Contact Star Anise Organic Wholefoods

Please use the form on the right to contact me!
I will get back to all enquiries as soon as possible.

Soulla x 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

welcome copy3.jpg


This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

Filtering by Category: My Exercise

The 7 ways that yoga changed my life

Becca Crawford


Exactly 20 years ago to the month I had my first monumental wake up call. At 26 I burnt out as a young corporate lawyer after years of pushing myself to the extreme at high school, university and then at a top tier law firm. Too many long hours, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, pressure-cooker environment, little sleep, and binge drinking all culminated in finding myself lying flat on my back for 2 months with physical and emotional burnout. Every time I got up to go to work, the universe would raise its finger and strike me down. Bronchial pneumonia, an immune system that was completely shot, an osteo skeletal system that was so tight and ropey I felt like a wound up spinning top, and migraine headaches that made me want to jump off a cliff to end the pain. The universe was sending me clear messages that the way I was living wasn't sustainable. But I failed to heed to the warning bells my body was increasing screaming out until the sirens became so loud that one night I found myself in a hospital bed having wet myself from all the drugs I was pumped with and feeling poignantly the pain of (a wet) rock bottom. 

As I lay in that bed staring at the ceiling I knew that my lifestyle was unsustainable and that big changes had to be made. I needed to learn the hard lessons and rewrite my life from scratch. But what would it look like and how would I do it? 

While I knew I wasn’t happy in my job I didn’t know what else to do. I had no idea what my passion or purpose was back then other than a realisation that I was deeply unhappy and unhealthy and that I wanted something better for myself. It was a realisation that unless I turned my health around I couldn’t live a life of purpose and was only a fraction of who I could truly be. 

I had no tools, no mentor, and no one holding my hand through the process. Podcasts, blogs and social media did not exist. No doctor I saw ever asked about my diet, my sleep, whether I was exercising, whether I enjoyed my work or was happy in my relationship, whether I was stressed out of my brain or whether I ever saw the light of day. All I knew is that I felt broken, lost, confused and alone.

Until I worked out the bigger picture and hence my next move, in the meantime I would have to stay the course as a banking and finance lawyer BUT I instinctively decided to make 2 changes immediately: 

Firstly I decided I wanted to spend my weekends bushwalking as a way of immersing myself in nature and getting some exercise and fresh air. This started a life long passion of hiking and trekking taking me to numerous places around the globe. 

Secondly I wanted to try yoga. Back in 1999 yoga was still very alternative. People had only just started talking about it in the west and there were literally only a handful of yoga studios to choose from. I remember one of the partners at the law firm responding with "Why on earth would you want to do THAT?!" when I told him I was off to try yoga after work. 

I don't know why or how these 2 things came to me but somehow they felt intuitively right. It was though I instinctively knew that they would provide nourishment for my broken body and depleted soul. It was these 2 things that kick-started my journey into healing myself and then my life’s work in health and wellness. My passion for traditional wholefoods followed in the ensuing years as one door opened another and another.... 

I can’t say I loved my first Hatha yoga class but afterwards the teacher looked me in the eye and said "You have a lot of fire in you. I think you should try Iyengar yoga." I had never heard of that before. I found an Iyengar yoga school down the road from me in Melbourne where I lived and I was hooked after my first class. It was like a light bulb that went off inside me and I couldn’t get enough of it. Like a child starved of nourishment, I lapped up every instruction and found myself counting down the hours to the next class. It was dynamic, intense, precision focused, and deeply relaxing all at once. It was exactly what I needed physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Iyengar yoga is not trendy. You won't find flashy yoga studios. You won't see instructors and participants clad in the lasted active wear. There's no slick sexy marketing campaigns. There's no franchises and you won't get the feeling that you're in the latest "it" place. But there’s a deep well of rich instructions that form a strong foundation for the most rigorous practice I’ve come across. 

From there started a passion and deep respect that has lasted 20 years to the month. I've tried many systems of yoga during that time but I keep coming back to Iyengar. Before I had my kids, I would average approx 10 hours of practice a week but since having children my practice has been very sporadic and, at times (for months or even years), non existent. But like a cherished friendship with a life long friend, yoga is now so deeply ingrained in the fabric of my DNA that I simply pick up from where I left off when life affords me the opportunity. 

What has 20 years of yoga taught me? More than I can articulate but set out below are 7 of the most unexpected and potent ways that yoga has enriched my life: 

1. I’ve learnt that it all starts with becoming more conscious about ourselves

The point of yoga is to raise one’s consciousness. Starting with becoming more conscious about myself, I learnt how I was so out of deeply out of touch with my physical (and hence emotional) being. Yoga took me to places I never knew existed in myself. I learnt how unbalanced the right and left side of my body were, how the reason for many of my osteo skeletal issues stemmed from a broken collar bone from birth, and how inflexible I had allowed my body to become. Just to name a few. 

File 23-9-17, 9 03 34 pm.jpeg

2. I’ve learnt that physical strength flexes our emotional strength 

By pushing myself to the edge of my physical limits, I soon discovered how this flexed my emotional resilience. The more physically strong I became, the more emotionally stronger I became. 

File 27-12-16, 11 10 34 am.jpeg

3. I’ve learnt that inversions can help overcome fear 

I went from being the kid in the playground at school who loved doing handstands all day to some 15 years later being petrified of doing the same thing even against a wall. Fear overcame me when it was time for inversions with clammy hands, sweating and increased heart rate. It took me 10 years to do my first unaided headstand. I discovered that the more inversions I did, the more I loosened my grip on fear in all areas of life. Inversions provide me with a sense of freedom, lightness and playfulness that have translated to all areas of my life. They are also an antidote for depression and heaviness, and give our internal organs a much needed break. 

4. I’ve learnt to relax within effort

Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled or riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life
— B.K.S. Iyengar

Holding a pose for what seems like an eternity is a characteristic trait of Iyengar yoga. The idea is that only after a certain period of time the muscles get the signal that they have no choice but to relax. 

Within that time your body is screaming at you to remove yourself at all expense from the uncomfortableness of it all. My teachers taught me that how we respond in an uncomfortable pose is characteristic of how we respond to uncomfortable or intense situations in life. At first I squelched at how I would respond. A pose would trigger feelings of panic and rage that I wanted to escape from- typical of how I always responded to bad news (a trait I learnt as a kid from my mother). Over time I observed these feelings, and started to breath and relax into the messiness and uncomfortableness of it all. I can’t begin to tell you how this helped me tremendously in giving birth twice naturally without drugs to my 2 babies (averaging four kilos each). I owe my calm births to my years of yoga that preceded them. I greeted the contractions like a challenging pose and simply breathed and tried to relax within the effort.

Finding a way to relax within effort has been one of the most valuable lessons for me in copying with life in general. For life throws at us mess, discomfort, inconvenience and often downright atomic bombs and semi trailer collisions. It’s how we respond to these events that defines us. 

File 28-12-16, 9 13 22 pm.jpeg

5. I’ve learnt that support is not a sign of weakness but a way to strengthen our ability 

For those not familiar with Iyengar yoga, the key point of differentiation is its use of props such as bricks, bolsters, benches, walls, ropes, chairs, planks, straps etc. These are used to support you in a pose and /or allow you to go much deeper into the pose than you otherwise would without props. 

At first I thought the use of props was cheating. Then I discovered how much deeper I could go, how much more aligned I could be and/ or how I could stay in the pose for so much longer aided with props. 

I learnt that it’s not only ok to rely on props, they were necessary to advance my practice. 

In the same way I’ve learnt that it’s not only ok but essential to ask for support from friends or professionals when I’m feeling stretched, blocked or to move to the next level. It’s not a sign of weakness but a sign of being open to becoming a better version of yourself. 

Just like it takes a village to raise a child, we can’t do it all ourselves. Rely on support when it’s available. 

File 28-12-16, 9 51 29 pm.jpeg

6. I’ve learnt that flexibly in the body translates to flexibility in dealing with life 

When I started yoga I could barely reach down to my knees in agony. I would have described my personality back then being a reflection of my body- tight, rigid and uncompromising. I was startled that within 8 months of consistent practice I was able to get my hands flat on the floor. In learning how to increase the flexibility in my body, I also started learning how to become more flexible in my mind with how to deal with life. 

A brilliant analogy one of my yoga teachers taught me was to become less mercurial and more like putty. When responding to life’s events (positive or negative), instead of spilling everywhere like mercury on a board, we can become more like a piece of putty that is firmly planted on a board and simply moulds to where it needs to go without bending too much out of shape or becoming imbalanced. 

No matter what life throws at me, I’m learning to go more with the flow, responding gently and graciously than react outrageously. This one is still a big work in progress! 

I will point out though that when it comes to matters of principles and values, I stand firm. In matters of fashion and style, sway with the wind. 


7. I’ve learnt to redefine “all or nothing” 

I used to think that unless I could devote at least 2 hours to a yoga practice it wasn’t worth doing it at all. I used to scoff at people who would do anything less than that thinking it’s not worth it. Then I had babies and they turned that mentality swiftly on it’s head. I mean, what mother of small children has a lazy 2 hours up her sleeve most days?? 

Ive learnt to redefine “all”. I’ve learnt that 5 minutes is “all” I have some days and that’s better than no practice at all. It’s the little small daily increments that add up and count for a lot. 

File 28-12-16, 9 58 10 pm.jpeg

Since having kids going to yoga classes has been replaced with doing my own yoga practice either at home or outdoors in sunshine at my local beach often using my kids as props 

I wish to pay immense gratitude to the late BKS Iyengar and to all my yoga teachers over the past 20 years who have taught me so much (especially Tony Rothburg from Bridge Yoga School in Richmond Melbourne who started my love affair with yoga with his unconventional humorous and playful style).

Now I’d love to hear from you - what lessons have yoga taught you that you apply in day to day life? 

Soulla x


The Art of Softening (and the 10 ways that I have softened)

Becca Crawford

Hey sister, haven’t your heard or felt of a special kind of global movement that is afoot? A movement where women the world over are tapping into their feminine (and still climbing corporate ladders without being the stereotypical ball-breaking executive who leaves a trail of devastation in her wake). A movement where women are recognising their divine power (rather than always playing small), and acknowledging their sexiness (rather than hiding it or being ashamed of it). 

As an A-type personality, uber driven, organised and ambitious person, who always excelled at anything I put my mind to, “soft” is not a word that would ever have been used (either by myself or anyone else) to describe me. Up until recently. “Soft” conveys weak, flaky, fluffy, flighty and ineffectual. Or does it? 

A few friends have commented recently “Soulla, you’ve really softened”. Whilst in the past I would have been affronted by such an observation, today I see it as nothing short of the greatest compliment. A beautiful yin counterbalance to my raging yang. A sign of stepping into, and celebrating, my feminine, while simultaneously holding fort as an entrepreneur and business woman. How did this happen? Like most profound changes in life, it happens slowly, and gradually, until it morphs into every aspect of your daily life, typifies your actions and thoughts, and eventually becomes a way of life. 

One of my close friends, recently summed up her realisation of her greatest frustration with herself: “I’ve hardened. I constantly yell at my kids, I’m short-tempered. I’m bossy. I’m exhausted. I’m constantly frowning. I would be unattractive to any man right now. I’ve become too hard.” I’ve walked in those shoes. For most of my life. And many 40-something year old women that I interviewed confessed feeling exactly the same way. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 feeling “soft and feminine”, and 10 feeling “hard”) almost every woman that I spoke to ranked themselves higher than a 6. And they were not happy about it. 

Being hard, it seems, it not something that the women of today want to be. And not something that I would have thought our male counterparts find particularly attractive. 

Even a cursory perusal of social media streams and print media clearly show that more and more woman today are embracing, or wanting to embrace, their femininity, and take a gentler, softer approach. 

How did we women get to become “so hard”? How did we dial up our masculine energy at the expense of the feminine? While the Germaine Greer feminist movement in the latter half of the 20th Century may have served an essential purpose of catapulting women out of social inequality, did it land us at the far extreme of the other end of the spectrum, competing with our male counterparts as one androgynous species? Or has the breakdown of the tribal communities of yesteryear created a society ill equipped to deal with the feminine (gatherer) and masculine (hunter) roles? Or have we women lost our way in the busi-ness of modern life on a quest to be all things to all people wearing multiple hats (especially the single mums among us)? Or have we women simply lost a connection with ourselves and our very essence– our divine feminine- that trickles down to all aspects of our lives? Or perhaps it a combination of all of the above? Whatever the reason, it is clear that the modern woman of today seeks a more balanced middle ground where she can relish in being a feminine goddess and all that that entails, while simultaneously holding space as a powerful force of nature, creating and embellishing greatness and using her powers discerningly and only for the greater good. 

Below are 10 things that I have instinctively (rather than intentionally) used that made me “soften” and tap into my divine feminine over the past few years:

1. Softly closing the door on toxic relationships

Frida Gustavsson photographed by Benjamin Vnuk

Frida Gustavsson photographed by Benjamin Vnuk

There are times when we need to close the door on relationships with people who cross our boundaries, affront our values, no longer respect or love us, or no longer enrich our lives. Most of us at some point in our lives have had relationships with people who leave us feeling utterly drained of energy or yuk inside, or we sense that they are trying to drag us down, or belittle us at every chance. If a relationship isn’t serving you, it’s ok to gently close the door on it. If you don’t, the consequence is a disconnect which hardens you. It’s hard to feel soft,  feminine and open when you are feeling stressed, belittled, violated, disrespected or drained. You close up, and harden, to protect yourself. 

The key here is gently and lovingly closing the door on that relationship. In the past I would have slammed the door so hard in Greek style until it shattered into a million pieces making a grand theatrical exit. I’m not proud of the way I have exited certain relationships. It takes much courage and a strong sense of dignity to be firm yet gentle with people who no longer serve us. 

In place of relationships that no longer serve me, I have sought out and befriended people who add so much love and value to my life. People who enrich me no end. Women who are not afraid to speak their truth, be authentic, inspire others and unashamedly express their divine femininity. 

You are a reflection of whom you befriend and your friends are a reflection of you. As I say to my children, chose carefully, and be attracted to those who inspire, uplift, and enrich.

In my day to day life I am making a concerted effort to greet all people like long lost friends – with an open heart, a huge smile and a meeting of the minds. When you greet complete strangers in this way your approach is infectious and it spreads a lighter, softer and happier energy throughout the world. We might not agree with everyone’s point of view or life philosophy, but we can respect it and in them find things to admire.

2. Finding your life’s purpose

While connection with kindred spirits is important (as set out in point 1 above) a connection with oneself is first and foremost paramount. If you feel disconnected with yourself, you are standing on rocky ground. It is more difficult to seek out people who you feel a connection with because you don’t even know what you stand for or what makes you tick. 

Being unhappy in your job hardens you. It’s hard to feel soft and feminine when you are feeling stressed or unhappy with your work. When you are doing something that you love and feel connected with, you can unleash your love and light on the world and shine bright. If you can’t leave your job for the moment, focus on the parts about it that you do love- something must have attracted you to it in the first place. Put strategies in place to transition over time to something that you find a greater connection with.  Or seek out hobbies and interests outside of work that you have a strong connection with so that that aspect of your life is nurtured.  From that space, larger things may bloom. Reach out to organisations that you want to work for. To share a story close to my heart, one of my friends once volunteered to work for her dream company in her dream role as they had no paid role for her, and then when she proved how amazing and indispensible she was, they created a role for her and she worked her way to the very top over 10 years. Where there’s a will there’s a way. 

3. Softening into nutrition

Softening into nutrition means eating what I want, when I want, according to the dictates of my body. When you really become attune with your body and listen to its cues, you know what it needs. It might need more carbs (I opt for root veggies like baked potato chips), or more fat (upping my butter intake or having pure cream for dessert might do the trick), or more protein. Heck, I might need chocolate (the best quality raw dark chocolate of course rather than the cheap crappy variety). 

Softening into nutrition doesn’t mean that I eat junk food. When you view and treat your body like a temple, and come from a place of self-love and self-respect, then you don’t abuse your body. Instead you respect it and nurture it and want the best for it. You don’t want to fill it up with junk food (junk food is called that for a reason- it’s junk!!). I view junk food (which includes all processed and nutrient-devoid foods) as rubbish and not as real food so it wouldn’t cross my mind to eat it. It was a journey to get to that place though and to discover and create healthy swaps.  Food is not just a source of nourishment and energy, it is also very much a source of pleasure. So if a certain “food” genuinely gives you pleasure and makes you feel good (and be honest with yourself here) then if you crave it for God’s sake eat it, because you’re probably not ready to give it up (just yet).  Softening into nutrition doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind and eating gluten if you’re a celiac, or eating foods that will set back your medical or digestive condition. That’s self-sabotage, not softening into nutrition. 

Softening into nutrition means that I don’t beat myself up if I overeat nutritious food on occasion. Softening into nutrition means that as much as I try to avoid gluten (even though I don’t have the celiac gene), the occasional consumption of smallish amounts of sourdough bread is not something that I now flinch over at all (and I can tell you that there was a time at the start of my traditional wholefoods journey when for 2 solid years not a single grain ever passed my lips). Softening into nutrition means consuming small amounts of foods I wouldn’t ordinarily eat in the context of being social or gracious if a family member or friend has lovingly cooked a meal for me. 

Softening into nutrition means that I certainly don’t ever punish myself through starvation, or skimping on meals or gorging myself until I feel sick. It means never going to those extremes. It means that I eat 2 to 3 solid nutrient-dense meals a day meals according to the dictates of my hunger. Softening into nutrition means never feeling stressed or anxious about food. It’s being in a healthy relationship with food and making food and the preparation of it an immensely enjoyable, pleasurable and nourishing experience, on every level. 

Softening into nutrition means for those of you who have not already done so, finding a connection with the food you are eating:  being vitally concerned with the source and processing of it and learning how to properly and lovingly prepare it (rather than exclusively outsourcing this integrally feminine role).

4. Softening my mental chatter with positive thoughts

I have blogged about the importance of embracing a positive frame of mind most recently here as well as here. What you say to yourself is so critical to the way you view yourself and life in general. Changing my inner dialogue from largely negative to largely positive has had a huge impact on making me feel happier, softer, and more feminine. My self chatter used to be like a war zone. Us woman can be so damn hard on ourselves.  When we are hard on ourselves, we harden.  Beating yourself up with self talk like “How on earth am I going to get through the thousand things I need to do right now; no one is helping me; I can’t believe how much laundry is produced by this family; here we go AGAIN with school lunches; what the hell am I going to cook for dinner; why can’t anyone pick up after themselves around here; I’m such a failure; is this ALL I have achieved in life; nothing I do turns out right; I’m never going to find a partner etc etc ” only serves to make us feel resentful, unhappy and hard. Catch yourself when you say these things and swap all the negative chatter for positive thoughts as I detailed in my blog here.  And when disaster strikes, instead of opting for a doom and gloom woe-is-me victim mentality try to find the life lesson in it and what the universe is trying to teach you as I detailed in one of my previous blogs here

5. Softening my view on my body image

This is a huge topic worthy of an independent blog post in its own right which I will write one day. But suffice to say that the way we view our body image is intricately related to our relationship with food (point 3 above), which in turn is intricately related to our relationship with ourselves (point 2 above) as flavoured by our inner dialogue (point 4 above) and the company we keep (point 1 above). It all stems back to this: if you don’t love yourself you’ve wont ever be happy with how you look in the mirror no matter how toned, thin or svelte you are and no matter if everyone else is telling you how freakin’ awesome and sexy you look. It will fall on deaf ears. Even if you are underweight you will insist that you are fat or overweight or need to lose a few kilos. I am health coaching a few clients at the moment with this very issue and I can relate wholeheartedly to them because I used to walk in their shoes. I used to be obsessed with having a flat stomach, a thigh gap, measuring the circumference of my inner thighs and being ridiculously thin (to the point of losing my period). Unsurprisingly I had a horrific relationship with food -it would pervade my every waking (and often dream-state) thought to the point of becoming stressful and painful- and I would oscillate from binging to starving myself.  The bathroom scales ruled by life and my daily measure of self-worth would be the number that it showed every morning like a judgement handed down declaring me either guilty (if the number was great than 50kg!!) or innocent (anything that started with a 4). 

When we have rigid and unrealistic views on what we should look like in the mirror we can’t possibly feel soft and feminine as we are constantly feeling disappointed with ourselves. We harden by becoming stressed and embittered. We become jealous over those with more coveted bodies (thinking how happy we would be if only…).

Looking back now I can’t even relate to the person who I was - that 48kg woman standing 168cm tall. She is a far cry from who I am today but letting go of her meant closing the door on a toxic relationship with a friend who was fuelling this fire (point 1 above). It meant learning to love myself wholeheartedly again and pouring my energies into meaningful, soul-enriching work (point 2 above) and cultivating a healthy and sustainable relationship with food (point 3 above). 

Softening my view on my body image means that:

  • I no longer own bathroom scales so I no longer weigh myself (because when you weigh yourself all you are weighing is your self esteem)
  • I have no idea how much I weigh and I really don’t care as the number is completely irrelevant to my health and happiness
  • I can look at myself in the mirror (which happens occasionally) and think how healthy and fit I look for my age having had 2 kids
  • I do not give a rats arse about thigh gaps or a 6 pack. If these are the natural consequence of eating a wholefoods diet and leading a fit and healthy life, then kudos to you sister! But they are NOT a coveted goal in and of themselves
  • I embrace my curves 
  • I confidently know that if I eat 2-3 solid nutrient-dense wholefood meals a day in the context of an active lifestyle with plenty of pure water and sleep, I will certainly not become overweight. Ever. 
  • I wear what ever I want (usually what makes me feel most comfortable). 

Hallelujah sister! What a blessed relief to let go of that baby! 

6. Softening the lighting in my house at night with amber lights

I grew up with fluoro lights on full tilt at my parent’s house. Think of a supermarket and you’ve got the picture. My parents can’t stand dim lights. Bright lights, day and night, is all I’ve known. So when I set up my own house at 23 and right up until recently, on when bright lights, all over the house once it got even slightly dark. Right up to the point of bedtime, when I then expected my bedazzled body to instantly fall asleep. 

I used to think my friends who were all into blue blocking glasses and amber lights were too OTT. They had replaced most of the blue light bulbs in their house with amber light globes, put special blue light blocking filters on all their screens and the very minute the sun goes down they would put on their blue blocking amber glasses (“blue blockers”).  I would roll my eyes. I mean, really? This is too much, I used to think. 

Then more and more research would fly my way about the importance of sleep. Ok, I get that sleep is absolutely fundamentally important to our health so much so that it is relegated to what I call one of the 8 foundations of health. I know that you can make an animal or human insulin resistant simply by sleep depriving it, without changing its diet at all. Sleep is profoundly powerful. And both the quality and quality of it count.  I personally skimped on sleep for a very long time at various points in my life, and saw the impact it had on my health. Nowadays, I’m very precious about my sleep. It takes number 1 priority over my evenings and unless I’m health coaching or running a workshop I’m pretty much in bed with my kids at 8pm. And loving it. I could smash out more blogs, have published 5 cook books by now and have umpteen online programs if I squeezed an extra few hours of work into my evenings but I have chosen, instead, to sleep.  That’s how damn important it is to me. 

But what I didn’t fully appreciate was this: the light that is emitted in ordinary artificial light bulbs around your house contains blue light (even though it doesn’t look blue to the naked eye). This blue light interrupts our circadian rhythm by suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin, thus thwarting our ability to fall asleep as the body thinks it’s still daytime. Historically, prior to the invention of electricity, our ancestors would sit by candle light (which emits low amounts of blue light) or they would simply sleep after the sun went down. Our ancestors honoured the rhythm of nature and the daily cycle of rising with the sun and sleeping with the sun. So if you take the view that sleep – and circadian rhythm- is fundamentally important to our health, then anything that hinders or disturbs that – like artificial blue lights at night- is something to be taken very seriously. Even if exposure to artificial light does not effect your ability to fall asleep, and hence you think you don’t need to protect yourself with blue blockers and amber lights, then think again. A study published in PubMed showed that “light at night markedly increases the growth of human breast cancer xenografts in rats. In humans, the theory that light exposure at night increases breast cancer risk leads to specific predictions that are being tested epidemiologically: evidence has accumulated on risk in shift workers, risk in blind women, and the impact of sleep duration on risk. If electric light at night does explain a portion of the breast cancer burden, then there are practical interventions that can be implemented, including more selective use of light and the adoption of recent advances in lighting technology and application.”

So I started, slowly, reducing night time exposure to artificial light by making a few sleep hygiene changes. I started replacing a few of the light globes around the house with amber light globes, I started wearing amber coloured blue blocking glasses at night, and I invested in a few salt lamps that give off a gorgeous amber glow instead of turning the lounge room downlights on. If nothing else, the house now looks aesthetically beautiful at night with a soft amber hue. Unwittingly, through these soft lights, my nervous system started softening as I started getting used to this visual “softness”. But the clincher came when I would inadvertently expose myself to artificial white light at night without my blue blockers -  the brightness of the artificial light would be so intense I can not describe it as anything other than disturbing. Disturbing to my nervous system. Akin to someone playing really really loud music, or screaming in my ear. The shock wired me up, harden me and left me feeling rattled. I didn’t expect this. Just like junk food, I didn’t like how it made my feel, once I had experienced the alternative. But unless and until I experienced the alternative, I didn’t know any better. All I can say is check it out for yourself. Don’t turn on any artificial white lights at night for a good month and then see the difference to your mood and sleep.  

7. Playing soft music before bed

I love dancing and bopping away to Top 40 but once I’m home from work I go into wind down mode. Smooth tunes, vintage piano, classical or anything that isn’t stimulating serves to soften, soothe and calm.  

8. Softening with essential oils

I will never hang my hat on any one thing (as there never is one panacea), but since I started using Young Living essential oils daily (as face moisturiser with olive oil, to diffuse in the house, as a household cleaner, occasionally in my food, and on soles of my feet when I’m feeling a bit sick) I have felt so much calmer, happier, and healthier. My emotions are more on an even keel with fewer lows. My skin is glowing like never before and my kids are so much more chilled out. There’s less fighting, yelling and screaming in my house. 

Essential oils are what I call nature in a bottle. They are a powerfully potent extract of the life force of the plant and without them the plant wouldn’t exist (hence the term “essential”). Essential oils like Lavender or the blend Stress Away have a powerfully calming effect on your mental state, taking the edge off stress and anxiety. When I diffuse them in my house they immediately whisk me away to “chill out land”. And when I’m about to enter into something I find rather stressful - like sitting through a piano practice with my kids-  the conversation might go somethinglike “Mummy is going to diffuse some lavender oil this afternoon because mummy really doesn’t feel like screaming her lungs out at you.” And for some reason, the oils really work. They calm my nervous system and mummy’s piano temper tantrums have all but subsided. Much to my kids’ (and neighbours’) relief. I still throw the occasional wobbly (Greek-Cypriot tempers die hard) but not on the same scale and frequency as in times gone by. 

As an aside, I am very frequently asked why I chose Young Living essential oils. Simply put, it is because independent research shows time and again that they are of the highest quality the world over. Putting aside that they are the largest essential oil company in the world, they are the only essential oil company in the world that own all of the farms where their oils are harvested so they have total control and visibility from “seed to seal”.  As I am extremely cautious with what I put in and on my and my kids body, I always seek out the very best quality- whether its food or personal care products.  Like food, not all essential oils are the same! To purchase these oils (which are the purest and the most powerful on earth) and become a wholesale customer with 24% discount refer to this blog here. Treat them like a powerful medicinal tonic, as that is what they are. A little goes a very long way. 

9. Softening my exercise regime

I used to be hard core about doing intense exercise 3-4 times a week. I used to beat myself up about missing a class and fear of instantly blowing up like an air bag. Looking back, I spent most of my time when I was training in that way in a state of acute neck and shoulder pain. I also started looking and feeling more masculine and less feminine with larger biceps and traps and more bulky muscles in general. It wasn’t at all the fault of the PTs or the gyms -  it was me overdoing it and overtaxing my already overtaxed muscles. I have also overdone yoga numerous times, because of over pushing myself, resulting in breaking bones (yes, even in a yoga class). The point is not the exercise itself but how you approach it.  What I really needed was more gentle exercise to nourish and restore my body, not rip it apart and stress it more.  The type and intensity of your exercise really needs to suit your body and where you are at in your life. If you are going through something extremely stressful and already doing lots of functional movement through day to day life (like setting up a retail shop with 13 staff… just sayin’), then frequent and intense exercise will simply be an extra stressor on your already stressed out body. 

Choose exercises that you genuinely enjoy and make you feel good. If that’s interval training, then awesome. Do not exercise out of fear of what may happen if you don’t do it. Walking, rock scrambling, rock climbing, yoga, dancing and fascia release suit me perfectly. But everyone is different. I haven’t done interval training in years now, and guess what, even though there are parts of me that really miss it, I am gentle enough with myself now to know that at this stage of my life it just aint gonna work with what I have on my plate, and that I can function well without it, and look and feel great if I get in some stretching, fascia release and walking on a regularish basis. 

10. Spending time in nature

You can’t help but become more gentle, softer and connected with yourself when you connect with mother nature. Whether it’s the beach, a coastal walk, a bush walk or even a long stroll through a beautiful park, spending time outdoors is like hitting the reset button, because, fundamentally, nature is where we belong. 

Spending too much time indoors, wires and hardens us. Notice how your energy instantly changes when you step outside. If you work indoors, try to have your lunch outside in the sun and spend as much of your leisure time outdoors. If you can’t spend as much time in nature as you wish to, then bring nature to your house. Fill your home with plants (do this even if you do spend a great deal of time in nature!).  Not only does your house take on a softer, greener and more beautiful dimension, caring for plants is a very nurturing (hence feminine) role and watching them grow and thrive is hugely satisfying. Boston ferns (these absorb moisture), Peace Lilies (these siphon off VOCs),  Sansevieria aka Mother in Law’s Tongue (a potent oxygen producer at night), and Fiddle Leaf Fig trees (which look freakin’ amazing) are what I have mostly filled my house with. “It looks like a jungle in here”, observed my 11 year old. “Then mission accomplished!” I replied. 

I guess what each of these 10 points have in common is this: they are all guiding us to live a life that more closely resembles how we are designed to live. When we minimise the gap between our biology and our environment, we can function properly, perform our best and reach our true potential. We can become better versions of ourselves. We start to feel more connected with ourselves. And as females, if our very nature is to be soft and feminine, we can better connect with that side of us. 

One of my besties, Melissa Ambrosini (self-love guru and best selling author) has other beautiful ideas about how to tap into your feminine (and ergo soften) in one of her blog posts here

I hope you found this post insightful. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above and any other ways that you have softened and tapped into your feminine.


Becca Crawford

Some of you may recall that I ran a few foam rolling workshops a couple years back. I have had such overwhelming positive interest in this area from clients, customers and friends about foam rolling: why do you do it? what is it? how do you do it? I often explain and showcase the benefits of fascia release through foam rolling and rubber balls to my clients in my one on one health coaching sessions and they are blown away by the benefits. I love to move and I love sharing what I know and what has benefited me, so I have teamed up with PT Michael James of Primal Fitness to show you the what, why and hows of releasing fascia in this upcoming workshop.

Since I started fascia release a few years ago this is what I have noticed in my body:
•    My injuries have dramatically reduced
•    My osteo-skeletal issues have minimised
•    My flexibility has improved out of sight despite doing less stretching
•    My recovery after intense interval training has improved
•    I am able to manage and resolve the vast majority of my muscular-skeletal niggles myself

... and, most importantly, when I foam-roll consistently (a few times a week at a minimum) I am pain-free. For someone who spent most of their teens, 20s and 30s in chronic osteo-skeletal pain, I can’t begin to tell you the sheer ecstasy of being pain-free. Moving to a nutrient-dense wholefoods diet, being well hydrated, sitting less, sleeping more, being more mindful, quitting long slow steady-state cardio and simply moving how our bodies are designed to move, all made profound improvements to my ailing health, but fascia release (through foam rolling and rubber balls) has, without a doubt, taken it to the next level. It was the last missing piece of the puzzle in my osteo-skeletal malaise. 


The cost of the 2 hour workshop is;

- $70 if you bring your own foam roller (short to medium length preferable) and fascia release ball.
- $80 if you bring your own foam roller and we will order a fascia release ball for you to keep AND use in the workshop.
- $110 if you bring your own fascia release ball (e.g. made by Ironedge) and we will order a foam roller for you to keep AND use in the workshop.
- $120 if you do not have your own ball and roller and we will order both of them for you to keep AND use in the workshop.


•  An explanation of what fascia is, its role in the human body, what causes it to tighten, the consequences of tight fascia, and how to loosen it
•  An explanation of why stretching alone is not enough
•  Practical demonstrations
•  1.5 hours of releasing fascia via foam rolling and fascia release balls
•  Opportunity to ask questions
•  Your very own foam roller and a rubber ball for you to release fascia at home at your convenience (if you don't already own both)!
•  Opportunity to check out a new gym and be given 1 week free unlimited classes!


•  Those who attended one of my earlier workshops and wish to take fascia release to the next level
•  Those who want to take their flexibility and /or athletic performance to the next level
•  Anyone with tight muscles, tight spots, niggling pains, or inflexibility in certain parts of their body (especially mums carry bubs, anyone who carries heavy loads, those who don’t counter all of the forward movements in day to day life, or those feeling tight /constricted in the chest, shoulders and any part of the body)
•  Anyone who enjoys the feeling of being massaged (yes please!) or would love to have a regular massage but might not have the time and/or funds for it
•  Those who feel like they are not getting enough benefit from stretching alone
•  Those who want to learn how to effectively release fascia and iron out tight spots in the comfort of their own home
•  Anyone curious to try something new and have some fun!


WHERE: Primal Fitness, Shop 11 Cosmopolitan Shopping Centre, 2/22 Knox St Double Bay NSW 2028
WHEN: Friday 23rd June, 7-9pm
PARKING: street parking or paid parking in the Cosmopolitan Shopping Centre
WEAR: tight fitting gym/yoga clothes (loose clothing and loose hair gets caught up under the roller- I learnt that one the hard way!)
BRING: your ball and/or roller if you have them otherwise we will pre-order for you

Spaces strictly limited to 15.  If this class books out we will run additional classes in the following weeks.


  1. Text Soulla Chamberlain on  0407 871 884 to confirm that there are spaces available (spaces strictly limited to 15 per class) and on your equipment needs.
  2. Once I confirm that there is a spot available you will need to transfer funds ($70, $80, $110 or $120 depending on if you have a ball and /or roller) referencing your name into the following bank account within 24 hours (as places can only be reserved for up to 24 hours): Star Anise Organic Wholefoods EducationBSB 062 000 Acct 1628 4526

I will then email further details closer to the date.