THE SHANTIPHANT PROJECT – I LIKE THAT WHAT IS IT?

2015-05-25


when I first stumbled upon The Shantiphant Project I was mezmerized. there is this young woman from Germany who makes beautiful film portraits of yoginis in a very sensitive and eased way. everything that Laura Hirch, the bubbly soul behind the online film project, creates talks to me so I knew I need to talk to her. and here is her story.

hi Laura, after you've shared so many stories of inspiring women it's time for yours. please tell us about The Shantiphant Project. 
The Shantiphant Project is an inspiring online film project that portraits yoginis who have – mostly through yoga – experienced a transformation in their life and are now transforming their community. I have captured their beauty and courage in short portraits so the spectator will hopefully become motivated and inspired to also start fulfilling the own dreams. I only feature women because I think that it is still important to empower women to live the life they aspire for their own self and to walk new paths, if necessary. these films are not only about yoga. it's really about believing in yourself, be willing to step up and change something for the better. it shall also serve as an inspiration to let go of fears and mental boundaries that keep oneself from living ones’ dreams.

I love the name of the project. what is the meaning behind Shaniphant? 
I love animals in general but elephants have sort of always fascinated me. I love their shape, their kind eyes, their grace but also their radiant power. I like the traits of being gentle and calm and fierce and assertive at the same time. they have a strong sense of justice, a stunning memory, high level of intelligence and a strong social sense. I cherish these traits in humans also. ganesha, the elephant god in the hindu-tradition, is said to be the remover of obstacles. I found that very suiting for the stories I am telling through the short portraits. shanti means 'peace' in sanskrit. I consider elephants as extremely peaceful living beings and thus want to emphasize that a Shantiphant is someone who serves humanity in a peaceful yet determined way.



what does The Shantiphant Project means to you?
for me it is a proof that I can have trust in myself. that if I want to realize a dream, I can realize it. it may mean hard work and showing courage from time to time but also a bag full of goosebumps, happiness and surprises. I really believe in a vital life force that pushes us in the right direction but I somehow have to test it from time to time and experiencing that I can actually establish something out of nothing is a thrilling experience. and I learned a lot through the project in terms of how to make a film so I have always considered it and everybody involved as my private little film school. I am still so grateful for every new filming experience every different phant (person being portrait) had to offer. filming (and almost falling out of) a rickshaw in India, countless sets in nature to filming in a circus, on the water, festivals etc. has taught me how to react in different situations and to be openminded. I can be a little unpleasant with myself when technical stuff doesn’t work out the way I intended it to be or I fuck up the sound for the 1000th time but then again I am proud of what I taught myself and find it weird sometimes that at the end a film comes out that makes sense in a way.

like smile at your sister The Shantiphant Project origins in the idea of sharing stories of women who inspire by following their heart and inner voice. it's not always easy to hear the inner voice. what do you think is a good way to rediscover it and especially to believe in it? 
the truth is: it is always there. and in a sense, you unconsciously may feel it. when you make a decision and you are not a hundred percent behind it, you may feel a NO internally. When you feel energy and excitement arising, then it’s probably a YES. but can you accept that and be true to your self? we tend not to listen and search on the outside for signs when really it was clear all the time. we should start looking within us for an answer instead of relying on others opinions. I think it’s crucial to reflect every decision you make. I sit for 15 minutes each day and listen within me. what is going on in there (and believe me: sometimes a whole circus). if I don’t feel anything than I will sit a bit longer and eventually I will receive a hint. but also long walks in nature are amazing to figure out what I want. but really, can you accept that sometimes you can’t push answers and yourself? be gentle and dear with you, we don’t have to function perfectly for we are human.


do you remember the moment when yoga got you for the first time?
before I discovered yoga for myself I was already deeply interested in spirituality, astrology, naturopathics, holistic and esoteric stuff. my mom was doing a yoga course at the volkshochschule and always tried to persuade me to join. at that time I was too lazy. somehow I ended up in San Francisco in a gym with the intention of shedding a few I-am-new-to-the-USA-and-have-to-taste-every-fatty-sugarbomb—pounds and almost stumbled into a course which was led by an elf-like yogini with a rainbow-tattoo on her neck. she played ‚Gabriel‘ from the band Lamb for shavansana and I remember having had the feeling of flying out of class and through the bustling streets. I was hooked right away. you have to feel it to love it, I guess.


you are a jill of all trades. you write for yoga magazines and blogs, you make films, you're a yoga teacher and you run that one great website we are talking about. with all this creative things going on – what does ground you?
I tend to get very lost in my bubblyness and to do-lists and yoga is always a way to get grounded. but really, sometimes all I wanna do is sit still, close my eyes and feel what is going on inside me. feel the prana (life-force) rushing through me, feeling the air around me and connecting to my little me. so I try to do that every day.

I read about your turning point in life that you had in the domenican republic. how did your life change since then? 
I traveled to the DR for an article about the connection of yoga and surfing (which I think are the perfect couple by the way). at the beginning I wasn’t so eager to go there, having had the imagination in my mind that it would be rather an all-inclusive-bunker-place. I was so wrong! from the first moment on I fell in love with the tropical air, the scent of the humid earth. and of course with the people and their mentality which is so different and so soothing. I learned a new way of thinking, enjoying life, letting go and taking everything a bit easier. when I came home to Germany I knew right away I had to change my life and style so I sold everything I had, gave up my apartment and went back to the DR after 8 (very long) months. I don’t regret it. apart from that I remember always wanting to live somewhere ‚where bananas come from‘ ;)

by going through this what advice would you give your younger self? 
exactly what I have to tell my older self constantly: don’t stress so much. everything will come to the right time and everything happens for a reason.

do you have a personal mantra? 
Om Sri Balasai Ram, a mantra I got from my guru Sri Balasai Baba who I visit every year. it connects me instantly.

in really really short shantiphant is about fulfilling ones own dreams. is there any dream you would like to share with us? 
I have many dreams and I have a bucket list on my phone that is being updated constantly but a big dream is coming true right now: I will study documentary film in Los Angeles and I still can’t believe it will start in a few weeks. another one would be to be able to continue shooting films that are about spirituality, healing, social justice and transformation – but on a larger scale. I’ll keep working and visualizing towards it ;)



the SHANTIPHANT project // SAMANTHA from Laura Hirch on Vimeo.

Samantha is one of many Shantiphants. to get to know more empowering stories head over to The Shantiphant Project 


Laura, thank you for boosting ones sense of basic trust ♡

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SEARCHING SIROCCO

2015-05-21



human movement is something that I am fascinated by over and over again.
I am thinking of movement that doesn't follow any rules but is an expression of being alive.

be you.

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BLONDY WETSUITS SS/15

2015-05-19


blondy wetsuits just launched their new website and their new collection. if you have a piece of the spanish indie surf brand in your closet you don't need to ask yourself ever what to wear for surfing anymore.



last year I had the chance to talk with the two sea lovers who make girls feel ride pretty. it's this way to the interview, enjoy.

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WAVESISTERS x SMILE AT YOUR SISTER

2015-05-17


dear friends of the ocean, surfing and yoga, I've got some great news to tell. sometimes you know it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. I'll leave Vienna for the next months to stay in Lanzarote this summer. the WaveSisters surf & yogacamp in Caleta de Famara will be my new home from the beginning of july until the end of september. I am looking forward to live in the rhythm of nature, to surf a lot and to welcome you on the rooftop of the surfhouse to make yoga.

it took me some time to get here. I had a vague idea of me going places. step by step I explored them by the wayside and almost each and every person I met has done its bit that I am where I am today. what I want to say is: trust yourself, trust your path. you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

and because all movements affect each other you maybe think of going on a surf trip while reading this. 




WaveSisters is a surf & yogacamp that loves to take you into the water and into the waves. it aims to increase the community of female surfers and to give women the possibility to meet and share their experiences and this happens in some of the most beautiful locations in the world – on the Canary Island of Lanzarote as well as in France and Portugal.



some impressions from Portugal (above) and France (below)


if you wanna join WaveSisters it would be more than a pleasure to welcome you. for more information and booking contact me via smileatyoursister(at)gmail.com
shaka.

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SALT IN MY HAIR – I LIKE THAT, WHAT IS IT?

2015-05-08


salty sister love! today I am super happy to introduce an outshining blog in the rare all-girls travel and surf scene in the german speaking world – the ingredient to happy life: salt in my hair. it's a beautiful blog taking you off the beaten track run by individualists, explorers and mermaids called Marie, Kamila, Hana and Tina.

hej girls, how's 2015 so far?
Marie: pretty good actually! I have been surfing in Morocco already, Tina enjoys her yoga and surf life in Central America and Hanna lives in the city of romance: Rome. only our lovely Kamila has to trim back her travel plans a bit, as she started a job this year. but she is planning little escapes to overcome her travel nostalgia. 

sounds great! please tell us about your evocative website "salt in my hair".
Marie: Kamila and I have founded salt in my hair. we actually got to know each other when we were 15.400km apart from each other. Kamila was doing a study abroad semester in Bandung, Indonesia and I was studying in Pforzheim (a small city in Germany). We only met a couple of times at university and were connected on facebook. when Kamila tried surfing the first time, she fell in love with the ocean and when she saw all my surfing pictures on facebook, she knew that I was carrying the same love with me. and that’s how we connected. we started writing and were both raving about our deep love to the ocean. we both knew immediately that we would become great friends. after she returned to Germany we came up with the idea to built up a platform about surfing, about unconventional travels, about local brands and about the lifestyle that comes along with it. Hanna and Tina joined us after the launch and we are so grateful to have them in our team. I met Hanna during a shared car ride from Berlin to Hamburg and our yoga chic, Tina, is a good friend of Hanna. Without our blog I would have probably not met the other girls, who are all great friends now.


your blog is all about the journey. what's your prefered style of traveling?
Kamila: spontaneous drifting, discovering new places and experiencing local culture and lifestyle without being tied to time and place commitments. I love to stay at places as long as I like.


do you ever travel altogether? 
Marie: unfortunately not yet! but I have been traveling with Kamila in Indonesia and have been on a snowboard trip to Laax with Hanna already. I also visited Tina in Sylt, where we actually had a pretty good surf and yoga session. but I hope one day we’ll do a wonderful surf-roadtrip with all the girls. that would be a dream.

would you have tips for landlocked girls who wanna live their travel & surfing dream but don't know how to realize it yet?
Hanna: there are many things that can hinder your travel plans, sometimes it’s the money, time or other kinds of obligations. but on the other hand there are many opportunities to realize your travel dreams. I always try to combine traveling with other “compulsory” activities, like studying or internships, like a few years ago when I wrote my bachelor thesis in the Dominican Republic. also, I make traveling one of my top priorities... so even though a reasonable person might say that at a certain point you have to focus on other things I just go traveling and try to arrange all the rest around it. it is possible.


there's a nice article about "meerweh" on your blog. would you know about any remedy for wanderlust?
Tina: inhale deep – exhale deep, close your eyes and just enjoy the feeling of wanderlust, because it is also a positive feeling and your next trip is waiting, so don´t  feel sad and just look forward to your next adventure. I’m  sure there will be one… or even try a hot yoga class during winter time ;) could be a great relaxing and challenging remedy for wanderlust as well!

 
what does traveling and surfing mean to you and what has it changed in your lifes?
Kamila: traveling is… full fascination, inspiration, happiness and mindpeace. the greatest emotions come up when entering the ocean with my board. catching a wave and merging with water as an earth element. small moments and big adventures, seeing new places and meeting new people from all over the world – I do not want to miss this anymore. it makes me incredible strong and happy.




what do you believe in?
Marie: I think the most important thing is that you believe in yourself.
Kamila: the journey is the reward: every small life step and trip, every small impression is a part of something big.

and what makes you smile?
Tina: surfing a wave on a lazy longboard!
Hanna: the sun, the sea and of course chocolate!

please show us a picture that takes you back to one of your favourite destinations so far.

Medewi, Bali

Marie: most magical surf place I have been so far. you’ll find palm trees and perfect, long lefthanders there and a lot of super friendly locals, who love to share their waves, have fresh fish BBQ together and show you around.

and a little either or game at the end:
salt or pepper? salt, sea salt!
longboard or short board? longboard
writing or taking pictures? taking pictures


to read more stories about vibrating places follow salt in my hair on facebook. these days live from Morocco and Rome!

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GOLDEN RIDE T-SHIRT TO WIN, yeew!

2015-05-05


wear your board close to your heart and don't forget to play.

the oversize cut golden ride tee "balian" with my potato print pattern design on its breast pocket is available via their online shop now.

three lucky ones can WIN it instead so don't be a potato and let me know following thing via facebook to win a tee inspired by light pink sunsets, surfing and summer breeze:

what's your remedy for wanderlust?



features:
100% cotton
made with love
oversize cut
golden ride limited edition

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PHOTOSHOPPING AT FASHIONCAMP VIENNA

2015-04-23


here are a few impressions of my photoshop workshops that I ran at fashioncamp vienna. it was a first timer but surely not the last one. I loved to share the photoshop magic with you!

first day "photoshop with ease"


more insights into various talks and workshops and more shiny girls after the click.
all photos by manuel carreon lopez

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LOLA MIGNOT

2015-04-03


Lola Mignot Gypsy Princess of Sayulita from Ed Fladung on Vimeo.

here's lola, she's from the world and she flies on the top of the waves.

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MAKE ART YOUR MEDITATION – SYNAPTIC STIMULI

2015-04-01

all healing must be self-initiated

my desire is too speak less. yet to communicate more

in a world of strings we are designers of expressions


head over to synaptic stimuli to see more of michael chichi's curation of hi-fidelity aesthetic stimulation which may affect and expand one’s consciousness, stir up latent cosmic origins, trigger cellular intelligence, tickle the neurons & warm one’s heart. to inspire and turn you on to your own evolutionary destiny. 

I must admit that I just copied and pasted this text. because it's perfect.

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SURF'S UP YOGA

2015-03-25



more road trips
more sunsets
more waves
and more hugs

but before, yoga


regardless of whether it's your first surf trip or if you are already catching waves for many years – we're gonna get strong, smooth and focused with these early bird surf's up yoga sessions.


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PATAGONIA DOES IT RIGHT / + yoga playlist

2015-03-22


one can find the most beautiful shapes, scents and tastes in nature. all attempts to imitate them by a linear thinking are vain. it's because of the Li, it makes it simply impossible. in taoism li stands for the organic system of nature that does not follow any rules and brings unpredictable lines and forms to light.

that might be one of the reasons why many of us can't get enough of going on surf trips and why we enjoy outdoor yoga sessions and long runs, because everytime the surrounding changes we'll be within something magic that we've never experienced the same way before.

patagonia sees it as its obligation to protect our nature by using sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester or hemp. and that's why I appreciate the brand so much. and besides their dedication for a better world their surf and yoga wear is amazing!




wherever you go, go with all your heart.

if you are getting a longing for the great outdoors while looking at the adventurous outtakes of Patagonia's spring lookbook but nature is far away at the moment see it as a sign to jump on your yoga mat and listen to my YOGA playlist that I've created for feeling the earth beneath the feet and the fire within us. 

photos by ben moon, adam clark, jeff johnson and steven gnam

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DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK

2015-02-24



whenever facing a tough situation changing perspective might work wonders.

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THE UNFOLDING SESSIONS II

2015-02-16


we couldn't be more excited about being back at the Little Yoga Room for our second acoustic yoga flow on march 1st. grab a friend or come alone and be prepared to play with your shadows.

see you on the mat
 

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LA MÉRICAINE – I LIKE THAT. WHAT IS IT?

2015-02-12


La Méricaine is the story of a french girl living the american dream. as a big fan of clothes that don't look like clothes at a first glance the beautiful blankets and capes immediately rised my spirit of adventure. Valerie Hernandez created a true homage to the great outdoors and is bringing the adventurous life of the prairies to the city streets and beyond. the world needs more stories like this.




how is it for you to run your own company after having worked as a designer in the sports fashion industry for many years?
it's a great feeling to work by oneself. I am responsible for my choices and decisions. I had the chance to work in large industries where I have learned a lot. today I can make use of the experience in my entrepreneurial life. I work with French suppliers I've known for a long time. it is very important for me to contribute to the French industry.

your collection is inspired by the native american tribes. what fascinates you about them?
I chose the Indian inspiration because I like these people for a very long time, because of their colours, their tradition and their blankets of course. they wear similar heavy wool coats for their entire lives: from birth to marriage until death. for them life is a journey with no end.

imagine yourself being wrapped up in a blanket next to a cozy fire place. where would it be and who would be with you?
I can imagine myself being wrapped in a blanket with my boyfriend watching a cool movie with a glass of red wine, it's a bit a cliché, haha!



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FLOATING LEAF

2015-02-09



happy monday morning everyone.

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BREATHE IT ALL IN, LOVE IT ALL OUT

2015-02-02



the next time you feel stressed try to breath with this.

via fuckyeahyoga

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THE UNFOLDING SESSIONS

2015-01-20



we love yoga, and music anyway, and we like to spend our sundays at winter more than anything else with the good people at places that gives us energy.

see ya at our first yoga & live acoustic music flow.
click click for more details.

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INTERVIEW WITH LAURA AUSTIN

2014-12-28


recently I talked to Laura Austin for Golden Ride Magazine. head feet over head to the full story and travel with her photographies around the world.

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