MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: SHONA VERTUE

We spoke to Shona Vertue, poster girl for our Designer Yogis sweatshirt line, on seeking inner peace and harmony in our inner cities… Portraits: Cameron McNee Hair and make-up: Andjelka Madic

White Vinyasa shirt, $70

“Okay, I no longer have nature all around me. How can I still be healthy, and still be present?”

Meet Australia-born yogini and personal trainer Shona Vertue, who decamped to London’s urban jungle in January 2014. A move that’s propelled her career to new heights – but where she’s also had to seek new ways to find the sense of inner expansiveness she got from regularly being out in nature back home.

It’s a situation faced by so many city dwellers (whether we recognize it as a problem or not) – where days can become weeks can become months without so much as an open sky to help connect us back to an understanding of ourselves as all connected by and to the Cosmos.

Shona’s solution? “I spend all my money on crystals for starters, like crystal retail therapy,” she jokes, telling how she recently realized it wasn’t her laptop but a two-kilo rose quartz she likes to keep close that was making her bag too heavy to lug around.

But seriously: “finding the sense of connection to myself that I used to get from being in nature, means closing my eyes a lot. It takes daily meditation,” she says. Which currently means sitting cross-legged in bed for 15 minutes every morning on waking. “I keep my Native American flute alarm clock going while I meditate because it transports me to another place – the Grand Canyon or something!” she says.

Black Chakra shirt, $70

It’s a conversation that makes Shona the ideal poster girl for our new Chakra and Vinyasa sweatshirt collection, which we’re selling in aid of Urban Yogis. An initiative out of Queens, NY, the program helps empower young people who’ve been affected by violent street crime to share the tools of yoga and meditation in their local inner city communities, as a way of cultivating peace, acceptance, and awareness.

“Awareness” being the basis of the Buddhist teachings that Shona studied in-depth back home in Australia. In essence, Buddhism is about becoming aware of how and why you are suffering, and then treating the cause of your suffering rather than just the symptoms.

“This is based on the belief that once we strip away the layers of suffering, at the core of every human being is an innate state of bliss that we all have access to at any time – if we choose,” explains Shona. As many readers will have experienced through their own yoga and meditation practice, and spending time in nature. Practices and experiences which can be made to feel like luxuries, available only to a privileged few – but which are actually all our birth right.

Inner peace – isn’t this what anybody who identifies with the term “seeker” is really looking for? We salute the awakened souls, like Shona and the Urban Yogis, who are dedicated to lighting the way.

Black and gold Vinyasa shirt, $70

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
Dharmabums – they are ethical and sustainable!

Leggings, $90 AUD, Dharma Bums

 

My shoes
New Balance

Paradise Awaits sneakers, $79.99, New Balance

My fragrance

Anything with Geranium and Sandalwood

Radha Fragrance Oil, $36, The Goddess Line

My jewels
Anything silver with Moonstone

Moonstone ring, $200, Pamela Love

My pampering
A bath with magnesium salts

My home
My pillow & my outrageous collection of crystals!

Raw Rose Quartz, from $6, The Hoodwitch

My food
Authentic Italian pizza & French Creme Bruleé

Pizza by Roberta’s, Brooklyn

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
Morning meditation with affirmations – an absolutely non-negotiable practice.

My sign
Cancerian

My mantra
“Every morning we are born again; it’s what we do today that matters most.”

My healer
I’ve most definitely had more than one in this lifetime. At the moment it’s Francesca Zampi.

My reading
Abraham Hicks, Paulo Coelho & Timber Hawkeye

My transformation
I’m still trying to break the cocoon open, but at least I can feel my wings.

My mission
This lifetime? To realize my secret powers and help others find theirs…

White Chakra shirt, $70

EMBRACE YOUR DESIRES: READING FOR THE FULL MOON IN LEO

Use the fiery energy of the lion to honor yourself and your unique desires. The universe is working with you during this Full Moon in Leo, says Hannah Ariel.

“There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the Universe…The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. And when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

A Full Moon in Leo is no silent breeze. It roars its message loud and clear. It commands our attention. It compels us to listen. It draws out our passion like no other Full Moon can. No matter what stage of the game you have been at these past two weeks, this Full Moon on January 24th will put you directly in touch with what you personally desire for yourself – desires, you were BORN to feel. With all your heart, you will uncover the truth of what makes you happy – and you will make it your mission to connect with that source of happiness. 

Leo is a fixed fire sign ruled by the blazing sun. In all its glory, it knows what lights it up without exception. This energy doesn’t ask for permission, doesn’t ask, “is this right or wrong” – makes no apologies for its intensity. Coming straight from the heart, Leo simply fixates its burning desire, outshines all doubts, and taps straight into an intuitive stream of understanding. A Full Moon in Leo never lacks in confidence so be confident – whatever is shaking you up, whatever shocks you, stops you in your tracks, leaves you with the biggest smile on your face, or whoever you’re being enlivened by this week is the Universe conspiring to ultimately nourish your happiness and get you to your destiny through divine inspiration.

When the Moon was new in Capricorn we were being asked to step up, define where we honestly see ourselves going in life, and put in the work. Do you feel yourself passionately aligned with excitement? You’ve seen the future, you’ve set your goals, but are you happy? Is your heart on fire? Do you jump out of bed in the morning? Are you in the right place with the right people for you? This Full Moon in Leo may very well be a celebration of knowing and loving where you stand! There will be no shying away from the truth your emotions will reveal. On the other hand, if your heart just isn’t in it any more, you will feel this moon strongly. You will know what needs changing and so will the Universe!

As the Sun will be in innovative Aquarius, the 11th star sign, the “11th hour” where anything goes, don’t be too surprised if you find the cosmos responds by presenting you with another option – one that deviates from conventions you subscribed to when the Sun was in Capricorn. No matter how unusual it may appear to be, Aquarius wants to upgrade and liberate you from any paradigm you subscribe to that’s getting in the way of your lust for life. Aquarian energy helps us experience our pure humanity – our ability act like the wind on a clear day, ever open to change. Aquarius works as the idealist always with its sights set on a new solution. Reality can take on a fresh new tone at this time.

Mercury will have just gone direct and will conjunct Pluto once again in Capricorn, getting us straight to the point of what could be getting the in way. We can expect to revisit thoughts we have perhaps subconsciously aligned ourselves with the past few weeks – the ones that keep us in the shadow of fear-based inaction. Refer back to the initial conjunction that took place December 18th/19th as it will clue you in to the depth of what you’ve been experiencing beneath the surface. This retrograde has revealed crucial lessons in learning how to let go of what is keeping you from moving toward your destiny with dignity and without worry that we are making the wrong choice or saying the wrong thing.

Honor yourself as an individual – a human being with real desires, and willing to break free from anything that keeps you from fulfilling them. This Full Moon in Leo brings a creative drive that can blast through any stagnation. Leo wants your personal happiness to shine. It will illuminate and encourage you to do exactly what you need to do and say what you need to say, as Leo is your courage. Leave the fear behind. You will have all the answers you need about yourself and what you need to connect more passionately with. If there’s anything you’re not happy with trust that the light of the sun will give you the energy you need to break out where you’ve been stuck.

Even if the actions you have to take initially appear to disrupt what has come before, repeat proudly: “I can’t wait to see what good will come of this.” So long as you are truly following your heart’s lead, everything that occurs will be happening to help you achieve what the Universe knows you need; to realize your destiny; to be happy. It may feel like you’ve just pulled the Tower card in the tarot, but at least there’s nothing to be confused about now! Be humbled by your desires – realize their potency, their truth. You’ve got the power to blaze your way forward.

To book a personal reading with Hannah Ariel email: [email protected]

SOUL FOOD #2: A NUMINOUS READING LIST FOR 2015

Feed your mind, and the rest will follow…The 16 books in this Numinous reading list are guaranteed to rock your worldview, heal your life, and feed your soul.

:: Ruby Warrington ::
“As soon as I heard about Russell Brand’s Revolution, I knew I had to read it. I’m a bit obsessed with how Russell has reinvented himself, and gone from ridiculous if charismatic addict and Hollywood wannabe, to bone fide Now Age guru – it reeks of a genuine spiritual awakening. His experience of this, told through the filter of his pop culture background, his intelligence, and with his entertaining way with words, is positioning him as one of the voices with the potential to really cause a shift in consciousness at a very mainstream level. The book is every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped, as entertaining as it is profound and agitating.”

:: Erin Telford ::
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss was the first game changer for me. I read it in high school. I grew up in a total hippie household and we would get crystal therapy when we were sick and my parents had a guru, so this lifestyle was very comfortable to me but it wasn’t something that I had consciously chosen. It was just what I knew from my family. When I read Anatomy of the Spirit it was my first personal connection to the idea that we could heal our own bodies and that the Western medical system wasn’t the only model…was in fact a very poor and deficient model for healing. The concept of “dis-ease” blew my mind wide open because it just made so much sense. It opened me up to the vastness of what we could do as individuals to self heal.”

:: Alexandra Roxo ::
“The book Be Here Now changed my life greatly at age 19. I saw that this world was merely a TV screen, a matrix of lights, all a constructed illusion, and how everything works together. I learned about food, karma, God…and something clicked. The knowledge Ram Dass spoke touched my soul and awakened existing wisdom within my heart. It was the first major awakening I had, and I remember thinking: “YES. Finally.” In 2014 I decided to listen to all of his talks on my iPhone and was re-inspired,10 years later.”

:: Erica Jago ::
What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, my dear friend who is a therapist and shaman. He shared the poem, “The Invitation,” with me and I wept. It was the first time I acknowledged and felt my own depth, and from that point forward my own personal healing began.”

:: Madeline Giles ::
The Master’s Touch: On Being a Sacred Teacher for the New Age by Yogi Bhajan. Yogi Bhajan was not a man. He was an avatar in a human suit – I guess we all are in some sense, but Yogi Bhajan was wide awake to it and the technology he transmitted to us is guaranteed (with consistent practice) to make you happy, healthy, and holy. Need I say more?”

:: Dani Katz ::
Right Use of Will: Healing and Evolving the Emotional Body. Hands down. No question. Right Use of Will came into my life several years ago, when I was heavily into ayahuasca, and tons of shamanic endeavors. It’s a channelled book – supposedly straight from the mouth of God – that lays out right and aligned third chakra relating. I take all channelled material with a grain of salt, but this book vibes high and true, and resonates on way too many levels for me to NOT take it to heart. It’s all about power – personal power, relational power, cultural power – what constitutes a distortion, and what serves the individual and the collective together. Since reading it, I move through life with a very clear certainty about how to exercise my own personal power with others and the world at large, while also being clear as to when others are out of line in how they are wielding their power with me/the world. It has since smoothed out my every human relationship, because I am clear as to what is right relating, as regards to will, and what isn’t. Armed with this knowledge, I know immediately when others are overcompensating for an underdeveloped third chakra, and can thus engage them in ways that support their empowerment.”

:: Sarah Hay ::
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas, and When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind — Or Destroy It by Jonathan Watts – these three books changed my life in 2014, and I believe that until people have read the information contained in them they will be functioning from a place of confusion, unknowing ignorance and powerlessness. Every single world event we are seeing today, from recent events of extremism in Paris, Nigeria and Syria, to extreme weather flashes in Gaza and the Philippines and water shortages in Yemen, plus extreme energy extraction in Canada, the US and the UK are all connected. We have the power to change everything, and climate is the one issue that’s teaching me this every single day.

:: Betsy Cohen ::
The book I feel every women should read is Make Every Man Want You by Marie Forleo. Marie is a huge hearted genius. Not many people know that this book exists, and when I read it I thought: “This is everything that I’ve been channelling through readings (in my work as a professional psychic medium) for the past four years about relationships all in one place!” I always tell people I hate the title but LOVE the book.”

:: Sarah Durham Wilson ::
“Shortly after my awakening four years ago, I remember being in a bath tub on a horse farm on Martha’s Vineyard and reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), and watching my life change in the air around me. A wonderful human handbook, for certain.”

:: Jennifer Kass ::
A Course In Miracles. I always tell my clients it’s the template for reality. After knowing the basic spiritual truth that only love is real and fear is an illusion, we can drop everything we hear, think, learn into that template and know what’s real and what’s false, what will best serve us and what will not. Discovering the truth of reality freed me from fear and activated my own ancient love and knowledge within and allowed me to step into my divine life mission and become who I really am.”

:: Victoria Keen ::
“It would have to be…The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality. I discovered it a couple years ago in my studies about Sound and the nature of reality, and it is a thorough and fascinating investigation into the gaping blind spots in modern science. It brings to light, in a very succinct and easily comprehensible way, a scientific paradigm for truly understanding our connectivity and the power our thoughts have on shaping ‘physical reality’. This books lays the ground work for all energetic medicine, and I am so grateful it exists!”

:: Raquel Griffin ::
“HANDS DOWN, Marianne Williamson’s The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles. I discovered it a little over a year ago and it totally changed my life…..it’s the definition of a GAME-CHANGER. This book completely redefined how I thought about money, work – and miracles for that matter. Marianne clearly illuminates the spiritual aspect of money (i.e. that money and spirit are linked), which is absolutely key to understanding and ultimately breaking the lack cycle. I honestly believe if every human lived by the concepts she elucidates in this book, our world would be a VERY different place.”

:: Sophie Teakle ::
“Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. I have listened to this more than once as a recording, and find new meanings every time. I’m also in the process of rereading The Kybalion which has such astounding depth and profundity I know it will be at my side for a life time, its meanings changing as I too grow and evolve.”

:: Laurie Di Biagio ::
The Alchemist. 18 months ago, this book opened my eyes to my own purpose – the fact that I too was on my own personal pilgrimage to the pyramids. That life is lived through the heart, not the head. And that what the heart tells you…you must follow. It came to be at the exact time it was meant to, as weeks later I embarked on a life of entrepreneurship.”