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MatChat with Mina Blair

Health & Wellness Podcasts

Need a regular wellbeing boost? Then this podcast is for you! We know looking after our physical and mental health is more important now than ever, and talking openly about what concerns or worries us goes a long way to lighten the load. Hearing other people's stories gives us perspective and reassurance. So, every month I invite a guest onto the "yogamat" to discuss what they have learned on their wellbeing journeys. The intention is to leave you feeling uplifted and empowered.


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Need a regular wellbeing boost? Then this podcast is for you! We know looking after our physical and mental health is more important now than ever, and talking openly about what concerns or worries us goes a long way to lighten the load. Hearing other people's stories gives us perspective and reassurance. So, every month I invite a guest onto the "yogamat" to discuss what they have learned on their wellbeing journeys. The intention is to leave you feeling uplifted and empowered.





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A trip to Nepal and India - is it about the journey or the destination? with Debs Albon

It's a popular cliché, "it's about the journey and not the destination", but is this true? What is more important, the getting there or arriving at the endpoint? Fellow yogini Debs Albon and I found ourselves inadvertently answering this question on a trekking trip to Nepal a few weeks ago, and concluded that it is most definitely about the journey! We had booked the trip with the intention of seeing and honouring the mighty Himalayas and chose the Annapurna Sanctuary trek route. We wanted to learn about the Nepalese mountain culture, especially the spiritual context. The views were utterly awe-inspiring, we were not disappointed. But as we moved along the route, we became increasingly aware of a very pushy, forcing energy from people we met. It was all about "Did you get to the top (of Annapurna Base Camp)?" or "Are you on your way up?" or "Are you on your way down"? What about the simply being there, absorbing the majesty of the mountains and paying homage to this sacred area, rather than leading with a "conquering" attitude. People die every year on the mountains because they don't realise they are guests, not masters, of the peaks. But the over-achieving, get-the-selfie ego is powerful and that's how the destination becomes the all-important goal. We have a choice: surrender to the ego or surrender to the universe. So, it's not as simple as surrendering, but rather, to what are you surrendering. This was our learning. And as we travelled on to Kerala, India to immerse ourselves in the culture and spirituality there, we made this our intention. Listen and enjoy our adventure sharing! For information on our India Yoga Retreat offering 10-18 March 2025, click here.


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How liberation is in the surrender with Mina

I am going solo this time to talk about one of my favourite yogic principles: surrender. I have learned to love this word and apply this principle to my life, which has not been without challenge given the fact it has such negative connotations in the West. Because surrender is something we want to avoid at all costs, isn't it? It means defeat, losing, weakness, giving in or up. Not so! Interestingly, in the yogic tradition that is thousands of years old, surrender is a good thing, in fact, it's a goal! We should aspire to surrender because it sets us free. And in this podcast I explain why. I delve into the ancient yogic texts to discover the references of surrender and how/why we should practice it. We have a look at: The Bhagavad GitaPatanjali's Yoga SutrasOnce we understand what surrender offers, we realise that actually it is a way of taking us out of the suffering. Remember, pain is not a choice, but suffering is. We have control of how to manage our own pain, whatever the trigger or event is. So, the principle of surrender is our best friend, as described in the ancient texts. Try it in your life just once and see! Find Mina: Web: Instagram: @empoweredwithmina Facebook: @empoweredwithmina


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Bringing chanting back into the mainstream with James Boag

What is the common thread that runs through every human culture through the millenia? It's so simple: gathering around a fire, sharing food, sharing stories and singing. A practice of collective sharing that connects and binds us together as sentient beings. Dropping into the modern world, in some places this tradition has been lost, largely in the West. You will find group singing in school/church/professional choirs of course, but not as a regular activity for most people. Not so in India. Chanting is very much alive and well here, it's considered just one of many tools to practice yoga. James Boag, an English yogi, discovered this during his many years living in SE Asia and India and himself developed a love of this tradition. He now hosts kirtans as part of his yoga offering wherever he finds himself in the world. A kirtan is a devotional song in which a group repeats the lines sung by a leader. What has he learned from this part of his yoga practice? And more. So why does the invitation to chant precipitate shyness and awkwardness? Join us to learn more and discover why we should all be chanting! Find James: website: YouTube: james boag yoga youtube channel Instagram: @jamesboagyoga


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How a trip to Bali was a lesson in awareness, intention and leaps of faith with Kalina Mileva

Have you had moments in your life when you just knew in your heart that a decision was right? Even though perhaps it seemed like a risk at the time and the outcome was uncertain? This is called a leap of faith, and in my experience, these decisions are the most rewarding. I took a leap of faith this year that inviting a friend I had met online, but not in person, on a trip to Bali was going to be great and it was in fact more! Kalina and I got in touch through a 300 hour advanced yoga teacher training course online (Akasha Yoga Academy) and it felt absolutely right that we would go on this adventure together, meeting up for the first time at Singapore Airport to catch a flight to Bali. It was three weeks of raised awareness and deep self-reflection like only a trip to a faraway, challenging environment can give. Third World Asia is a place of extreme contrasts - the beauty of the jungle vs the rubbish/plastic pollution, the multiplying holiday villas for wealthy Westerners vs the dwindling homes for the native monkeys. The poor state of the infrastructure and traffic chaos vs the kindness and generosity of the deeply spiritual Balinese people. And the uninterrupted, unforgiving heat and humidity. Join us as we discuss what we learned about judgement, karma, making the choice about what attitude to lead with in life (open heart) and what to let go (anger, fear). But most of all, about the gifts that come when we surrender and trust.


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We are more than our identifiers - the Pancha Maya Koshas with Debs Albon

We are obsessed with our identifiers, aren't we? We think that who we are, our personality/identity, are things like our work status, relationship status, family role, gender, race, nationality, physical attributes, religious beliefs, political views etc etc. But this is not the whole picture because there is more - we are more than what our egoic mind is telling us. So I'm diving into the ancient yogic scriptures with fellow yoga teacher Debs Albon to find out what wisdom is offered there about who we really are and why we are here. And what we find described in the Taittiriya Upanishad (500-600 BC) is a map we can follow that will enlighten us: the Pancha Maya Koshas (Five Sheaths). We are all made up of five layers (think Russian doll) that together make up our whole being: the physical body (annamaya kosha), the breath/energy body (pranamaya kosha), the mind/ego (manomaya kosha), the higher mind/intuition/deeper wisdom (vijnanamaya kosha) and bliss body (anandamaya kosha). It's just a case of cultivating and deepening our awareness of what each of these offers which ultimately will give us a sense of freedom. Because being controlled and driven by our own and others' expectations is exhausting! The good news is that we all have this capacity within us, no need to be a "special" guru. This is a level playing field we can access in this lifetime. Debs and I are excited to be offering the Pancha Maya Koshas as the theme for a retreat being held in Kerala, India 19-29 March 2024 at the Neeleshwar Hermitage Hotel, along with author and meditation teacher Alistair Shearer! Go to my website Home Page for more info - do join us! Find Debs: Instagram: @yoga_with_debs


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How connection is at the heart of saving humanity with Baruch Zeichner

I'm back on the mat with radio host, podcaster and therapist Baruch Zeichner to reflect on this transitional phase the world finds itself in at the moment. And part of this journey is our collective face off with the dark side of humanity. We are having to stare at the results of what happens when all we can comprehend and accept is the individual perspective. When the ego I-ness is the only point of reference. We're chatting about: So join us for an uplifting discussion which will leave you knowing what you can do to be part of the solution! Find Baruch:


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Dancing your way to good health with Flavio de Brito

It's a long way from southern Brazil to the south coast of England, but it's a journey that Flavio de Brito took over 20 years ago to improve his english and learn ballroom dancing. His penchant for the performing arts had started already with acting at the age of 14, but it was dance, and specifically the Argentine Tango, that had initially set his heart on fire. Having arrived with a plan to stay for 3 months, he is still here, and Argentine Tango is his life. He performs professionally while running the Tango with Flavio Dance School. It was through the gift of a dance voucher from a friend for private classes that Flavio and I met, and I have been dancing the tango ever since, having fallen in love with it myself! And I am testimony to how life changing dance can be, which is why I wanted to hear Flavio's story. In this podcast we chat about: Journey's EndThrough his professional dancing and the shows he produces with his students as the stars, Flavio's mission is to inspire others to take up dancing and discover all the benefits for themselves. There is no barrier to entry. And for me, I'm just so glad I decided to give it a go because I shall now tango my way forward, whatever comes! Find Flavio: Facebook: @flaviodebrito Website: Instagram: @debritoflavio


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Leaving it all behind to follow your heart with Kirsten Berry

You hear about people who take the risk and walk away from stable, successful lives. They leave secure income and safe career paths to head into the unknown. Why do they do it? How do they do it? Well, I'm finding out in this podcast with Kirsten Berry, co-founder of Akasha Yoga Academy which offers onsite and online 200 hour and 300 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. Years ago in Berlin, she was on the path of a successful architect with all that that implies. But going to a yoga class lead to a couple of trips to India which then changed everything. Kirsten discovered that her "heart was on fire" only when immersed in yoga. So she left her life in the West and moved to India, then later to Thailand, teaching yoga full time. We chat about how that felt, to take such a leap, and how she coped with challenges such as a 49-day isolation retreat in the jungle. Kirsten has discovered that yoga's greatest offering is the gift of stillness which is why her focus is now Yin Yoga and meditation. This is at the centre of the recently launched 300 hour online Teacher Training course. We also talk about: Does she ever miss the life she left behind? Never! Kirsten has followed her heart. Find Kirsten: Instagram @akashayogaacademy


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Overcoming (hidden) food addictions with Dr Cori Stern

I think we all understand the old saying "you are what you eat", but what if you're not aware of what you are actually eating? Of what the specific ingredients are in the things you are putting in your mouth? Of the reason(s) behind the choice? Dr Cori Stern has a lot to say about this as she has spent most of her life first sorting out her own health, and then taking that knowledge to help others. Brought up by parents who fed her junk food, having they themselves been brought up with junk food, Dr Cori spent her childhood feeling ill with all manner of infections. At the age of 15, she suddenly understood the connection between nutrition and good health and never looked back. So, with all the data and the knowledge available out there on the consequences of poor eating, why would someone still eat regularly in fast food restaurants and/or buy processed food? Because we eventually changed our relationship with smoking, right? Dr Cori explains the hurdles that stand in the way of what would seem to be so obvious: the power of advertising, the influence of social media, the draw of habitual behaviour and more. We explore the broader subject of outsourcing our health to the medical profession rather than practicing common sense and self-help. Because rushing to the doctors for quick-fix pills is a modern phenomenon. I ask Dr Cori about where the responsibility ultimately lies - the food production companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the regulators or the consumer? Is it even helpful to play the blame game? Perhaps "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is more relevant now than ever! Find Dr Cori: Web: YouTube: Dr Cori Stern Take Control of your Health


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Why yoga is the gift that keeps giving with Debs Albon

In this western culture of "been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" one could think that at some point there isn't more to learn. Can't teach an old dog new tricks sort of thing. Not so yoga! I'm chatting with Debs Albon who has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 30 years and feels that this is a subject that simply keeps on giving. It is a joyful, bottomless well of knowledge that offers you gifts of wisdom every time you dip into it! Debs is passionate about reading ancient yogic scriptures, but are they relevant for the modern world? Absolutely, she says. It's all about raising awareness, about discovering why we are here and asking the question: what's this life all about really? And the ancient Indian yogis offer plenty of insight on that. But Debs doesn't just read, she goes to the source and recently spent a month in India. She shares her experiences and impressions, and to my question, helps explain what Kundalini Yoga is. And no, it's not about sex! Finally, I ask Debs to take a big picture view of her life - does she think the world is going in the right direction? Are we getting it? Join us to find out. Find Debs: Instagram: @yoga_with_debs


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How consciousness and energy has given rise to a new global Golden Era with Dr Alison Kay

There seems to be a lot going on around the world and most of it not good: wars and conflict, climate change, Ego-driven politics, suffering on a mass scale. Perhaps it's best to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away? Absolutely not! Fortunately I'm chatting to Dr Alison Kay - award-winning author, yoga and meditation teacher, subtle energies practitioner (chakra system) and founder of the Vibrational UPgrade System - who explains how we are actually in the process of creating a new global Golden Era! After years of travel (10 years living in Asia), study, teaching and helping people live full, optimal lives, Dr Alison has picked up some key learnings along the way. These include: So, join us as we take all the bad news stories and consider them instead as opportunities, taking the big picture view to see that we are in fact entering a new Golden Era of existence. Find Dr Alison: web: Facebook: @dralisonjkayofvibrationalupgrade Insta: @dr.alisonjkay


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Making friends with death with Sarah Seymour

Can we make friends with death? Why would we need to do that? Surely death is something we don't want to talk about, it's too depressing or scary. The inspiration behind this podcast is the book by Judith Lief called Making friends with death, which was recommended reading for a Yoga for Cancer teacher training I completed earlier in the year. And by taking us through the Buddhist and Tibetan traditions regarding death, Judith explains why it's beneficial to contemplate death and be comfortable with it, with our mortality. To help explore this idea, I asked friend and freelance artist Sarah Seymour to share her story of the loss of her mother last year. It is an uplifting and reassuring tale of how to manifest a good ending, of how working with acceptance allows the full expression of love and joy. It is also a reminder of the importance of being resolved with oneself as well as with others, and letting go of any anger, bitterness and resentment which gets in the way of feeling gratitude for life. This is something we can all sign up to. In fact, it's the greatest gift we can give to ourselves as well as to those who will be left behind. So, if death is on your don't-want-to-go-there list, then please have a listen. For another uplifting story of life after loss, go to my website and check out my book Not for the last time.


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Using the no-mind space in Cranio Sacral Therapy to harness the body's healing powers with Etienne Peirsman

As so often happens, when something very challenging, very painful comes your way, it can be life-changing. It's the Universe waking you up. This was certainly the case for Etienne Peirsman, a leader and author in the field of Cranio Sacral Therapy. He tells us how a near-death experience due to a staph infection lead to a trip to India where he did more than recover - he found his life purpose. To heal and teach people the Cranio Sacral approach. We discuss what is behind our resistance to working with the body's own healing capacity. What's that about? Etienne feels the roots lie in how we are educated and how society is structured. The emphasis is more on the (unintentional) programming of people rather than allowing space for the discovery of one's purpose, one's gift, and for connection to Self, intuition and "no-mind". As an example, he describes the impact on child development of a classroom-based two-dimensional learning environment. But the restriction of our true nature begins even earlier, at birth. Etienne describes how the aggressive experience of immediately having the umbilical cord cut affects a baby on all levels ( and he has seen thousands through his work). Not to mention the high number of elective Caesareans. What can we do to reconnect to ourselves, our being? We finish with a discussion on how Cranio Sacral Therapy works and the power of touch. Etienne says the effect is "instant mindfulness", a state that allows "full consciousness of feeling". It's all about "listening" and not intervening. It's engaging the body's own wisdom, which makes sense - we all know that every night in deep sleep the body conducts repairs. So with two bodies connected energetically, you're simply strengthening the process. Want to learn more online about Cranio? Then go to where you'll find lots more information on Etienne's teachings. Find Etienne: Website: Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - LinkedIn -


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It's not about the weight but what's underneath with Lori Aloisio

It's the first MatChat Podcast of 2023 and what a better way to start than chatting with Lori Aloisio, a Holistic Weight Loss Coach. Being on the other side of the festive season, perhaps weight is a poignant subject at the moment. Losing weight and getting fit must be on the top of most people's new year's resolutions list after all. But is there another way to approach this challenge other than starting a(nother) diet? Lori offers an alternative option that goes beyond, or rather, underneath what you see on the surface physical level. What is the body trying to tell you? With a background in nursing and healthcare, Lori discovered that helping women answer this exact question often led to natural weight loss. That once aligned with one's authentic self, the body naturally settles into its optimum shape and weight. We go on to chat about how women are not in tune with their menstrual cycles, pushing their bodies to fit a more masculine geared agenda. Have women lost their connection with their feminine selves? Is the price to "have it all" - juggling career and children - too costly? Is it even beneficial? And what about the men, where do they fit into this equation? Join us as we explore these thought provoking questions. Ultimately it's about finding balance and harmony. With ourselves, with others and with our planet. Why not consider starting the year with a promise to living a life of purpose and passion. Be your own best advocate! Find Lori:, Instagram: @lorialoisio


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Giving the gifts that aren't in a box with Tobiah

Christmas is fast approaching and I've invited friend and singer-songwriter Tobiah back on the mat to chat about what giving and receiving really means. Because it's so easy to just focus on the commercial, material side of this celebration and miss the deeper message. It needs to be less "what did I get?" and more "what did I give back?" in the form of good intention and spirit. We begin by reflecting on all the gifts you can give that don't come in a box, and there are loads! Such as love, compassion, sympathy, understanding, respect, kindness, wisdom and gratitude. You can "lend you ear" to someone and give the gift of listening. And what about the gift of time, how precious is that? To offer your time and attention to someone who needs it. The list is long and doesn't cost you anything! I share some readings from the wonderful book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer who writes about the importance of reciprocity and what it means. Perhaps this is something we have lost sight of in the more ego-centred parts of the world. Robin reminds us of the value of taking only what you need and of the mutual responsibility we have for each other. Just as we have the responsibility of giving from the heart, we have the responsibility of receiving from the heart. We bring Christmas into the room by finishing with Tobiah's beautiful song Golden Christmas Time and the story behind it. And with that, I wish all listeners a loving Christmas and a Happy New Year! Find Tobiah:, Facebook @tobiahuk, Instagram @tobiahthomas, Twitter @tobiahtobie13


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Taking risk to find your purpose with Sarah Seymour

Are you in the right place, doing what you feel you were made to do and fulfilling your core purpose? Or are you just going through the motions, playing it safe and sensible, yet knowing it's not what your heart really desires? I think most of us at some point have asked ourselves these questions. Very few hit on what their core purpose is straight away. It can be a journey spanning years before we stop, switch off our loud, dominating mind, and listen to what our heart is whispering. Because only your heart knows who you truly are. Sarah Seymour has recently been through this soul-searching questioning and decided to take the risk and follow her inner voice. She had been teaching music for many years, being very "sensible", but then felt it was time to take action, commit and become a full time artist. She threw herself out into the universe. And what came back, what was revealed to her, was actually what she had always known: she was born to be a painter. To create joy and happiness through her art. How did taking that risk feel? Has it worked out? Sarah shares what ultimately won the day - "sensible" or "authentic"? Find Sarah:


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Practising self-enquiry: who am I? with Mina

We are defined by so many things, aren't we? Just think about it. Your name was given to you by your parents, your nationality is an accident of birthplace, and your physical features by your genes. Now add educational status, social status, work status, financial status etc etc. You are defined by multiple surface layers, some acquired willingly, others not! But who are you really? When you strip back all those layers, what is there? What is left? The practice of self-enquiry is thousands of years old as people across the ages have pondered the question "who am I?" It is the foundation for meditation and pranayama practice which are ultimately paths to self-discovery. To know consciously what you are beyond body, mind and emotions. In this podcast I'm flying solo and talking about self-enquiry and why it's important. I take you through a short exercise to give you an idea of what it means. Aren't you curious? Find Mina:


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A collective approach to our mental health with Sarah Cox

Mental health - if we're not talking about it, we're probably thinking about it. Our own and that of others we care about. The pandemic has focused our attention very firmly on this subject. It touches everyone - young, old, rich, poor. It transcends all difference because it's about being human and how to manage stress. I'm chatting to friend and fellow yogi Sarah Cox about why mental health is at the top of the agenda and simply can't be ignored. Because it wasn't always this way. We reflect on previous generations who faced enormous hardship but coped. Why is it different today? Why aren't people as resilient? Maybe the answer lies in the drift away from a collective society towards the Age of the Individual. There's a lot of "me", "myself" and "I" going on! Which is fine until something huge happens like the pandemic, and then people don't know where to turn or how to manage. They feel overwhelmed, fearful and vulnerable. I reflect on a recent trip to the Faeroe Islands - a country made up of 18 volcanic rocks in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 54,000 inhabitants. In such a raw, wild and unpredictable environment they rely on each other quite literally for survival. As a result, they are grounded, calm and confident. Can we learn something from the Faeroese? Join us and find out! Find Sarah:


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Reframing meno-pause as meno-go and celebrating the Wise Woman phase with Melissa Ayres

This week I'm co-hosting with friend and fellow yogi Sarah Cox and we are talking about the M-word: menopause. Half the population have to go through this natural transition and yet for many women it's fraught with emotional, mental and physical issues. No two menopausal experiences are the same. It's a time of upheaval and yet so often unspoken. Well, fortunately things have changed, and women have been given permission to speak up for themselves and get the support/treatment they need. But why the silent suffering for so long? And the shame? What can women do to help themselves and not feel alone with it all? Is HRT the only answer? We are asking Melissa Ayres these questions - she is a Menopause Coach, Homeopath and Intuitive Healer. She works on a one-to-one basis and takes a holistic approach with homeopathy and ThetaHealing playing their part. The aim is for each woman to support the body, let go of feelings and stories that no longer serve her, and redefine who she wants to be for the next phase: the Wise Woman. A time of excitement, potential and possibilities. There is too much negative, fear-inducing language around the menopause, so it's time to change the narrative. Let's drop the "pause" and make it meno-go! Find Melissa:, Instagram: @melissajayres


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Feel the vibe - bringing sound to the yoga mat with Zach Silver

It's all about vibration. The universe is vibrating, this planet is vibrating and you/we are vibrating. Even rocks vibrate. All the time. Everything is in constant motion - some you can feel, like an earthquake, and some you can't, like the different frequencies in vibration of your internal organs. But it's all scientifically proven and measured. In fact, scientists tell us the universe vibrates at 432 hertz! But universal vibration is something that has been known in the spiritual world for thousands of years of course. It's called Om (or technically, AUM), which is a key element in the practice of chanting. And yet even Albert Einstein said, "Everything in life is vibration." Who knew Einstein was a yogi (you heard it here first!)? So, on that note (no pun intended!), I'm excited to chat with Zach Silver, who has created a way to combine his two passions - yoga and playing/composing music. Zach has been playing musical instruments since he was a toddler, so when he found the yoga mat, it came quite naturally to combine sound with movement. His intention is to create music designed to deepen yoga practice, rather than distract. His creative process is experiential - as he moves through the postures, he hears sound in his head, which he then captures through a mix of musical instruments. He even takes into account the rate of is heartbeat. Zach is excited to be offering his first track for sale online next month (July 2022). To pre-order go to Life is a multi-sensory experience, so why not reflect this in yoga? I use aromatherapy sprays during relaxation in my class ( and the students love it. But ultimately, whether it's coming through eyes, ears, nose or skin, it's universal vibration you're tuning in to. Find Zach: Insta @zacharysil