Spotlight on Siem Reap : First two weeks

Creating some peace after travelling for two days straight

I arrived in Siem Reap just over two weeks ago now. It’s crazy to think it’s only been two weeks. These have been two of the most influential weeks of my entire life. Arriving here I was completely overwhelmed. I hadn’t slept in over 30 hours and this being my first time in Cambodia, or for that fact Asia at all I had no idea what to expect. Stepping off of the plane I was greeted by an intimidating and accusing visa/customs system and 33 degree celsius sunshine. After finishing dealing with getting a visa through the suspicion of not having a photo to provide (pro tip-bring a photo for a visa to Cambodia!!) I stepped outside to a sea of faces-unsure whether or not I was being picked up or what was really up or down at that point. Then seeing a sign with my name on it I left the airport with a serious language barrier , simply using the language of smiles. Jumping into the tuktuk (for those of you that don’t know what that is-it’s a carriage attached to the back of a scooter/motorcycle) we headed into the city.

Daily quotes in the yoga retreat ūüôā

Siem Reap is an interesting place. Initially it is totally overwhelming, loud, dirty etc. but in seemingly no time at all it grows on you. Arriving at Blue Indigo was very relieving as I walked in, and amid this crazy loud city you have this oasis of plants, quiet and bliss. As if that wasn’t beautiful enough I was greeted with nothing but positivity and kindness. Blue Indigo is a very beautiful yoga retreat in the heart of the city. Think: kittens, hammocks, plants and some of the most delicious and nourishing food i’ve ever had- and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Yoga classes started that day, just three hours after I arrived. I quickly met Heather and Lori. Heather being 28 and from England has traveled everywhere. She has such amazing stories that kind of gradually come out of her-which is amazing because she’s constantly surprising you with her wealth of knowledge and experience. Lori certainly lived up to the bar that Heather set. ¬†Lori was also from Canada (woo-strength in numbers!) but ¬†we are quite different as there’s a small age difference of 35 years. Lori is a pillar of strength and grace. She has been touched by a neuro disease that left her very ill to the point of disability for years before she discovered yoga. Yoga seriously healed her, from the inside out-and just speaking with her and watching how she moves you would never know that she had been through and continues to stand against this health ordeal every day.

What being a yoga teacher is really about…
Hammocks becoming a part of my life…

The next person to meet was Krishna, my teacher. Krishna is from India and grew up learning yoga according to the ancient scriptures. His method of teaching is orthodox but very valuable. He’s teaching us not only the physical side of yoga but really emphasizes the spiritual and mental sides of yoga. I did not believe in these sides until meeting Krishna. Within the first day, we performed a meditation in which we could start vibrations in very isolated different parts of our body if we could get our thought and focus to one. With much effort this actually happened on my first day. I felt a very dull vibration in my finger tips which did, and will always have a profound affect on my perspective. Now two weeks in, after probably between 1 and 2 hours of meditation a day I can feel these vibrations from the tips of my fingers and toes throughout my body, even around my brain-heart-eyes etc. I know it sounds crazy-as it did to me before.-but it’s a very real experience that doesn’t take a super human to perform. The experience in itself is amazing but it’s benefits are greater-I can literally diminish pain in my body using this tool-and I think it’s something that everyone should look into at some point in their lives.
Next I met Irina and Cindy. Irina is a genius. She’s a PHD and is a professor in Cambodia. She’s studied a variety of sciences including biochemistry and environmental engineering. She is such an intelligent, fierce and strong willed lady-unapologetically herself-never ever afraid to speak her mind. Cindy is a force to be reckoned with as well. She is from Eastern Germany (before the wall came down) and moved to Australia some time ago. She started her own organization in the past few years – Hands across the world which works to eradicate human trafficking through¬†preventative support (i.e. education, women empowerment, etc.). At this point I’m thinking WOW, how blessed am I to be in the company of such INCREDIBLE WOMEN! I was really thinking I was the black sheep of the group. That I hadn’t accomplished anything and was feeling a bit insecure…but this perspective quickly changed.

My beautiful squad of future yoga teaching women!
Dancers pose-squad addition
Beginning to enjoy a new perspective ūüôā

One week in and we went to a pagoda out in West Baray – where we were blessed by a buddhist monk and able to do yoga on the banks of a river where we were so fortunate to witness water buffalo crossing the river. The next day me and Heather ventured out to Angkor Wat and Bayon on our day off. Angkor Wat is amazing. Really, it’s everything it’s hyped up to be and more. It is an incredible place that everyone should see in their life-but Bayon for me was much more incredible. Bayon is the kind of place where you walk in and you feel a shift in the energy. You feel introspective, kind and compassionate. All around you are beautiful carvings in this incredible structure that looks like a dream has come to life. What really made Bayon so special for me is that it’s where I had my first religious experience-ever. I was baptized as a kid, and went to a catholic high school… and have been closely encountered with religion in the past but have never felt anything deep or visceral from a religion. There though, in Bayon, in a dark room with nothing but candles-a statue of Buddha and burning incense it happened. I felt I should pray, and so I did. In response to the prayer, almost immediately after I had finished I felt love and happiness surge through my body. Call it a biochemical coincidence if you will-but for me that was an incredible moment that brought me to tears and I will never forget.

Water buffalo crossing the river
The child monks at West Baray Pagoda
Angkor Wat from a distance
Creating some peace with a tree pose in Angkor Wat ūüôā
Some more tree pose… Bayon addition!
Bayon from a distance!

The following week was filled with conversations with everyone at the retreat about happiness, life, spirituality, yoga, work, money… everything you can think about. Throughout these conversations with the incredible people I am so fortunate to be acquainted with I’ve found I’ve been able to go deeper inside in discovering who I am and what I will do with my life. Along with this I’ve been given this incredible set of tools I didn’t know I had to handle stress and emotions like I’ve never been able to before. Or this is what I thought-until I was really tested. A group of us went out for dinner and on our way to dinner were approached. This young boy was bone thin, and dirty, and quite obviously mentally disempowered. He was walking around the night market trying to hug people and people were yelling at him and pushing him away. When he came to try and hug me, I did not because of my ego-but was instantly overwhelmed with guilt. This poor child was walking around barefoot in the streets, starving, but such a beautiful being he was trying to hug people and I did not hug him because he was dirty? I was so angry at myself. The thought kept flashing back in my mind and I relived his suffering and how I responded to it. Later in the night after dinner on the way home we saw ¬†a dog on the side of the road. This dog had a big bite out of his leg and looked so incredibly sad. It seemed no one else on the street saw him other than us. Anger, again surged through my body as we did nothing because there was nothing we could do.

Siem Reap night market

I was tormented with these thoughts of the unbearable suffering that the world experiences for days. Disgusted by the excess I have in my life and angry at myself and the world. Before I came to the realization that me suffering only adds more suffering to the world. Just as the expression ‘ You can’t fight fire with fire ‘ goes, it is true we cannot cure the suffering in the world with more suffering. With this realization I felt it not only my right, but my responsibility to spread positivity and joy. With this new mantra in my head I went out into the city the next day to do some errands-bringing my smile with me everywhere I went. Sometimes my smile was greeted with a frown, and sometimes not greeted at all. But there were times where the smile was exchanged for a smile back, and to know I had spread even one smile felt it was enough. Later that night in the night market with some friends I was getting fried ice cream rolls (worth the belly ache) when I came across two young boys asking everyone to buy them food. Here they were surrounded by tourists and people with lots of money and they were being ignored as if they weren’t even humans. These boys were no older than 8 years old, had no shoes and were covered in dirt. Although buying them food is not a permanent solution, it is the end of their present suffering over hunger and sometimes to end present suffering is enough. So I bought them dinner, leaving them with smiles and full bellies.

Consequently, we cannot cure all of the suffering in the world at once. We must be patient and take life one day at a time. Keeping in mind that the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish in this lifetime if we do everything with heart.

Practicing Dancers Pose:)

All in all it’s been an incredible two weeks.

Siem Reap is amazing, Cambodia is amazing. Yoga is amazing. Life is amazing.

With love,

Youtube Yogis Rejoice! My Favourite Accounts Right Now

  1. Yoga with Adriene

    Before you reach for a cup of joe in the morning try this (you can have your coffee after). Seriously, waking up with yoga feels incredible and really changes your mindset throughout the day.

  2. Kino Yoga

    I love this video because she really goes into the fact that yoga goes beyond the physical. Yoga and meditation should always be practiced together and are incredibly healing for the body, mind and spirit.

  3. TaraStiles

    Feeling like you need a super workout but feeling stressed? Try this and finish feeling physically AND mentally stronger. Tara Stiles is such a bad ass, can you say girl crush?

  4. Ali Kamenova Interval Yoga

    Looking for an introduction to yoga? Feeling new and a little lost but looking for a challenge? This video has been a personal favourite of mine for over a year. Ali is graceful, strong and inspiring as she moves with grace throughout this beautiful Vinyasa-awesome.

  5. BrettLarkinYoga

    Sleep easier with Brett Larkin guiding you tonight. No medicine required, except for the medicine of self love of course-but that’s always required.

  6. BadYogi

    Refreshing, interesting and unapologetically herself. Head over to BadYogi for some refreshing perspective, good humour and inspiration.

Minimizing Minimalism

say that 10 times fast. 

So, minimalism is all the rage lately. Every wellness blogger has touched on the subject about how less is more and how we thrive when we have less. But-with everyone talking about it theres an unbelievable amount of articles we have to sort through to get to the root of what it is, why¬†it works and how to apply it to your life! Cue me doing all of the research so you don’t have to and enabling you to live a minimalistic life now.

what is minimalism 

Minimalism¬†is exactly how it sounds. It’s¬†the art of¬†clearing the excess out of your life so that you can focus on what’s really important by freeing ourselves from distraction and things that don’t help us work towards our goals and values.

why it works 

Minimalism works in so many ways. It helps you save money as what you want is less important than what you need and all you really require on a normal basis are essentials. It goes beyond creating physical space and creates mental/emotional space as you have to spend less time dealing with your things and more times with just you. It creates a greater feeling of belonging as¬†people, experiences, and places become more important than things. It helps you define yourself beyond what you own. It gives you freedom and time… the list goes on. But this list really means nothing until you get to experience it yourself… and so…

how to apply it 

to your…

  • personal diet: eat only what tastes good and¬†feels¬†good. your body is your one permanent home in this life-honour it. just like you wouldn’t treat a home you buy badly by cleaning the floors with something that would damage them, breaking appliances/windows and destroying the plumbing – your body should be treated with the same respect. now-different people have different diets that produce better results based on your body’s biology. this¬†can be determined through a variety of genetic and micro biome tests that companies like Habit and DNAfit conduct. minimalists take on a simple approach with food rules that work for them. IE yogurt with fresh fruit in the morning or avocado and eggs, salad for lunch with a legume and protein with vegetables at dinner time. if¬†this is too limiting for you and you’re a foodie minimize your diet by realizing what you can and can’t eat. an example of this would be saying you cannot eat any refined sugar, processed food, dairy or meat. now that these rules are set you must realize adopting an 100% of the time mind set is much easier than a 99% of the time mindset as their isn’t room for them in your life whatsoever. the biggest thing I would push is that your body is a temple and there’s no room within the temple for anything that you don’t enjoy eating, or that will hurt you.¬†you can accomplish this by only buying things in your house that fit these rules. make this really simple for yourself and clean out your pantry – donate food that doesn’t fit your new standards thats non perishable to food banks and start fresh!
  • personal exercise:¬†“i don’t have time to exercise”.¬†this is the BIGGEST misconception in the world. exercise does not have to consume a large portion of your day. if you want to be a body builder, compete in cross fit competitions, dedicate your life to mastering¬†a martial art/yoga or run ultra marathons then YES, you will probably spend a large portion of your life exercising. but if not-that’s okay too! exercise is not supposed¬†to be a punishment or something that takes away from your life-but instead something that is a self love practice. the body’s natural state is to spend the majority of our days active and a very small portion sedentary which has been lost in modern practices of living. we ask that you can dedicate at least 15 minutes of your day to exercise-and we all have 15 minutes because we’re all able to wake up 15 minutes earlier. find what style works best for you and feels best. that might be yoga, high intensity interval training, swimming, running, lifting weights – whatever! just find it and start. start today. start right now and make it your goal to do it every single day for a month. you’ll find moving your body just feels good and the time you spend doing it will probably increase. but-in times where you are very time strapped don’t underestimate the power of a 15 minute workout being greater than no workout.

  • sleep: we are¬†literally surrounded by things that¬†take away from our sleep.¬†blue light from our various devices takes away from our sleep, clutter in our rooms disrupts us, caffeine past a certain point in the day keeps us up, certain foods don’t allow for a good sleep, alcohol disrupts our sleep… the list goes on. this is something we actually learned from most of our parents when we were young-but try creating a bed time routine and setting a bed time. for example-if you decide you’d like to start every day at 6 AM – as starting your day early is a wonderful way to fit some extra self care in – and you realize that you personally function best on 7 hours asleep…your bed time is now 11pm. next you must realize how long it typically takes you to fall asleep, some people take 10 minutes and some people take up to one hour. account for this in your bed time. so say your bedtime is now 10pm. as for how much sleep feels best for you or how sleep works i’d recommend an apple like pillow or sleep cycle that wakes you up before or at the time you need to be awake by based on when you’re in a place¬†in your sleep cycle where it is easier to wake up. as for your bed time routine practice some self care that will ensure you wake up fresh. examples of what some successful people do before bed include writing down 3 things they were grateful for in their day, self reflection, planning for the next day, hydrating with lots of water/herbal tea, avoiding caffeine after the morning…etc. your night time self care routine is totally up to you and what feels good for you. the key to this is that consistency is the most important component.
  • wardrobe: you don’t have any space for anything that you don’t like, doesn’t fit and isn’t going to last.¬†simply because what you might wear once every two months, is something that someone else might love and cherish every day. donate. make someone else’s life better, and improve your own as well. step one, only keep colours you love and neutrals-neutrals go with everything and colours you love are a good way to stand out and claim your personal style. step two, stick to basics-timeless is always better than trendy. step three, only keep things that fit you well and are comfortable. step four, only keep things that make you feel good. if your items fit this criteria they are wardrobe gold! beyond that it’s important to buy quality in the future. quality not being designer brands but being local, sustainable, ethically sourced clothing that have a lesser impact on the environment and don’t bear the brunt of human labour.
  • home: if you don’t need it-donate it, give it as a gift, sell it, recycle it – it must go.¬†need and want are two things that seem more mixed up that ever lately. need means-can you consume it, use it-does it serve a purpose? do you notice it and appreciate it every day? no? okay… time to go. do this one room at a time. you don’t need 5 frying pans, you don’t need books that you’ve read that you will never read again, you don’t need things that just sit around because you don’t know what to do with them… everything must go. trust me – once you finish – you will thank yourself. not only will your head feel clear, but the energy in your house will be higher as you eliminate everything that simply made it harder to stay on top of mess/cleaning. check out this post on zen habits for a more in depth look on how to minimize your space.


  • eat food¬†you¬†enjoy¬†that your body will thank you for.
  • create food rules and a meal template for what breakfast/lunch/dinner should look like.
  • clean out your pantry-remove everything that doesn’t fit your food rules
  • exercise for at least 15 minutes a day-do exercise that you enjoy and feels good for you
  • choose a bed time and a wake up time.
  • create a bed time routine.
  • eliminate coffee and sugary foods leading up to your bed time.
  • only keep clothes that are neutral colours with a few colours you love. keep classic items that are good quality, fit well, make you feel awesome about yourself. in the future only buy ethically sourced clothing.
  • your house should only contain things that serve a purpose. remove anything that is just collecting dust. keep it simple.


The Yogi Fighter

Hey guys! This will be my first blog on this new site–and I’m super excited about it!!


My name’s Laura, I’ve been working on starting a blog for a while and I think this one will be the one! I’ve struggled with finding a place where I can honestly connect with you and talk about what I’m doing, how I’m growing and how you can do similar stuff. Not saying I know everything – by any means! But honestly I’m kind of like my own personal human guinea pig – constantly trying new things, seeing how they feel and work and then itching for the next thing.


So recently I tried Muai Thai fighting and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Both are super awesome – and my partner has tried them with me! Adam loves Jiu Jitsu because it’s kind of like human chess. I personally love both but am currently focusing on Muai Thai because I find it to be a more intense workout and I love the rush of endorphins I get from it.
So. I’m focussing on Muai Thai. It literally kicks my ass. I mean I puked the first 5 classes that I went to from exertion. So if you’re looking to get in shape – I would 100% recommend trying it! BUT something I’ve also been focussing on is my yoga practice. Every morning and night I try and get some yoga in. Some times that literally means 5 minutes of yoga and sometimes I can do up to an hour.


Yoga is so great because it really centres you, feels good for your muscles and sets you up to face your day and kill it. Obviously doing yoga has become a trend but I think the biggest part of yoga – beyond the physical benefits is how in touch with yourself you become.


Now being someone that suffers from crippling anxiety- I can tell you this mixed practice has benefited me so much. Maui thai allows me to physically push myself beyond what I think I can do and benefit from the incredible endorphins from cardiovascular exercise provides you. Yoga brings me down, helps me breathe, become more mindful and get in touch with myself. So these two kind of work together in a yin-yang fashion, complementing each other and helping me maintain balance.


I would recommend this combo to anyone struggling to find balance and control in their life!!

Anyways. Hope everyone had an awesome weekend.

This was my first blog post – AH – exciting.

Laura ūüôā