Sunday, September 13, 2015

The importance of a morning yoga practice by Nathalie de Haaij

Good morning everyone!
I just wanted to share a beautiful article written by my friend Nathalie de Haijj about the importance of a morning practice. Nathalie de Haaij is a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher (Primary Series) and also a qualified Masseuse.

She will be leading the daily morning yoga practices and guided evening meditation sessions during our Bali Surf, Yoga & Wellness Retreat in January 2016.

This is a unique 10 day retreat in beautiful Bali, hosted by a professional all female team from Seasoul Shelter, MALEKAI & From Where you'd Rather Be.

More information about the retreat and dates available here. For bookings & plus info please contact 

Hopefully this article will get you motivated to jump into your mat everyday!
Here you go the article!


The importance of a morning yoga practice 

by Nathalie de Haaij

Easy steps to get you motivated and started.
Finding it hard to do your yoga practice in the morning? Here are a few good reasons, why and how you can get started!

For most people getting up in morning is just plain difficult. That extra 5 – 10 minutes in bed before getting ready for work is sacred.  The very thought of any form of movement, let alone 20 mins or 1 hour of yoga (that could potentially send you back to sleep) is often unbearable. So hitting the snooze button, usually feels like the better option.

Sure you can practice yoga any time of the day, but here is why an early bird yoga session is worth getting out of bed for:

Gets you to your mat every day
Practicing in your lunch break, or in the evening, you are less likely to cultivate a regular habit, as you will be more prone to distractions. Waking up early each morning, this is YOUR time, you give yourself.

Sets you up for the day
Morning yoga can help you set your intention(s) for the day. A combination of mediation, breathing and yoga postures, calms the mind and prepares you to handle the stresses of the day more easily.

Play by your rules
A morning yoga session, allows you to choose the length of your practice, where that be just 10 mins or a full-on 1 hour power session.  You decide, you set the standards, but you still get the practice in.


It is ALL about the preparation, wait for it…. the night before! Yes, to ensure that you actually get on that mat when you wake up, you need to make sure you have everything ready in the morning. The more prepared you are, the less likely you find excuses for not to get out of bed. Before you know it - well, we all know it takes 21 days for the habit to kick in - you will be wondering what all the fuss was all about. So here is what you need. You can do this!! : - )

Choose Your Space
Find a space that you can comfortably do your practice. Move some furniture, clear some stuff, you need to create an environment where there is plenty of room for you to move around and is free from distractions.

Start Small
Decide on the length of time you want to dedicate to your morning yoga practice. I recommend that you start doing less than what you used to eg. 10 – 15 mins, it will be easier to achieve at the start and motivate you to do it more regularly. Then slowly begin to increase the time by 5 mins until you find the length of practice that works for you.

Select A Sequence.
If you are new to yoga, then selecting an online class would be your best option to help guide you. If you are more experienced, deciding on a sequence ahead of time can help you structure your practice. You can either stick to the same sequence every day or mix it up a bit, up to you.

Handy Props
Apart from your mat, have a pillow, bolster or towel handy, in case you need them to prop yourself up on your hips or shoulders. Yoga straps, blocks and blanket are also good to have around.

Outfit Ready
Make it easy for yourself and have your clothes laid out in the morning, one less thing to think and worry about.  Remember no matter how great you think you look, your yoga outfit should be hassle free and comfortable to do your practice in. (Yoga in PJs, is not a good look).

Set The Alarm
Give yourself enough time. The worse thing is to feel that you rushing your practice, whether it is a short or long session.

Head to bed early
Try and get as many zzzz in as you can, ideally 8 hours. Not enough sleep, will make it harder to get up and do your practice. The more energy you have in the morning, the more you will get out of your practice and greater you feel for the rest of the day.

Wake up, Get On Your Mat & Practice
Well done if you managed to get this far. With all that preparation, this would be easy- peasy! Embrace the morning and enjoy your practice!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Join us for a Surf & Yoga vacation in Bali, the Island of the Gods..

Join us in Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’, for an unforgettable Surf, Yoga & Wellness Retreat.
Enjoy 10 days of luxury at our tranquil Ombak Villas Bali accommodation, with surf, yoga, healthy food, wellness treatments, cultural tours, professional photography and more…

Located on the spectacular Bukit peninsula of Bali, we are just a 5 minutes ride to the beautiful beach of Balangan and in easy reach of other world famous surf breaks. For those who are confident in catching that green wave, we offer professional intermediate level surf guided sessions (with video coaching), daily meditation, yoga classes, nourishing organic healthy meals and gorgeous relaxing wellness treatments.

As part of your stay, there will be plenty of time to immerse yourself into the rich culture of the island. We will visit the famous Uluwatu temple for a magical evening of Balinese music and dance; and explore the spiritual town of Ubud with its breath taking rice padi terraces. Our photographer will be there to capture those memorable moments.

Our retreat is bought to you by a dream team of international professionals from Seasoul Shelter, MALEKAI and From Where You’d Rather Be. We are passionate and excited about helping our guests lead active and healthy lifestyles. Let us take care of you. Relax and experience the beauty of Bali!

Register now for 10 days of bliss! /// Email:

  • Luxury all-inclusive Surf, Yoga & Wellness Retreat. 
  • 2 retreat dates: 3 - 12 JAN 2016 or 13 - 22 JAN 2016
  • 10 days, 9 nights, check in at 2:00pm, inclusive of airport trasfer
  • Minimum 6 people, maximum 8 people
  • Indulge in wellness treatments (Massage or Reflexology) 
  • 2 Cultural Immersion to Uluwatu and Ubud
  • From $1575 / €1410 / £1025 per person

  • Luxurious accommodation: Double luxury rooms with large en-suite bathroom. Relaxing swimming pool, tropical garden and common open living & dining area. 
  • Daily yoga classes: Ashtanga, vinyasa flow, pranayama (breathing) and guided meditation sessions by a certified international yoga teacher.
  • Daily surf guiding & for intermediate 
  • Professional surf guiding, with video coaching, for intermediate surfers. Bring your own board or there is a range of short and long boards available that you can try and use. 
  • A complimentary wellness treatment by a qualified masseuse, a choice of 1 hour Balinese massage or reflexology session (request on arrival). 
  • All inclusive meals and drinks, prepared by our healthy food specialist: 
    • Welcome drink 
    • Healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, fruit and juices
    • Coffee, teas and filtered water/bottle water. (Alcohol not included, can be arranged and delivered on request)
  • 2 cultural trips - A mesmerising evening ceremony at Uluwatu Temple and a day tour to Ubud’s local market and King’s palace. 
  • Post retreat photo album (web resolution & watermarked) photos of your trip available to download for all the participants taken by our professional photographer: *Alejandra Romo ( All High Res pictures will be available to purchase, once the retreat is finished.
  • Airport transfer from and to Nirgurahm Airport (Denpasar), Bali 

Register now for 10 days of bliss! /// Email:


Ombak Villas Bali is situated only 30 to 40 minutes from Denpasar international airport. The famous Uluwatu temple is 10 minutes reach, while the beautiful beach of Balangan is only a 5 minute ride away. Surrounded by nature, small villages, forests and fields and a stunning starry sky, our luxurious villas are the ideal place to unwind.

We offer 4 rooms in form of four 36m2 villas. Each room is designed for 2 people and have a king size double bed, a private spacious bathroom with a rain shower, a walk-in closet, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, hot water and fresh towels. Plus there is 24 hours security service.
For your wellbeing and comfort the villas are allocated around a relaxing swimming pool and a beautiful tropical garden. There is also a large common living room with large couches, an imperial wooden dining table and an open kitchen. For further info go to:

Single occupancy: $2430/ €2175 / £1580 per person
Double occupancy: $1575 / €1410 / £1025 per person

  • Early bird: Get a $100 discount if booking before 4 months to the date of commencement of the retreat.

  • 50% of total at the moment of reservation
  • Remainder must be paid in full 2 months before commencement of the retreat
  • Refunds will be considered unless urgency matters. Every request will be studied and treated personally.

  • Extra guided tours and excursions 
  • Additional wellness treatments 
  • Car & Motor bike hire
  • Laundry and ironing service

  • Airfare to Bali. 
  • Meals & drinks purchased at restaurants or local cafes & bars.
  • Staff Tipping

*All of the above mentioned additional activities services are of extra charge and can be consulted at the reception 

Register now for 10 days of bliss! /// Email:


Surf Guiding & Coach (SEASOUL SHELTER)

Originally from Germany, Concha decided to live near the ocean at a very young age. That may be due to her name, which means, “shell”. Concha is a globetrotter. When she is not travelling the world to find surf destinations, she spends her life on the beautiful rugged coastline of southern Portugal. Her love of surfing and the ocean reflects in spending most hours of the day in the water, catching waves. Almost a decade now, she has been teaching surfers of different levels.
She has gained a number of certificates in “Outdoor Adventure Management”, “Outdoor Education” and has a Bachelor degree (Hons) in “Sports Coaching and Performance”. During the retreat she will be surf guiding and coaching you in the best spots on the island. Together with her long time friend Killa, they will take your surfing to the next level!

“I have a burning passion for life in all it’s simplicity. I believe to be kind, to share and to smile at each other is the base of our everyday happiness and this reflects in our travel concepts”.

Surf Guiding & Coach (SEASOUL SHELTER)

Killa is a passionate sea soul, traveller and photographer. After finishing a design degree and working in the industry for a few years, she started to let go and commenced her personal process to live in balance of mind, body and spirit. Surfing truly changed her perception of the world. Beside many amazing adventures, it brought her to live in Portugal over 10 years ago, working with Algarve Surfschool, where she was one of the first female surf teachers and encouraged other woman to follow.
Her aim is to empower people, to develop confidence, expand their comfort zones, tackle fears head on and achieve their goals. This brought her here, to launch SEASOUL SHELTER together with her like-minded seasoul Concha. During the retreat, Killa together with Concha will be providing professional surfing guiding and coaching. For more info about these two great teachers, go to:
“To me life is simple. I try to share my laughter with amazing, creative and likeminded souls. It is really important to be true to ourselves. I live with the awareness of interconnectedness. Everything we do and choose has an effect on other things and people. There is a lesson in everything”.

Yoga Teacher & Masseuse (MALEKAI)

Nathalie de Haaij is a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher (Primary Series) and also a qualified Masseuse. She is true nomad, travelling the globe and loves sharing her passion and inspiring the people she meets on the way. She is an ambassador for ultimate wellness, combining yoga, massage and healthy eating as way for people to feel amazing inside and out. Here is her link for more info:
During the retreat, she will be our Yogi guru, leading our yoga classes. 1hr morning sessions starting with meditation, breathing techniques and a gentle warm up, followed by an energetic vinyasa flow and a selection of primary series asanas (standing, seated and inversion postures). She will also be taking reservations for Balinese massage and other beauty and wellness treats.
“Follow your heart” this thought has guided me over the years. I’m constantly seeking and learning from new experiences and connecting with like-minded people that are passionate about living a happy healthy life.”

Professional Surf & lifestyle Photographer (FROM WHERE YOU RATHER BE)

Ale is a talented Photographer, Blogger, Surfer, Ocean lover and an avid Adventurer. After working many years at publicity agencies, and afterwards managing international projects for Surfrider Foundation Europe; she realized that her place was behind the camera documenting the good life, surfers and the joys of the ocean. Like the rest of the team, Ale enjoys travelling, always curious about cultures and languages.
That’s how she ended up living in Mexico, San Francisco, L.A, Paris, Barcelona, Nicaragua, etc., and always looking for new places to explore and inspire others with her adventures. Here is her link to her blog:
During the retreat Ale will be your professional photographer, capturing those special moments on your trip.
“I want to inspire others, but specially I want to encourage people to be adventurous, to go travel and explore the world as a way to explore themselves.”


* Photo credits: Kayla RoccaAaron Kato and Ale Romo Photography