Finding yourself through yoga and meditation is a gift to yourself
Meet Ramone Bisset, creator/director of Wild Sage Wellbeing
Ramone is a soul seeking traveller with wunderlust at heart who has finally been led to her current passion: creating exceptional experiences to help you live a life that allows you to be wild, be wise and be well.
With over 18 years in the health, wellness, fitness and outdoor education industries, Ramone is a certified Yoga Teacher, Thai Massage Therapist and Energetic Worker. And I was fortunate enough to meet Ramone back in 2014 right when my marriage was ending. Ramone is a fabulous yoga and meditation teacher, where I joined her in one of her ‘Commit and Sit’ workshops.
It was transforming!
I began my meditation journey about six months prior, however doing a 21 day challenge of yoga and meditation really had me connect with myself and see life so differently. Connecting with Ramone on a weekly basis through this workshop, made me realise the world wasn’t against me, and life wasn’t bad. It is how we deal with the circumstances and the choices we make. The 21 day challenge included; daily yoga, mediating and journaling. By meditating daily and writing a grateful list each day, allows you to slow down and see the beauty in life. And to choose love in your everyday life. That is what happened to me even through the tough times I was going through, I was able to be grateful and choose love, to love myself and my life.
Ever since the workshop, we have kept in contact as I follow Ramone around Canberra to many yoga studios. I was lucky enough to experience in 2015 a retreat Ramone hosted in the beautiful country Sri Lanka. This time away was a time to reflect, to reflect on where I had come a year after my separation and on the cusp of the finalisation of my divorce. Like my time in Italy being surrounded by beautiful souls, 10 days was indeed a soul searching experience from within. Part of my healing through my divorce as I always say was learning to reconnect with myself and another retreat away was definitely another time to reconnect and enjoy everything about myself and my life after the changes that had happened. Being guided by Ramone over these days was truly a gift in itself.
I am so grateful and thankful Ramone that you have taken the time to connect with me and share a little about yourself and Wild Sage Wellbeing.
Can you share briefly how Wild Sage Wellbeing became?
Hi Jo! Thanks so much for inviting me to participate in your wonderful website. I’ve loved watching the evolution of you and your business over the last few years and am so proud and happy to see you living your dreams! I think the work you’re doing is so important as break-ups can be one of those significant events that help catalyze change in your life. Thanks Ramone!
Wild Sage Wellbeing started coming to life after finding myself miserable in a job I was poorly suited to, and a relationship I was even less suited to, ended, leaving me contemplating what I really wanted to do with my life to feel fulfilled, content and passionate again. As is often the case, the right people turned up in my life at the right time and I had some excellent support and guidance to explore taking something that had been a pastime for me – yoga, healthy living and travelling - and turning it into a career.
Where and when did yoga teaching start for you?
I feel like I’ve always had a calling to be a teacher of some sort. Maybe I just enjoy telling people what to do? Haha! I’ve always been passionate about both the body and the natural world and have swung between working in the two throughout my hugely varied career, which has taken me all over the world. Since I began working as a personal trainer at 19, lots of my work has included teaching physical skill acquisition in various contexts, from an old-school gym setting (which was not the right scene for me) to white water kayaking (which was way more fun and inspiring!). I’d also been practicing Thai Massage for about 10 years and really enjoyed sharing the art of healing with breath, movement and compassionate direction of energy.
I’ve also felt a responsibility to do something that ‘makes a positive difference’ and before I began teaching yoga this desire was channeled into working in the wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability field. Whilst I was ‘making a difference’ in the sense that I was impacting change at a large scale, the day to day style of work was poorly suited to my personality and my personal sense of satisfaction from what I was doing was pretty low.
I’d been practicing yoga for about 10 years when the same friend who first introduced me to yoga invited me to join her on a yoga teacher training. Neither of us actually made it to the one we planned to do, but I’d made so much noise about becoming a yoga teacher at my local studio that when I eventually didn’t go, they offered to mentor me as a teacher instead! I taught my first class not long after my mentoring began, in an emergency when no other teachers were available and was hooked! I loved the energy, it felt like it was exactly where I was meant to be, and what I was meant to do!
I kept on teaching classes and the mentoring I received was invaluable experience. Eventually I went on to complete a more formal yoga teacher training but before I finished that training I headed off on a business retreat. The work I did on that retreat helped me see how all the very many things I’d done in my various study and stints in customer service, hospitality, outdoor education, physical education, environmental conservation, science, healing, and all of my passions for nature, travel, exploring the human condition, the body-mind-spirit connection and living a healthy, sustainable existence could come together… the result was Wild Sage Wellbeing!
It was such an incredible moment to finally realize that everything that had come before that point – which all seemed so random and unrelated at the time – had led me to have the perfect skill set for what I wanted to do: to help people find deeper connection and understanding of themselves through exploring the world and looking within. I love what I do it’s the best!
Have you always been into yoga?
I started yoga in a loft bedroom in a tiny log cabin in the winter wonderland of Whistler, Canada in 2000. I honestly don’t even remember if I’d even heard of yoga at the time! My room mate told me she wanted to teach me what she learned at yoga class that day so she told me to stand up, face her and make a prayer shape with my hands in front of my chest and close my eyes. Then she said ‘Now you go: OOOOOMMMMMMMM’. I chimed in for about two seconds then opened my eyes, caught her with her eyes open too and we literally ended up rolling around on the floor laughing at ourselves!
It was a pretty hilarious introduction but it must have made an impact as I signed up to classes with her teacher shortly afterwards and since then yoga has been the one constant in a life that has taken me across continents, in and out of relationships, through life ups and downs and I’ve always come back to my practice regardless of changes of careers, addresses or lifestyles.
Yoga taught me how to feel, it gave me a vocabulary of emotions that I never learned growing up and it’s opened incredible doors to my own personal growth. Like many people I began my practice through the physical asana offered in classroom settings in the west, and through that I learned how deeply ‘our issues are in our tissues’. I’ve cried out litres of tears, sweated out decades of toxins and developed both disciplined focus and heartfelt compassion on my mat. I’ve learned that my perceived limits lie often only in my mind and that there’s both beauty and spaciousness to be found in movement; as subtle as the breath or as powerful as a handstand, and possible more importantly, I’ve learned to be comfortable in silence and stillness.
All that I’ve learned and continue to learn through the framework and practice of yoga, helps me be a better person in my daily life, or try to! It’s definitely still a work in progress! But on the whole I’m a whole lot less impatient than I used to be and more kind, understanding and empathetic that I thought possible!
How long have your been doing retreats and where do you go besides Sri Lanka?
I ran my first retreat in collaboration with three other Yoga teacher friends in 2011. We called it ‘The Yoga Big Day Out’ and it’s now in it’s 5th year! I ran my first international retreat in Bali in 2013 and have since run retreats in Sri Lanka, Nepal and locally in Melbourne, Kangaroo Valley and the South Coast of NSW. I’ve got a few dream destinations in mind for the future like the Maldives, Iceland, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and some more remote locations in Australia. For the rest of 2016 I’ve got retreats at Bawley Point NSW, Sri Lanka and right here in Canberra!
Do you have a favourite destination?
I’m not great at picking favourites! But I’ve had amazing times in the last few years of travels in Cuba, Japan, the USA and Canada. Nepal and Sri Lanka have been my retreat highlights of the last couple of years!
What do you hope for your guests on your retreats?
I hope that people who spend time on retreat with me get to know themselves a little better through the experience. That they leave feeling nourished, cared for, like they’ve received exceptional service and value for their investment and that they have learned tools that they can take home and apply in their every day lives to recreate that which they’ve experienced on retreat – that’s the challenging part!
It’s easy to apply all the tools when you don’t have any stress, the challenge comes when you’re faced with the rigours of daily life. It’s then you have the opportunity to choose to react or stay the way you’ve always stayed, or choose to do something differently. The beauty of practicing yoga and meditation is that it trains you to first be observant and then to create a little space between you and you thoughts. This helps create space and often diffuse reactions so that we can then choose mindful action from a place of empathy for another. Sitting might seem simple and like you’re doing nothing but meditation can be a hugely profound way to change your relationship with yourself and therefore change your life. So I hope my guests get an understanding that yoga is much more than ‘being flexible’!
How often do you practice yoga?
I take a little time for both stillness and movement every day. I meditate and move my body in ways that feel good for me each day. You’ll know if I haven’t done both… I’m a much nicer human when I do! In terms of practicing what lots of people might think of as ‘yoga’ – the physical asana or ‘poses’, my practice varies, sometimes I practice daily, sometimes more than a few times a day and at other times my physical practice might be a few times a week. I’m pretty ‘flexible’ in that I often don’t have a very reliable routine so I’m happy to let my body be guided by how it feels and what opportunities are on offer. I might feel like playing outside, lifting weights, practicing yoga in a class with friends or going for a hike, surfing (badly!) rock climbing or doing something I’ve never done before! I’m passionate about showing people that yoga starts in the mind and is much more about your approach to the practice – so you can find your ‘yoga’in any activity, even art, if you choose to pay attention and let yourself be fully in the moment.
Do you have a favourite yoga practice?
It very much depends on my mood. But I am inspired when I’m in the presence of great teachers who are able to artfully weave yogic philosophy throughout a physical exploration of my body that challenges my mind to question what it thinks it’s truly capable of. A well balanced practice for me has space for both challenge and compassion, stillness and movement, fire and grace.
What would you say your life mantra is?
I try to live by the mantra ‘be wild, be wise be well’. To me being wild means getting into nature to reconnect with some of the natural rhythms of the world. It’s deeply important to my sense of self and health to be surrounded by nature – as unmodified by man as possible. I’ve worked as an outdoor educator and studied how wilderness impacts the human psyche and doses of nature are proven to engender a sense of wellbeing, reduce stress, help gain perspective life, get clear on what your values are and generate feelings of compassion towards the planet. I also condone being ‘wild’ in the sense of having playful fun without the need to constantly check in with societal expectations or your diet, your exercise regime or your work commitments - unstructured time and play are things we often lose as adults yet they are such important ingredients to keeping our imaginations fuelled, our hearts light and our connections with others harmonious.
Being wise for me is the practice of cultivating self-knowledge through self-reflection. I’ve used meditation for this for a large part of my life now but I’m still a work in progress. I see this as the place where I live my yoga –off the mat. Being able to do a pretzel pose or stand on my hands does not make me a ‘better’ or more ‘advanced’ yogi. Being a better human being, in charge of my own emotions, reactions, thoughts and physical expression is much more the yoga I try to practice.
Being well for me is a bundle of all of the other aspects that help me feel good and function as the best human I can. This is movement, the fuel I give my body to move, think and create, and cultivating and maintaining healthy relationships. I also feel that being of service is a key element to personal, business and societal health as well.
All of the work I do with 'Wild Sage Wellbeing' is centred on these three pillars. So at all of my retreats you’ll be tucked away somewhere remote and naturally stunning, practicing meditation daily, being given opportunities to reflect on how you interact with yourself and the world around you, moving your body in fun, nourishing and empowering ways and being fuelled to support a healthy body and mind with incredible food – and generally lots of it! I love food!
What’s next for Ramone? Do you have new retreats coming up in 2016/17?
Woohoo! I certainly do. I love to collaborate so I’m teaming up with Active Travel in Braddon and The Adventure Project Canberra to offer some more magical locations for my retreats in 2017. On the cards so far are Mauritius in April, Italy over the European summer and Everest Base Camp in Nepal a little later in the year. For the rest of 2016 I’ve got retreats at Bawley Point NSW, Sri Lanka and right here in Canberra!
What are you most excited about for the year ahead?
It’s great timing to ask this question as I love to re-set my sights and refocus my goals at the mid point of the year, so thanks for the prompting! I’ve been incredibly lucky to have achieved everything I ever set out to do with 'Wild Sage Wellbeing' and a whole host of things I never even dreamed possible too! So for me, I’m excited to use the next 12 months to refocus on what lights me up at this point of my career and learning journey, make some new plans and open up to even more opportunity and possibility! Once I’ve created some clarity around my new direction I’m excited to live out some more dreams and along the way help my clients feel inspired enough to get in touch with themselves to find the clarity, calm and the chutzpah they need to create and chase their own dreams!
Exploring what I have to offer in service to the world is also something I’m going to be reconnecting with. I’ve done some amazing learning and work with Off the Mat, Into the World, a Yoga-based not-for-profit organization that’s focused on using yoga to create positive change. I’d love to find a way to make 'Wild Sage Wellbeing' more than just a yoga and wellbeing experience and more of and agent for transformation and conscious, compassionate action… watch this space!
Lastly, you inspired me during my break-up journey, who or what inspires you?
Planning travel keeps me motivated and inspired. I’m always excited for the next adventure! There are so many incredible places on the planet that I’d love to experience and explore and share with others.
I’ve always felt that with the incredible privilege we’ve been born with comes with the responsibility to use it wisely so I’m inspired by people who get out there and fearlessly share what they’ve got to offer to the world, and in doing so help make the world a better place.
I’m fascinated by how incredibly complex the human existence is. How we can be at the same time, both so fragile, yet also so resilient on the physical, mental and emotional levels. I’m inspired by those people that are working to explore more deeply the ways in which these layers interact to create abundant health and am doing my beset to get myself in front of them so I can keep learning and delivering the best information I can to the people that I work with.
I’m inspired by people who choose to look more deeply than the superficial and who take the time to explore and acknowledge the interconnectedness of life, nature and spirituality. More inquiry like this is vital for creating a sustainable future and I love that there are thought leaders out there inspiring others to look within and take actions in the world to work towards making it a better place.
I may also occasionally be known to be inspired by funny animal videos. Laughter is good for the soul!
I don't know about you, but how could you not be inspired by this beauty!
I am looking forward to the new retreats coming soon. Thanks Ramone.
I am looking forward to the new retreats coming soon. Thanks Ramone.
To find out more about Ramone and her retreats, please check her out at https://wildsagewellbeing.wordpress.com/