So you want to go to Bondi?

When I first visited Sydney I met up with some Aussie friends at Bondi (pronounced “Bond-eye”) beach. I remember being shocked that they actually lived there. I asked one of them: “So you go to work and then you come home and…go to the beach?”.

Early morning on Campbell Parade #nofilter

I had travelled halfway around the world to visit this famous beach and here was a guy who had a similar day-to-day as me (similar job in media, working in the city), but he would finish his day in paradise. I couldn’t comprehend that you could actually live like this: city life and beach life together as one, with no compromise in sight. He then pointed to a block of apartments just behind me and said, ‘Yup, and I live right there!’. Gobsmacked.

It didn’t take long for me to move over. Soon I was working in the city, living a block from the beach and enjoying this miraculous, #nofilter life. – Alex

And now, five years later, it’s time to leave this beautiful place. It’s been amazing to pack up and not feel that panic of “What if I never do this again?”. That sense of completeness has come from hundreds of sunrise and sunset swims, gelatos, boardwalk/coastal walks, grassy knoll sits, and more. I think Tory and I can both say that we’ve lived Bondi to the fullest. In honour of this we’ve put together a little guide to help you get the most magic out of our favourite bubble…  

Just an average sparkly Saturday #nofilter

Bondi – The bad

A lot of people in Sydney have an opinion about Bondi. Most of the time it goes something like this: too busy, too touristy, too expensive, too vain, too party hard, too wellness, etc. But I think, as with everything, there are many facets to it. Yes, you can find all of those things if you choose to, but our experience in Bondi has pretty much been the opposite.

Too busy:

If you like walking, you’re in paradise. If you try to drive, then you’re asking for it. And of course one of the most famous beaches in the world, in the biggest city in Australia, is going to be busy. What else would you expect? Summer brings the crowds for good reason, it’s 20min from the city and it’s gorgeous! Come winter though it’s a quiet little paradise, but you have to get out there to enjoy it.

Too touristy:

Campbell Parade, the main street along the beach, is usually tourist central, but as soon as you turn onto Hall St, Curlewis St, wander into North Bondi, etc. you’re all good. When you live in Bondi you get to experience the strength of its community. Try to NOT run into someone you know – I literally can’t leave the house without having an impromptu catch up with a few friends along the way.

Too expensive:

From billionaire penthouses (James Packer had a property on my street) to backpacker share houses…there’s literally something for everyone. I was lucky enough to find an apartment with very cheap rent and stay in it for five years. It was cheaper than what I paid in Toronto – and it was bigger, nicer and one block from the beach. Believe guys!

Wholesome afternoon at Icebergs #nofilter

Too vain:

The land of fitness and yoga. Bondi is a land of beautiful people and it’s easy to look at that as intimidating, but instead of looking at how ‘good’ most people look I think it’s important to look at what they’re actually doing…running the beach, swimming at Icebergs, coastal walks, ocean swims, outdoor workouts…get amongst it! Find the joy and stop caring about what everyone looks like. Most people are outside pursuing their sporty passions, so find yours and join them. My favourite group are the 70+ budgie smuggler (speedo) swim crew, who are out for a sunrise swim EVERY, single morning, shouting hellos, always with big smiles on their faces.

Too party-hard:

If you’re looking for it you can always find it, but one of the beauties of Bondi is that most places aren’t open past 12. This means you can go out and still be well-rested for sunrise!

Too wellness:

The land of GF, kombucha, bio-dynamic, mylks…yup, all true. I think I’m too far down the rabbit hole to comment on this one haha. I’ve drank the Kool-Aid and it was refined sugar free!

Tory and Anna, the sunrise squad #nofilter

Bondi – the good

It’s called “the bubble” for good reason.

It’s the only place I’ve ever found where from about 5am-8am (give or take your schedule), you can swim, surf, run, do any other kind of workout, chat with friends while walking the boardwalk, meditate, be lucky enough to catch a breaching whale or jumping dolphin or two…but still be in your city office by 9am ready to pump out your day. And when summer rolls around, add coming home from work and doing it all over again until sunset. Absolutely life affirming.

Such an amazing community of positive, go-getting people who value and treasure how special the situation is. Case in point: there are two free foam surfboards that live in North Bondi, tied to the boardwalk. They’re for anyone to use and I’m guessing some magic fairy comes along to replace them if they ever get broken.

Top qualities: community, small-town vibes, friendly, safe, multicultural, the best activities are free, good food @ a good price, ridiculously beautiful, so walkable, best people watching, BEST ICE CREAM

Mysterious sunsets #nofilter

Our top 5 favourite things to do in Bondi

After five years of dedicated research, here’s our list of the top five things to do in Bondi. Also note…with the exception of one, they’re all FREE…oh Australia <3. Heed this advice, go forth and enjoy it to the fullest!

2 degrees out, 20 degrees in #nofilter

Sunrise (swims) / $0

The number one thing I would tell anyone and everyone to do is sunrise. If you aren’t doing Bondi sunrises you are missing the best thing about it. No matter how tired you are or how cold it may seem, when you get down to Campbell Parade and see that beautiful bay, it shapes your whole day. Each sunrise is different (just ask Aquabumps). No matter how early you wake up, you’ll always feel like you’re late because there will always be someone keener than you already out on the boardwalk, the coastal run, in the water, etc. It’s a buzzing hive of happy people, all doing their own thing and you can’t help but be inspired by it. Starting your day feeling like you’ve already accomplished something great = priceless.

And if you’re out there for sunrise, why not add on a swim/dip/dunk…be brave. Get in there. You will never, ever regret it. I promise!*

*You also never know who you will bump into. Like the time Tory and I were walking down the boardwalk and ran into Hugh Jackman and Zach Efron fresh out of the water and rinsing off at the outdoor showers…

Pro tip: Someone once told me that the water temp is a few months behind the season, so the water’s actually warmest at the start of winter and coldest at the start of summer. – Alex

Icebergs: the pool for the people #nofilter

Icebergs sauna and swim / $8 per visit or get a 25 visit card for $160

Confession…I didn’t even go to Icebergs for the first two years I lived in Bondi. Have you seen it? Coming from Toronto, where anything that beautiful would require membership and $$$, I didn’t even think it was something I was allowed to do. It wasn’t until I wanted to improve my ocean swimming skills and signed up for swimming lessons at the pool that I realised its motto was ‘everyone is welcome’. I was never a lap swimmer until I took that course and learned the pure joy of swimming in a salty, straight-out-of-instagram pool. Add on some meditation or friendly chats in the sauna, complete with ocean view (I once watched a pod of dolphins leap for joy as I was dripping in sweat) and a post sauna hot waterfall shower in the change room and you are set…pretty much for life. – Alex

Coastal walk #nofilter

Bondi-Coogee coastal walk (or Bondi-Tamarama / Bondi-Bronte/Bondi-Clovelly) / $0

When I first moved to Bondi, I couldn’t believe the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk was in my backyard. It’s a 6km walk one way starting from Icebergs and winding along the coast on the cliffs past Mackenzies Bay, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, Gordon’s Bay, and Coogee – all beautiful beaches unique in their own way. Everyone in the Eastern suburbs has a favourite and there’s really something for everyone whether you prefer rocky bays, white sand or cement or you’re into ocean pools, parks, bbqs, volleyball or tanning. Around every turn is another breathtaking view and there are some days when the sun is so bright and the ocean so blue that the water literally sparkles. During different parts of the walk you feel like you could be in the mediterranean, on mars or in the tropics and if you’re lucky you may spot dolphins, whales and the occasional local celebrity. I’ve probably done the walk almost a hundred times by now and still, every single time, I stop multiple times along the way to take it all in. It’s the type of experience I would have only had once a year on vacation when I lived in Toronto (if I was lucky), and now I could do it every day if I wanted to which I still can’t quite believe. – Tory

Grassy knoll hangouts #nofilter

Grassy knoll sits (North & South)

North Bondi / Sunday summer sunset sesh:

Best place to listen to some acoustic guitar whilst watching the surfers, swimmers and sun, and enjoying a few before night falls. Also: very good people watching.

South Bondi / Full moon, new moon, or just any nighttime sesh:

Have sat on this well-lit grass, at night, with friends or on my own, probably over a hundred times. Lie down, take your shoes off, plant your feet on the grass and look up at the stars. Stay until everything feels calm, peaceful and right. Repeat as many nights as needed. – Alex

Nighttime runs / $0

One of my favourite solo things to do in Bondi is go for a run at night. I love running through the streets up to the North Bondi Golf Course where you can catch some epic sunsets and panoramic views of the neighbourhood and the ocean. In the summer, I’ll run down to the beach for a dip and in winter to the boardwalk for a mini workout. The beach at night is a completely different place – no crowds but always enough people around to make you feel safe. Bondi is my playground on those runs. Sometimes I’ll try to master a chin up at the infamous bars that are normally filled with musclemen and influencers (I still can’t do a single chin up without jumping!). Other times I’ll practice handstands, do a mini workout or just sprint down the boardwalk at full speed. There’s a sense of freedom in the darkness that makes me feel like a kid again. If you’re ever feeling like Bondi is too hectic or just need some peace, then definitely take some time to explore the neighbourhood at night because there’s a whole other side to it in those quieter moments. – Tory

Our favourite Bondi eats

Bondi has heaps of food options and we haven’t even come close to trying them all, but here are a few of the Bondi staples that we love and highly recommend. If you’ve ever visited us, we’ve probably taken to you at least one (or several) of the places on this list. – Tory

Classic açai bowl and choc peanut butter bowl

Cali Press – My go-to spot for smoothie bowls and people watching. They have the best acai in Bondi (expertly layered with delicious granola and topped with passionfruit, coconut flakes, goji berries, pistachios, banana, strawberry). Honourable mentions go to the PB & Choc and Green Me bowls and the Le Chocolat smoothie.

Nalinis – Delicious, healthy, plant-based Indian meals cooked with love! Nourishing food made by a mother and daughter team that feeds your body and soul. The falafel bowl and tasting platter are my favs and if you’re keen for dessert their nut-based ice creams are a treat.

El Indio – Authentic Colombian food and warm vibes. I recommend the bowls which come in huge portions and include your meat of choice, rice, beans, salad, and plantains (the best!). Always brings me back to the days of living in Costa Rica and getting $5 meals from the local soda.

Bangkok Bites – Best Thai food in Bondi. BYO, super fast service and delicious meals that come in generous portions. The seafood feast, papaya salad with softshell crab, and pad thai are a must.

Gertrude & Alice – The bookstore/cafe of my dreams – cozy, warm, serves delicious meals and always has a box of free books to peruse outside. The lentil soup is famous for good reason and their sweet treats will satisfy any of your sugar cravings.

Macelleria – I still don’t know how to pronounce this one but what I do know is that they have the best burgers in Bondi. And it’s not just burgers, you can get steaks and other meat cooked fresh as well as some delicious sides – sweet potato wedges and mixed veg are always winners.

El Indio…chicken, guac and muy rico

Messina – My first love in Bondi! Alex took me on a Messina Gelato tour when I first arrived in Sydney that included a 5 course degustation at their factory and I was hooked. They make everything themselves (they even have their own dairy cows now) and they put actual chunks of cake/pie/cookie etc. into their gelato. Every week they have new feature flavours and they let you taste test as many as you want! I recommend always trying a few of the features, but you can never go wrong with salted coconut mango, mint chip (very minty!), choc chip and anything chocolatey. Also pro-tip from the factory tour – any time they have pistachio gelato they are actually selling at a loss so take advantage if that’s your flavour of choice!

The Shop – Tiny spot owned by Bondi locals that makes it feel like you’re eating a home-cooked meal with your family…because they are…a family…and you feel it. Their salads are divine, especially the Japanese chop chop and Italian meatball.

* Side note – Just realised 5/8 of these places are on the same street within 100m of each other, that’s how small the Bondi bubble is!

Other random, wonderful Bondi things

  • Stop making sense

    Going to Harris Farm Markets multiple times a week (sometimes multiple times a day)

  • Margaritas at Bondi Rumba, cheeky dance sessions at Bar 34, chicken kahuna burgers at The Stuffed Beaver
  • Petting Billy at Birichina on the walk down to the beach
  • Going for a swim at the exact same time as [insert friend’s name here], without ever having to make plans to do so
  • Walking out of the house on a Sunday at 7am and not coming back till 7pm because you’ve spent the whole day going from random run in, to impromptu activity to impromptu meal
  • Hearing so many different languages as you walk down the street
  • The little community library bookshelf popups scattered all over the place, often found in random little alleyways
  • Sunset summer surfs after work, even when there are no waves and you just sit out there surrounded by a haze of cotton candy skies
  • The days when the ocean is so flat you can just float on your back for ages
  • F45 Bondi, the BEST team of trainers and fitness community
  • Drinking chai at the market on Saturdays
  • The house on Curlewis that says ‘Stop Making Sense’
  • Uge-spotting (Aquabumps)
  • Seeing every Australian reality TV personality in person at the pub, boardwalk, Icebergs, etc.
  • Chocolate chip cookies from Umu
  • Swimming the bay and having the lifeguards come over to ask you “How ya going?”
  • Sunset volleyball sessions: friends, music, life!
  • Walking the boardwalk: bare feet on warm concrete – one of life’s simplest pleasures
  • Spotting new art on the graffiti wall along the boardwalk
  • Forest Knoll Ave…if streets looked like fairy tales, this would be it

    Volley crew #nofilter

Mid-arvo, chilly swim, happy as a clam #nofilter

So that’s our little (long) love letter to Bondi, our cozy bubble home for the past several years.

Bondi, you’ve brought us more beauty, joy, friendship and life lessons than we could have ever imagined. Thank you for the countless fairy floss skies, ocean therapy sessions, lazy beach days, boardwalk strolls and nights spent stargazing. You’ll always have a place in our hearts as our first Aussie home. Bondi, you are pure magic and we love you!

Written by Alex & Tory


Tnfld Podcast | Ep04: Josh, from ambitious dropout to dream maker

Hometown / Auckland, New Zealand
Currently resides / Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia 
Job / Full Stack Web Developer

A little bit about…

Josh is truly living a 2019 life. He’s found a way to have both work and play in the best way that suits him and his needs. A lot of that came with knowing himself and what would and wouldn’t work for him. A lot of people think “Oh, I want to be a digital nomad” without actually thinking about what that could mean (financial instability, bad wifi, the temptations of being in paradise, but not being able to enjoy it). As a full-stack developer he could have easily gone that route, but he knew being a full-time digital nomad wasn’t right for him. He wanted there to be a separation between work and travel so that he could fully enjoy his travel time and BE THERE 100%. But short trips weren’t going to cut it. So when he got back from Bali after a month he had a proposition for his boss…

Josh’s advice for living life Tnfld
  • Ask for what you want, especially at work, whether that’s more vacation time, flexible hours, a work from home option, etc. “It’s 2019 I feel like we should be able to ask for what we want and not always feel like we work for our jobs, but that our jobs can work for us too. And we can kind of create this life – why do negotiation always have to be about money?”
  • Do different things to break out of your comfort zone: “Every time I’ve made these drastic life changes it’s been kind of scary, but when I look back later I always think – wow that’s the best thing I ever did.”

  • March to the beat of your own drum. If you can’t hear that beat, do the things you need to do to grow your inner voice and your confidence in that voice. Over time you can teach yourself to be more confident with your decisions, with change, and ultimately with yourself.

Our favourite quotes

“For me the dream life would be a 50/50 mix of both travel and work. Take three months off for travel then come back and have a [9-5 work] lifestyle and nourish that other side of my brain [for the next six months]. The dream is to do both. So I asked for it. No one’s ever asked and no one thinks to, because negotiation is such an ancient thing. No one really asks for what they want and I thought…what do I really want?”

“For the first time in my life I came back to work from the holidays and I didn’t have the post-holiday blues. I was ready to work. [I thought] “Man my life is sick, I’m ready to work”…it was my choice to be there. That was the difference.”

“People say to you “Oh, I wish I could do that” and I think, “Why can’t you?” I’m not special. I’ve had nothing given to me, not a cent from anyone ever….but I’ve always just gone for it and slowly over time I’ve taught myself to be more and more confident with those decisions and making those changes.”

Josh’s Motto

In 20 years’ time you’ll always regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.

Inspired by Josh? Check out his travels on Insta…

thekiwinomad_ (he’s also an amazing photographer)

Josh’s Favourites

Some of the books that influenced him the most when he was first starting out…


Moving to Australia pt2: The seed is planted

In February 2012 I visited Australia for the first time. On this fateful trip, I conducted a little survey with every Australian I met by asking them: “Would you say you’re happy?”…not confronting at all, right? 😂

Sneaky pic I took of happy beach goers

But I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this magic place existed. A place where in some ways, everything was the same as where I came from: people worked 9-5, rode public transport into the city, spent the weekend hanging out with friends. Except it didn’t feel the same, it didn’t feel the same at all. It was sunny, warm and the ocean – the ocean – was right there. And nature. And so much green. I met people who had the exact same job as me, but lived in Bondi beach. They lived in a place that I had spent years dreaming about, finally getting up the courage to visit for a few weeks.  They would go to work, then come home and go for a surf! They would hang out with their friends on the grassy knoll on weekends and then head to someone’s house for a barbie (barbecue to the uninitiated) to finish off the day. They had 20 DAYS OF VACATION a year. They were allowed and encouraged to take unpaid leave. They also smiled a lot and seemed very relaxed. There was a general sense that these were people who were enjoying their life as they were living it. It was not about someday – it was happening right now.

But I had always loved Australians, from my fateful days spent on a little island in Greece during two uni summers, when I became friends with a group of them. I loved their easy going, straightforward attitudes. They were just generally good and decent people and so much fun.

So when I asked the “happy” question, the immediate reaction was “…ah, what?” Haha. But then in true Aussie fashion they would “give it a go” and their responses were always along the lines of “Yeah, I guess I am!”.

All the blues and greens

This gave my Toronto-conditioned brain a real jolt. If I’d asked the same question back home the answers would have been along the lines of “I can’t really complain, it could be worse” to the classic “…is anyone really happy?”. This general attitude of complacency – or acceptance, by virtue of it not being “as bad” as something else – never sat well with me. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how you could think like that and be able to find the motivation to go forward. By this point I’d already experienced some really big highs and lows in my life and my whole adulthood in Toronto felt like one long string of baseline “meh”ness. The moments of existential despair had overtime become more and more frequent. I found myself constantly thinking…how could this really be as good as it gets?

Well, it turns out it wasn’t. At least not in Australia. The secret was out! (to me). I had found the place that made sense to my brain. The place that made life worth living. I had peeked behind the curtain, I had seen the emerald city and there was no going back.

I spent the last day of this fateful first trip by myself. I walked through the city and suntanned at Bondi beach. I observed everyone and everything. I soaked up as much as I could and wrote it all down: the things people said to each other, the difference in attitude, my complex feelings of wonderment. I promised myself to find a way to somehow live like that back in Toronto. I was blown over, but I still didn’t see how that amazing place could ever be MY life. I didn’t dare dream that I would actually live there one day. That Bondi would be my backyard. That I would swim every morning in that beautiful, freezing cold sea. That I would get so used to sunshine that a rainy day would be welcomed.

So I went home and tried to keep that sunshine with me…

Six months later I applied for my Australian Working Holiday visa. A year and a half later* I was living in my apartment in Bondi.

And that’s how my love affair with Australia began.

*A whole hell of a lot went on in between then (hello separation from my partner, living a wild life in Costa Rica, working on a farm in small town New South Wales), but that would literally take a novel to write…or many, many more stories.

Moving to Australia

Written by Alex


200hr YTT pt.3: One year later

Wow. So it’s been one year since the Power Living Bali retreat (part of the 200hr YTT). Basically after that week it felt like everything was BY (before yoga) and AY (after yoga).

My yoga journey since the Power Living 200hr YTT:
  • I bought my yoga teacher insurance and completed my CPR and first aid course
  • I participated in the Power Living assisting program, a great way to get used to the flow of a yoga class as a teacher, rather than student
  • I went on a giant exploration of different styles of yoga, different teachers, different spaces (in Australia and Bali), trying to understand what was going on when something resonated deeply within me
  • I practised my Yamas and Niyamas daily and dove deep into Svadhyaya
  • I created my own yoga series called Yin + Din, where I lead a yin class for small private groups and then host a healthy dinner afterwards
  • I continued my teacher training – I’m currently in Canggu, Bali participating in two separate 50hr teacher trainings with The Practice (yin yoga and traditional hatha tantra, which starts next week…yippee!)
What I took away from the course (apart from yoga teaching qualifications):
  • A daily yoga practice – whether that’s getting on my mat, reading yoga books, journalling, saluting the sun, meditating by the ocean…I do something everyday to connect me back to the point of this thing called life
  • Some of the best friends of my life, soul sisters – and an amazing community of friends (three of whom lived on my street!) that made me feel like I had moved to a new neighbourhood in the best way
  • The ability to go into any yoga class and not feel like I have to be ‘good’. I don’t look around at what everyone else is doing. I’m able to be with myself on my mat, in my own little world and it’s da bomb
  • I fell in love with Bali – specifically Canggu. I’m writing this from the most gorgeous balcony overlooking rice fields here…my third time back in one year,
  • I found a clear pathway to live life that has given me so much peace, power and understanding (will post my yoga essays from the course soon and link here).
  • Certainty in who I am. What I’m doing. Why I’m doing it. Acceptance. I feel like I was given the permission I seemed to be searching for to stand strong in myself. No apologies for who I am. Can it get more liberating than that?!
Will I teach yoga in studio (apart from private sessions)?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach yoga when I signed up for the 200hr YTT and when I finished the course I was so high off of the experience and the excitement of our final exams (teaching in the main room at Bondi’s Power Living studio was one of the most exhilarating highs), but when I thought about actually going into a studio and teaching people I didn’t know, I just didn’t feel ready yet. That’s no reflection on the teacher training though, lots of my friend’s have gone off to teach studio classes and are doing amazing jobs of it, but for me there was still a hesitation. I wasn’t sure if it was just nerves, but I decided to just keep doing what felt right and see where it took me. One of the biggest things I learned from the retreat was the power of surrendering and giving space to receive what comes next into your life – as someone who lived a previous life as an anxiety-riddled, Type A planner, this was a huge revelation (thank you Keenan Crisp!).

One year later, and one post 50hr Yin training with The Practice under my belt I can say now that I do feel the call to teach in studio. I love the style of yoga I’ve found at The Practice here in Bali and I’m trying to figure out a way to bring the essence of it back with me to Sydney. When I finish the 50hr Traditional Tantra Hatha training I will most likely do a writeup on my yoga learning experiences here too, so stay tuned!

Written by Alex

The 200hr YTT series:


200hr YTT pt.1: How I chose my 200hr yoga teacher training course

*This post is from 2017 and transferred from an old blog*

So you want to yoga…

I’ve wanted to do my 200hr yoga teacher training for the last three years, but it wasn’t until I quit my job that I felt like I finally had the time (and mental capacity) to go for it 100%. There are so many options for yoga teacher training – in so many countries – that it can be overwhelming choosing which one is right for you. I decided to make a list of what I wanted from the experience and find the program that best fit.

What I wanted from my 200hr yoga teacher training:
  • Recognised accreditation
  • A reputable, well-known, popular school/studio, with a post-course community
  • Sydney-based yogi friends
  • Exotic locale
  • A dense, shorter time frame (as opposed to every weekend for a few months)
  • Personal development
  • Positive reviews
  • Value for money $
  • A good vibe!

With these factors in mind I spent a good afternoon going down a rabbit hole of yoga. I hemmed and hawed over the idea of doing my entire training in Bali, but decided it was really important for me to have training that was well-recognised in Australia, as well as a post-course support group if I wanted to do my 500hrs in the future. I also looked at schools in Byron Bay and Hawaii, but the costs of doing the course, paying for accomodation there, plus my rent in Bondi made it too expensive. In Sydney, there were only two studios who’s programs I seriously considered: BodyMindLife and Power Living.

Both had schedules that I could fit my life around, but Power Living stood out because not only was the training in Bondi (and five minutes from my apartment), but there was a one-week immersive retreat in Bali as part of the program*. And – serendipitously – there just happened to be a 200hr yoga teacher training info session at their Bondi Junction studio that next day.

So what I haven’t mentioned yet is that even though I’d been wanting to do a yoga teacher training course for a few years, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a yoga teacher per se. I loved going to yoga, but I would leave amazing classes feeling high, elated and searching for something more…like I’d only touched the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to know more and I wasn’t sure if that was enough to do a teacher training course – would I be the odd one out? The info session at Power Living helped dissipate every worry I had. Sol and Jordan were so chill, inspiring and very firm about how the course was a journey for anyone who loved yoga and that I didn’t have to be a flexible, hand-standing, perfectly lycra-ed being to partake. They also explained how the early bird discount worked in conjunction with the Power Living member’s discount…which meant the course, including the one-week Bali immersive retreat (!), would end up costing me less than any of the other courses I’d looked at. I signed up the next day without any hesitation, ready to yoga.

So how did Power Living stack up to my original list?
  • Recognised accreditation:
    • Yoga Alliance (USA) & Provisional Membership with the Yoga Teachers Association of Australia (YTAA)
  • A reputable, well-known, popular school/studio, with a post-course community:
    • 8 studios in AUS and one in NZ
    • An extensive, wide-ranging selection of advanced modules/retreats that go towards your 500hr credit
    • Power Living Teachers Network: a new program for graduate teachers to promote themselves, connect with each other and get discounts on upcoming workshops and retreats ($$)
  • Sydney-based yogi friends:
    • Most of the students in my group are from Sydney (others are from the Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide and even Philadelphia (!))
  • Exotic locale:
    • Hello Bali. One-week immersive retreat at Kommune Resort in Keramas. And even though Bondi itself might be considered an exotic locale to some…haha, it doesn’t hurt to be able to go for a swim at break 🙂
  • A dense, shorter time frame (as opposed to every weekend for a few months):
    • They have a few different types of courses to suit different schedules
  • Personal development:
    • Power Living is big on this, which was a huge attraction for me. We’re constantly questioning our assumptions about ourselves and trying to identify our self-imposed limitations. LOVE THIS.
  • Positive reviews:
  • Value for money $:
    • Great early bird and members discounts. These helped me sign up without hesitation, but even without those discounts it’s worth it and then some – an invaluable life experience (and I’m currently only halfway through).
  • A good vibe!:
    • The instructors are amazing, so knowledgable and so conscious of what different highs and lows everyone might be experiencing. They speak to this a lot and it really makes a huge difference.

Link: Power Living 200hr teacher training

* Two months later I just checked out the BodyMindLife site and they’ve added on a one-week Byron retreat to their program, which would be a GREAT value add. Byron Bay is AMAZING.

I’m currently in the middle of the course. I’ll definitely write about my experience at the retreat in Bali, as well as the entire 200hr yoga teacher training course as a whole once I’m done my exams in mid-July. Stay tuned x

Written by Alex

The 200hr YTT series:


Are you living in the wrong place?

When I decided to move to Australia, my dad told me he was worried I was running away and warned me that “the grass isn’t always greener”. This warning haunted me my whole first year in the land down under. I found myself always waiting for the other shoe to drop and constantly questioning my choices. What if I was just escaping “reality”? What if I was just being unrealistic? I may have left Toronto behind, but I made sure to take my anxiety with me…

Emma and me, five years post-farm (Crate Cafe, Canggu, Bali)

While working on a farm in Australia (see why here), I met my Swedish friend Emma whilst packing cucumbers. We were talking about the differences between Australia and where we came from and if we would go home or stay. I still clearly remember when she said: “Alex, just because you were born somewhere doesn’t mean you’re meant to stay there.” Then she proceeded to list off all the reasons why Australia suited who she was: from allowing her to be outside all year long to abundant sunshine to the fitness-first, active culture. Something about the way she stated it so matter of factly, struck me deeply because it rang so true.  Just like ‘1+1=2’, Emma was saying that ‘you’ + ’where you live’ should also = something. It should add up.

There’s the place you were born and then…there’s the place you were meant to be. For those who were born in a place that has always felt like home – you may not get this sentiment, but for those who have always felt a little off, this could be for you.

I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but something never felt quite right. Growing up I didn’t know how much of that was attributed to my place of residence, but looking back the signs were all there.

Here is my very non-scientific, very personal “Are you living in the wrong place?” checklist.

When at ‘home’ do you:
  • Feel like an outsider for no obvious reason?
  • Fantasize and/or find yourself living your whole life for your next vacation?
  • Find it hard to be motivated by what’s ‘”supposed to be” important in your life, but your friends/coworkers/family seem to have no issue doing so?
  • Feel like your outlook, emotions, opinions, etc. are often different than the general sentiment?
  • Feel like you’re limited in the ability to do the things you want to do based on your surroundings?
  • Feel like the way people go about things is unnecessarily difficult?
  • Feel like the way you’ve been living doesn’t make sense to you?

Obviously these questions can apply to a wide spectrum of things and should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt (and context), but bear with me and let’s continue with this exercise…

Have you ever been somewhere else and:
  • Felt immediately at home (and not just because you were sipping a daiquiri/lounging in a luxe hotel room/etc.)
  • Met people who you have more in common with (and not just other travellers, but locals)
  • Felt like the way people live life there makes sense
  • Felt like you could see yourself living there beyond the honeymoon period of travel
  • Felt like your values were finally being met

If this all sounds too familiar then you probably also have a home away from wherever you grew up. I carried around a lot of guilt about leaving Toronto – “Why did I have to move across the world when I lived somewhere so great?” was a question directed at me many times by many people.

But it wasn’t great – not for me.

And just because something’s not outright awful doesn’t mean you have to stay and spend all your energy trying to make it work. I was always taking on new projects, activities, etc. (sewing classes, running groups, soccer…to name a few) to try and turn things around. I kept thinking that if I just found the right thing somehow life would start to make sense. I thought if I found that thing I would all of a sudden “get” what everyone else seemed to – the invisible force that kept them motivated and excited about their lives. And yes  – contentment is found within and equanimity is the goal, but if you have to spend more than 20% of your day just dealing with your circumstances (-30 degrees outside with a nice icy slush to shuffle through/horrible transit/a very serious corporate culture) then maybe it might serve you better to be in an environment where you can free up that energy to be spent on more positive and productive pursuits. Have you ever heard that quote about how you need to fill up your cup first before you can fill up anyone else’s?

In this day and age, especially if you’re born in a first world country with the means and resources to choose your fate, make sure you honour that privilege by making a choice. Remembering to choose consciously and with purpose.

So one year into my Australian journey, my parents finally came to visit. We took a ferry across the water from Circular Quay to Manly (sidenote: best public transit commute in the world). The water was sparkling, the sun was shining – Sydney was turning it on. My dad stood at the front of the boat, very still and quiet as he watched the cliffs fly past. He turned to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said: “I can’t believe it. The grass is ACTUALLY greener here…I wish I had moved to Australia when I had the chance.’’

Are you where you were meant to be? If not, where is that place for you and why?

Written by Alex

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