the trip for another time", perhaps never getting there just because your budget doesn't ever seem to stretch that far. But with a little effort using these quick tips we hope to help you pack your bags and reach us at your dream destination here on Hvar Island at affordable prices. 1.Search Engines Before going to the major airline websites try searching flights on or; you can also download either app on your smartphone and search from there. These are both great search engines that can help you to get an idea of the initial cost to reach your destination. You can then also check monthly prices, and also try different airlines for the specific route you wish to take. By doing this basic info comparison, you can then decide to book directly with your airline of choice. 2. Flexibility in dates The difference of one day can mean hundreds of euros in savings, so be flexible with your days and, if possible, plan to arrive a little bit earlier or depart a couple of days later; sometimes you can find huge price differences if you don’t set an specific date during your search. 3. Early birds If you are really keen on saving money, you can find early-morning or late-night flights; they are cheaper because fewer people want to travel then. 4. Not your last destination Be flexible also with destinations, for example If you are coming to Croatia , your main airport option will be Split, but don’t forget to check Dubrovnik, Zadar and Zagreb airports too as they just might have better connections with your nearest airport home and better prices. 5. Try budget airlines If you are within Europe, you might want to check one of these options: Ryanair, EasyJet,Finnair,Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, Vueling, Eurowings. Or if you are coming from elsewhere, you could plan a brief stay in one of the major European towns prior to catching a intra-Europe flight that connects to any of the above mentioned destinations in Croatia. 6. Search ticket prices as one person Always airlines will show you the highest ticket price when doing a search for a group of tickets because they will find seats together and show the fare based on the highest ticket price. Instead, after finding the best price, you can pick your seats during the checkout process so you and your travel companion are sitting together. 6. Best time to book The best booking window is 6 to 8 weeks before your flight, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during peak season. In Croatia, peak season is generally considered mid-June to mid-September. I hope these tips help you find better flight deals, especially If you are flying to Croatia. This European paradise has a renewed its offer to become one of the hotspots for travellers all over the world, with thousands of kilometers of stunning coastline, impressive architecture and of course one of the best places on earth to heal, rest and renew - Suncokret Body & Soul Retreat on Hvar Island. #cheapflights #croatiaflights #bestflights #reachingcroatiabyair #2017 #2018 #traveltips

3 easy ways to start living a path of wholeness and heart-connection using Yin Yoga and Zhineng Qigo

Summertime is a great time in the year to model a healthy lifestyle. So many of us are actively seeking new ways to engage life in a more whole and meaningful way. Though we are all part of one energy field, we often feel disconnected with ourselves, with others and with source or God. Check out these 3 easy ways to start living a path of wholeness and heart-connection using Yin Yoga and Zhineng Qigong tools in your daily life and practice. The Zhineng Qigong Inner Smile Meditation

​​The Zhineng Qigong Inner Smile Meditation is an opportunity to smile at yourself and embrace your whole being and happiness. It is a simple yet profound meditation. Place yourself in a comfortable posture for meditation and start with a body scan; relax consciously any tension you may be holding. Take your time while you do this. Let your spine rise from the root of the pelvis upwards toward the top of your head. Draw your chin slightly inward and lengthen the back of your neck. Use all your senses and explore your inner body space, allow a natural feeling of lightness and happiness to arise and to encompass your whole body. Imagine your body as being transparent, touching the sky in all directions. Feel and imagine your eyes becoming light like "smiling eyes". Once you generate the feeling of this smile, let it radiate down trough your body like a waterfall. Visualize this meditative stream flowing through your body parts and inner organs, pause at each organ and let it soak up this bright, loving, compassionate, smiling energy like a sponge soaks up water. Complete the process by directing your inner smile to your lower “Dantian” (also know as your “navel center”), and complete your meditation with a moment of gratitude and reflection to seal the energy of your meditation into your life. Feel your mind clear and relaxed, a light natural happy feeling spreading from deep within the heart. Remember that you can cultivate the inner smile anytime throughout the day to fill the heart with compassion. 2. ​Explore Yin Yoga "Heart Openers" To explore Yin Yoga "heart openers", remember that upper back and shoulder stretches are an invitation to slow down and surrender to the joy of the present moment. Using blocks or bolsters in poses like supported fish, reclined butterfly or the melting heart pose allows you to relax and surrender your body for the next several minutes. The soothing and contemplative practice of Yin Yoga balances the sometimes overactive and outward-focused fire element, especially needed during hot summers, and connects you to the infinite source of light within yourself. You can also use these poses as beautiful and relatively quick time-out refreshers throughout your day. Combined with a few deep, heart opening breaths and an Inner Smile, it works like a quick Recharge & Shine tool. ​3. invite Consciousness into Your Daily Actions and Allow Your Awareness to Expand Another easy but profound tool that connects you to the awareness of wholeness and heart-connection is to invite consciousness into your daily actions and allow your awareness to expand. Next time you take a walk outside, don´t just walk along while your mind is busy chattering in self-talk; rather become aware of your body, your movements, your posture, your breathing, your feeling, your inner space, the space around you. Try to feel the space between you and the trees, between you and the other people around you. You will be surprised how much more you perceive, how much more connected you feel. Imagine and use all of your senses, feel the top of your head as transparent, the soles of your feet as transparent, notice your head touching the sky, your feet touching the sky down on the other side of the earth. Enjoy this feeling of expansion; it´s like you start sensing the whole picture not just a part of it. If you find that these tips have helped you to find better connection to yourself and you feel a calling to go on a deep-dive exploration of their fullest potential and the potential within you, then why not consider joining us at the Recharge and Shine or Source Healing Events at Suncokret Body & Soul Retreat in beautiful Hvar Island for a dedicated retreat experience aimed at bringing you to that heart-centered place, inviting you to call into your life more of the things that make you happy, healthy and whole! Hope to see you there! Anita #Sourcehealing #RechargeandShine #AnitaIlicic #August2017events #YinYoga #ZhinengQigong #livingalifeofwholenessandheartconnection

Keep Your Cool; Ayurvedic Everyday Tips for Summer Vibrance

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! It's the longest day of the year and things are heating up here on Hvar Island. In honor of this special day, which coincides with our 14th anniversary, we've invited Bahareh Hosseini - Suncokret's go-to Ayurveda specialist and co-host of numerous Ayurveda Yoga and Wellbeing events taking place this July and September - to share her best tips on how to keep cool, fresh and vibrant during the hot and busy summer months. Here's what Bahareh had to say: "According to Ayurvedic seasonal view and in accordance with natural cycles of Mother Nature, Summer is the time that corresponds with the elements of Fire and Water; This is referred to as the “Pitta” dosha and making summer the Pitta season; Refined Pitta helps us “radiate” from inside out and disturbed Pitta associated with excess heat can cause imbalances such as Headaches or an aggravated mind ~ Summer tips to a balanced Pitta : Diet The sun being strong in the summer causes excess heat internally and causing some digestive impairment as the body is busy in cooling us down ~ Keep diet light and incorporate salads and bitters such as greens ( Arugula and Salads, etc) in your diet; Cooling vegetables and teas such as cucumbers and mint tea, as well as adding rosewater to your salads/fruits are also beneficial; Coriander and fennel are appropriate spices; Avoid heating foods such as coffee, tomatoes, eggplants, and so on, as the acidity in them increases Pitta and in the summer we want to keep that to a minimum~ Exercise Exercise should be light as to not aggravate the hot and fiery nature of Pitta ~ Hot yoga or running are not advised ~ Swimming, gentle yoga and Qi Gong are best for this season; Chandra Namaskar (Lunar series of Asanas) are appropriate ~ Refrain from heating Pranayamas during the summer. Other Daily routines and Lifestyle: Time outside should be limited to before 10 am and after 4-5 PM, as the hours in between are the hottest and can aggravate Pitta Gentle movement upon waking and before it gets hot outside Wear light clothing in light colours made from natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo Essential oils such as Lavender ~ Abundant locally in Croatia to help keep the heat down" Looking for even more ways to keep your cool this summer? Why not join us for an Ayurveda Yoga immersion, Feminine Empowerment or Gentle Holistic Detox event led by Bahareh this July & September?! Can't make it this July? Then consider joining us for 3 more calming, Pitta-taming events this August led by Anita - our Yin Yoga and Zhening Qigong expert or Charlotte - our Hatha Yoga Flow Goddess, Single Mom & Inspirational Life Coach. Our Festival of Holistic Yoga Events integrate plenty of time for swimming, sea, sun, self-care, delicious cooling organic foods, love, laughter and inspirational learning and sharing. Hope to see you soon!

Relax & Resparkle, the true story of a woman’s journey into yoga & personal development, by

Suncokret's 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series, Part 4 ​​It is fair to say that I struggled to find my place in the world! I was 25. Everything was wrong. Personal relationships, where I lived, worked, my health. Everything. I was stuck in a tangled knot of miserable traps I had somehow unwittingly set for myself. I worked in a highly stressed office. And was sick. I found myself with serious digestive problems, piling on weight, horrid skin allergies. Smoking and drinking too much, I had two root canals from all the grinding. A nerve in my neck liked to go into spasm too. I hated my workplace and apparently it hated me! A lady I worked with talked me into joining her on a Tarot Reading course. I went along for a laugh, and found a group of wonderfully warm and welcoming women who wouldn’t have dreamt of laughing at me. Every class began with a seated meditation, which sent a nerve in my neck into spasm!With my pride, ego, and neck in pain it was clear something big had shifted and I was ready to explore. The tarot course taught me to seek to understand what I see with my intuition an open mind. To be ready to receive guidance from within. It was a short hop-skip-and-jump to Kundalini Yoga, and then on to coaching; and the missing piece of the jigsaw clicked.. I went to every yoga class and workshop, website and magazine I could. I read a heap of self help, personal development books and began working with coaches. So what really changed? I fell gleefully down the rabbit hole of self discovery, self love, compassion and acceptance. I discovered how meditation can change how I feel and understand everything going on in my life. I realised that as a free-spirited, and sometimes lone wolf, I could make these practices my own. There was no one telling me what I had to do to be right (I didn’t go back to those teachers!) I learnt that my happiness is key to everything that happens in my life. It isn't selfish to put my needs first and doing this actually helps me help and serve others better than if I am putting everyone else first and my life is a mess. That is just inefficient! By putting my happiness first I could begin to untangle the knots in my life. Bit by bit. Making small changes, allowed me to create bigger and more fulfilling shifts in my life. I can focus my energy and achieve what I want! I couldn’t see that in the beginning. I needed the help of the yoga and coaching to really understand and take control of my mess. Now I love that mess for all it has given me. Having a coach myself helped me to make some monumental life changes. In a few years I had a completely different lifestyle, was healthy and happy. I had created The Happy Hunt yoga and coaching offering and had finally I had found direction and purpose in my life! As my confidence in this work grew, so my life evolved. My body, life, and mental wellness began to heal. I qualified as a Personal Development (or 'Life') Coach, with the Coaching Academy, in March 2013. I felt drawn to the empowering nature of the process. Which in a nutshell offers people a confidential, respectful, and supportive communication to explore: The heart of a problem/problems A chance to voice what they really want, free from judgement The support to find a way to make that happen. It is an empowering and uplifting process. With plenty of room for fun along the way. Just like yoga, coaching teaches us we already have everything we need. We are encouraged to be the best version of ourselves. For our happiness and wellbeing, and of those around us. Conscious and heart-centered living is good for not only us as individual practitioners, but our culture and society, and world even! I trained with Sally Parkes Yoga, and graduated from her Laxmi 200 hours Hatha & Vinyasa Teacher Training in July 2013. I embrace all styles of yoga, and love to fusion ancient meditation, breathing, mantra and mudra techniques, with gentle and explorative asana practice. I create guided meditations that blend coaching techniques with yoga principles. My classes always encourage a focus on comfort, safety, and self-reflection. Often I will bring along my gong or singing bowls too. Yoga helps us identify and release both physical and mental tensions holding us back. It creates 'space' in our lives for us to move forward into. But we don’t always know what to do with that space. It can be easy to slip into old habits and replay old stories. Coaching gives the practical support needed to make the most of that space. It's like a fast track system to help you get what you really want, and deserve. This combination was so powerful for me. If you are ready to commit to what you want, I know it can work for you too. 10 years on I live in a beautiful part of the world with nature all around. I love my work as a yoga instructor and life coach. My son is a healthy and high spirited toddler that gets to play in muddy fields with the sheep. Apart from my true friends and family, in every way my life is almost unrecognisable to how it was. I am happy. Now I feel so blessed to work with lots of people who are ready to create exciting forward motion in their lives. From the heart, with the professional expertise that training and life experience has given (and still gives!) me. There are still things on my wish list I am working on. I still rely on my yoga, mediation, coaching, and the odd tarot card to help keep me focused and sane. These are joyful practices now. They are building on solid foundations. They are flexible, allowing me to change track when new opportunities present themselves or something isn't what I thought it would be. They are loving, inclusive, compassionate, always supportive, and they have a sense of adventure and fun. No matter what my life presents me with I feel genuinely energised and extremely grateful to be able to share my work with others. I'm excited share my tool kit with you! So, I would like to ask you... What might happen if you stopped for 10 minutes. Closed your eyes, and just breathed? What might happen if you committed to change one bad habit this week? Make a list of a few 'bad habits' or negative patterns of behaviour. Smoking, drinking too much? Laughing at other people? Getting sucked into work politics? Feeling obliged to fix things for other people when you are depleted and tired yourself? And now pick one to challenge yourself with this week. You don’t have to conquer the world or your whole list in a week. Just try combatting one thing you do that bothers you and see what happens. Explore the challenge. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail. Try again if you want to, or pick another one from your list. In what ways could you be more loving, compassionate and forgiving to yourself? If you are stuck ask yourself "what small things make me happy?" Again make a list and commit to at least one thing this week. Then repeat! Sign up for Charlotte's upcoming "Relax & Resparkle" - a Yoga & Life Coaching Retreat event from 27 August - 2 September, 2017! For more information about Charlotte check out our 2016 interview with her. And don't forget to visit her wonderful website: #2017AugustEvents #CharlotteHunt #RelaxandResparkleEvent #YogaLifeCoaching #2017SummerEvents #CroatiaYogaEvents #HolisticYogaTeachersPathway

Sourcehealing  - a reflection on healing and how my practices help me to walk the path of wholeness

Suncokret's 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series, Part 3 ​I’d like to reflect on healing today and share some realizations and experiences about the role of connecting with the heart and developing self-love, which have empowered my own personal life journey a lot. Life itself and some teachers who have crossed my path have inspired me to expand my viewpoint on healing and what it actually means. Today I understand that healing has a lot to do with realization. Many people are in state of searching for healing, sometimes for many years, as if in a loop, and they never arrive at the end goal. Searching can keep one in a stuck state of exhausting paddling, trying different methods to “get” healed. My personal experience has shown me that the more I am able to let go of the idea that I need to be healed and instead just start to love myself as I am, I experience more well-being on all levels and a return to a deep sense of being whole, in spite of any symptoms I may have on the physical, mental or emotional level. ​​There was a time in my life where I thought I needed to fix something, I needed to heal, or needed to change. I was practicing hard to do this, sometimes a few hours a day, but underneath I had this deep feeling that an important element was missing or I just hadn’t understood something key yet. I felt a lot of energy, felt vital and healthy on the body level, while at the same time I experienced physical symptoms of imbalance and my emotional level didn´t change. Then slowly a realization started to unfold; as I started to connect with myself on a deeper level, started listening inward and accepting myself more, started following joy and inspiration and not what I thought I should do, things started to shift naturally. I understood that the healing I was searching for was about shifting my perception to a state of understanding that I am whole already, as I am, in any given moment, with all my scars, all the present circumstances or symptoms, with everything. Nothing had to change around me first in order to allow a connection to the stream of well-being and health that exists. I am connected already to the infinite source and I am in the right place, everything is right as it is, I am right as I am. That was a big “wow”. When I experienced that shift, I started to be more happy without reason, to do what I love, to worry less, to connect more with others more, give more, share more, and to consciously turn feelings of fear into excitement - that’s a great exercise I can highly recommend - and to just follow my instinctive impulses, which arise from deep within. One of these clear impulses last year brought me to the place I now live; I just trusted and followed those messages and now enjoy a happy flow feeling. ​​It´s not always easy to shift into this kind of state but I have come to realize it is exactly this that brings the changes I am looking for. Oftentimes, we make things too complicated; we worry too much, think too much, care too much about how other may see us. Walking the path with Zhineng Qigong, Meditation and Yin Yoga practices motivates and helps me to shift consciously my perception and attitude, my attention and intention from separation and “lack beliefs” to unity, love, gratitude, and wholeness, into the light, into a state of being happy without reason, of embracing everything that is, of experiencing that I am source. Ever since choosing to follow this pathway, I have gained greater love for life itself, and I feel loved by life and the Universe like never before. To experience this love is wholeness for me. The mind only sees a part of something, while the heart and soul see the whole picture. ​​​​Walking this way does not always feel easy; I also find that some patterns, especially some old family patterns, come from old deep wounds, which start to bleed and hurt again and again. But they are all part of my reference system, which help me to experience that all happiness arises from this progress – the walking of all these different pathways, through valleys and mountains, through growing and dying, again and again, through letting go and releasing the known and diving into the unknown field of possibilities. Life is a big open and closed, contracting and expanding force. ​​ ​​I love walking this path and practice staying in this open, trusting state and letting go of fears. Fear is the root of most obstacles. This year I offer two August events at Suncokret. The first one I call "Recharge & Shine,” which will enrich your practice through opening new doors of self-and-body-awareness. A lot of Zhineng Qigong movements that we will practice activate the spine, they feel round and wavy, we move our body as if moving through water. Yin Yoga allows you to become still and just listen inward. Both practices open the mind and the body structure from the inside, and both help increase the overall energy flow and exchange from you and nature, so, in essence, the event will help recharge and enhance your natural inner shine. ​​Those who would like to dive deeper into self healing are welcome to join my second week, which is entitled "Sourcehealing.” I used the word “source” because in fact it is about remembering and allowing ourselves to be source and experience this connection. Sourcehealing is the process of allowing one self to become aware of the inner silence, the inner spaciousness, and the connection with the infinite sea of energy, information and potential that exists around and within. Healing is in fact the act of “coming home” to oneself. The morning practices and exercises in this week are partially like those in the first, thought now we allow ourselves to dive more into them. The evenings will be used to explore healing meditations and experience energy work. Taking time for allowing a relaxed, open state to unfold, and observing this space with a happy mind state. Practicing in an open, curious way, like children and practicing in or surrounded by nature can enhance this feeling of connection to nature, to one another, to oneself, and to the whole Universe and the one infinite source beyond creation and consciousness. Life is so exciting, like a huge playground! Check out Anita's upcoming August events: 13-19 August, 2017 Recharge & Shine - Yin Yoga and Zhineng Qigong Retreat 20 - 26 August, 2017 Sourcehealing - a Deep dive Yin Yoga and Zhineng Qigong Immersion Retreat Learn more about Anita's journey in our 2016 blog interview and also on her website: #SuncokretBlog #SuncokretRetreat #2017SummerEvents #ZhinengQigong #YinYoga #Sourcehealing #RechargeandShine #2017AugustEvents

Full Moon Ritual: How a simple but profound Ayurvedic sadhana of making Ghee helped transform my app

​Suncokret's 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series, Part 2 ​“Ghee is the elixir of life. It increases ojas in the body and makes the mind sattvic – tranquil and peaceful. A sacred food from Mother Cow, ghee maintains the health of our maternal memory. Perform the Ghee-making sadhana as a meditation. Feed, feast, and nurture body, mind, spirit with the aroma and sounds of this golden nourishment.”— Maya Tiwari founder of Wise Earth School of Ayurveda There is nothing more meditative and relaxing to me than to touch nature with my own hands and so I’ve always been interested in anything to do with cooking and food preparation from childhood. It’s no wonder then, when I was introduced to cooking from a sadhana perspective in Ayurveda, specially at times of distress years ago, that I started consuming Ghee (purchasing from my then Ayurveda Teacher, Matthew Remski, who made top quality wholesome Ghee). Making Ghee, especially on a full moon, is a ritual that I have followed for years that has helped me in my mind/body health tremendously. Ghee is not merely food or oil but an alchemy; a conveyor of esoteric nutrients, if you will. If you approach Ghee-making as regular cooking, the result will be less than desirable! Far from a recent food “trend,” Ghee is ancient food and medicine; It pushes nutrients in our food further into our tissues and helps assimilate them. So think about it as a sacred digestion optimizer! It adds “Ojas” (or immunity) to our body. It can be used as a skin nourishing oil, too. Apply to the little finger and oil inside your nostrils for a refreshed and hydrated breath. The latest trends toward buying Ghee from a health food store at a high cost is disturbing in so many ways: The benefits of taking Ghee start from the moment you start making your own ghee and not just when you ingest it; The healing starts from the moment you set your intention on gathering your ingredients (whether growing your own or purchasing them); For this reason, I highly recommend that everyone participates in the whole spectrum of this nutritious and sacred food by making their own and it is easy to make! For me personally, making Ghee has symbolized transformation. When I make Ghee, each time I observe and I remember my own personal transformation. As the butter melts, boils, bubbles and makes sounds, I too am reminded of the most challenging parts of my journey in the past five years. After all, I left a successful corporate style career in engineering to dedicate my life to helping others heal. The path was full of unexpected turns and twists and what kept my feet on the ground was performing simple rituals of cooking, and especially preparing Ghee. The one trick I find while making Ghee that will determine if we make good ghee or not (as it always varies dependent on the quality of butter and other factors) is to ONLY make Ghee and not multitask; every single time I cooked Ghee alongside another dish, it turned out to be a waste and the end result was not good Ghee! Focus, concentration and a meditative atmosphere is required: another reason I don’t purchase but make my own Ghee as I simply do not know what state of mind the maker had during their preparations. I hope this post serves as inspiration for you to make your own Ghee with me. We will be making Ghee on our select retreats this summer at Suncokret which will be wholesome experience within this beautiful retreat setting. View upcoming events with Bahareh Hosseini: 9 - 15 July Ayurvedic Yoga, On the Mat - a Holistic Wellness Retreat, with Bahareh Hosseini 16 - 22 July Embodied Wellness, On and Off the Mat - A Physical and Psychospiritual Yoga & Ayurveda Immersion Retreat with Bahareh Hosseini 23 - 29 July Moon Magic, Practices that Reconnect Us to Our Feminine Power - A Women's Wellness Retreat with Bahareh Hosseini 10 - 16 September Shakti Healing & Hormone Harmony - Holistic Yoga & Ayurvedic Retreat for Women with Bahareh Hosseini and Evening-Marie 17 - 23 September Autumn Equinox Holistic Detox Retreat with Evening Marie & Bahareh Hosseini Instructions on Making Gee at Home: Start with a clean and organized kitchen; Ensure your countertop and stove are are clear of all except the following items: Ingredients: 2 sticks of organic, preferably butter from grass-fed cows (250 grams is a good amount) 1 medium size heavy stainless steel saucepan 1 stainless steel spoon A Cheesecloth or Sieve A glass storage jar (mason jar) Wash the saucepan, spoon, and storage very well and ensure no detergent is left on them; Better yet, use boiling water to sterilize all equipment. Melt the butter in the saucepan over a low flame. This is important because otherwise it will burn before it becomes ghee! Continue to heat until it boils gently and a foam rises to the surface. It will begin smelling like popcorn. No stirring of the melted butter or the foam; Let the ghee cook gently until the foam thickens and settles to the bottom of the pan as sediment. Over time the sounds of popping will slow down and get fewer and far between. When the ghee turns a golden color and begins to boil silently, with only a trace of air bubbles on the surface, it is done. Once it is cool, pour the liquid into a clean glass jar through a cheesecloth or a sieve, making sure that the sediment remains on the bottom of the pan. The sediment may be eaten as a snack mixed with Indian guar; Sucanat or brown sugar! The jar of Ghee you have just made is shelf stable so no need to refrigerate; It will solidify and keep for days months or years; In fact old Ghee is therapeutic in that it gains potency as it ages. Here’s a video for you as well: Ghee Recipe Inspiration from Wise Earth School of Ayurveda and Living Ahimsa Diet Book by Maya Tiwari~ More info: This post is labeled Part 2 in Suncokret's 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series. See the series introduction page here. Learn more about Bahareh - See our 2016 interview with her here! #YogaAyurveda #CroatiaAyurvedaEvents2017 #GheeMakingSadhana #HealingPowerofGhee #SuncokretBlog #SuncokretRetreat #BaharehHosseini #JulyEvents2017 #ShaktiHealing #ShaktiEmpowerment #WomensYogaandAyurvedaWellnessRetreat #Accupuncture #Shiatsu #WellnessEducator #ChineseMedicine #September2017

Spiraling Full Circle – How travel inspires my creativity, connection to nature and divine living yo

Suncokret's 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series, Part 1 I am sitting on my bed overlooking the huge trees surrounding the Hindu temple in the wonderful Chinmaya Ashram in India (Kerala) just some days before my Advanced Yoga Teacher Training starts. Sometimes I wonder why I always come back here, every year I feel the need, the urge to come back “home”. ​​Home to India, where the air is full of Prana, the people still believe in something, where the spirituality is tangible and the atmosphere is charged with an intense amount of energy. You can feel it, the energy, and it has an instant effect on my whole being. I start breathing slower, walking slower, perceiving everything around me; I feel all the elements surrounding me, I feel myself again. I am home. The same happens when I arrive in Croatia to teach my wonderful Yoga Retreat weeks at Suncokret Body & Soul Retreat. Then I feel so blessed to teach Yoga at amazing, stunning and special places, to introduce new ideas and topics to the retreat participants. At Suncokret, I find there is plenty of time to get connected to nature and to all the wonderful people I meet on retreat. Where was I for the last few months? Was I just working and functioning on autopilot? And why do I feel the need to travel and combine my Yoga training and teaching with it? So many questions cross through my mind... Every year I need to work hard to make time for some time-out - these one or two months away from home. I need to find a substitute for all my adult and children’s Yoga classes; a lot of organizational effort is involved. Many of my Graphic Design clients panic about my being away for such a long time, although I tell them all in advance that I go to India every year in February or March… And every year I rent out my apartment during my time abroad, which also involves a lot of time and effort. Funny enough, for the last two years, I’ve always rented it out to Indian couples. It its like somehow I am helping them to get settled and find a home in Germany, and they are helping me to get back to my core and come back home and to myself in India in order to refresh my knowledge and get new impulses for teaching. Renting house is like moving house every year: you empty your cupboards, you look at everything twice. Do I still need that?
 Is that still necessary for me? And then you find yourself with loads and loads of boxes marked “fleemarket,” “donations,” “friends,” and so on. Like this, I empty my life, bit by bit, from the things I do not need any longer. A wise person once said, “a hiker only needs what he can carry.” And that is what I feel like. Emptying my apartment and myself from loads and loads of old deposits. Is that the reason why I travel so much? Why am I taking my Yoga courses mainly in India? And how is travelling influencing my Yoga practice and teaching? Am I getting prepared for something? Maybe, subconsciously, it is just that. Every year coming back to India - and that stands for all the travels I do throughout the year - is like pressing the reset button of my computer. Travelling brings me back to zero, back to my starting point, back to
 my every day Sadhana, back to myself. I admire people who get on their yoga mat every day doing their Asanas and meditation, their daily practice. They seem to have an inherant Tapas, or discipline, that helps them keep up effortlessly. When I return back from India, I have that Tapas, too; I am reset, doing Meditation every morning, taking my time to get reconnected to my source. I feel connected. And then, as they year passes and as life kicks in each day, I find myself getting lazy with my Sadhana, doing my daily Chakra cleanings while on the train on my way to work or just before a Yoga class, in a less focused and disciplined way. It is as if, by the end of each year, I am just functioning, like on some kind of auto-pilot, not living my life consciously. But I know that this will change again with my next journey to India (or next travels to a warm, sunny and spiritual place like Suncokret). And so Yoga and travelling help me to get reconnected. ​​By being in beautiful nature, when I can feel and see the sunrise through the window of my bedroom, I feel the instant wish to get up early, lay out my Yoga mat and get started. In such places it just makes so much sense to sing the Surya Namaskar Mantra, thanking father sun for his light and energy, and to do a wonderful Pranayama out in the fresh air. And doing meditation at the beach is just amazing! And that is what I take back into every day life, images of singing the sun mantra with my closed eyes, visualizing the rising sun, feeling the warmth on my skin and listening to the sound of waves rolling yet again and again.... All this I bring back with me into my classes and to my Yoga students, too. ​​My students benefit from my experiences, from the new and inspiring lessons I have learned, they profit from the wonderful teachers I have met on my travels and the new influences flowing into my own Yoga practice and classes. So my life is a curve, a spiritual curve, from the more connected days to the less, but in the end it always swings back to the right measure, thanks to my time abroad. And the curves get less steep, more balanced and less like too high or too low, as this is what life brings with, that is how life goes. It is polarity, it is ups and downs but with Yoga the waves get less troublesome. We can encounter the depths better, look at them consciously, standing back like a witness and observe what is coming up. Yoga helps us to enjoy the highs in a better way, to be aware and grateful for the beautiful days in our lives. Check out Daniela's upcoming events: 1 - 17 June, 2017 Divine Yoga - Journey to the God-dess Within 18-24 June, 2017 Inner Beauty Blossoming with Yoga & Nature - a yoga summer solstice event 25 June - 01 July, 2017 Yoga & Creativity - Unleash Your Creative Potential Learn more about Daniela in our 2016 and 2015 blog interviews! Return to the 2017 Visiting Teacher Blog Series Introduction page and menu. #2017SummerEvents #SuncokretBlog #SuncokretRetreat #DivineYoga #DanielaDippong #YogaandNatureEvent #InnerBeautyBlossomming #HolisticYogaTeachersPathway #YogaandTravel

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