**Article extracted from Elephant Journal 6 Lessons Santa Teaches us better than any \’Guru\’




If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~ Bob Hope

Whether Santa is real or not really doesn’t matter, as he has been endowed with some remarkable qualities that we can all learn from. In fact, in many ways, he is better able to show us true spirituality than even the average guru.

1.  He asks us to be good. Which is significant considering many of us so often act selfishly and greedily. By being good he means being kind, being generous, being considerate and thoughtful.

He gives to everyone, whoever and wherever they are, all at pretty much the same time. And he does it without asking for anything in return (except for the odd glass of milk and cookies). This indicates he has a truly generous heart, one that takes great joy in giving without needing to receive. Which is a very important lesson, as giving with no expectation of getting is the quickest route to happiness. Through giving to others, a la Santa, we get away from selfishness and neediness.

2. Yet he does not give blindly. Rather he considers what is the most appropriate gift for each. This shows great discernment. Too often we give without thinking (like giving candy to a starving child when what they need is food), so here Santa shows us how giving needs wisdom in order to be of most benefit.

3. He listens to our requests and reads our letters. Meaning that he takes the time to hear and pay attention, which we could all do a lot more of. How often do we really listen to someone without judging them, or without imposing our own thoughts on them or telling them what we think is right for them?

4. He has great psychic powers: flies in the sky with reindeer, descends chimneys without getting covered in soot, goes by many names and forms, and is extraordinarily elusive. Has anyone actually ever seen him? The lesson here is that we can all do more than we think we can, and we don’t need to be applauded. We can practice random acts of kindness quietly, simply, without bringing attention to ourselves.

5. He’s filled with joy and lifts our spirits at the darkest time. And we can do the same for each other. No need to spread doom and gloom, no need to focus on what is wrong with ourselves or the world. By focusing on what is good we not only bring a lightness of spirit to others, but we also get to feel a lot better too.

6. He knows where we live. In other words, he is inside every one of us. Santa is our true, authentic self that is there when we can let go of our ego-centered needs.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill

Happy Holidays and Happy Giving! (written by Ed & Deb Shapiro)


This coming winter I will be teaching in various locations around London.

I am also available for privates, retreats, private classes & private retreats. For any inquiries please email info@michellebartoloyoga.com

Stay tuned for class schedule

My article published in Elephant Journal/Oct 2012

How Yoga Awakened the Teacher in Me

Sharing my battle from escapism to truth: the naked truth

After leafing through so many yoga teachers’ bios, it dawned on me that where they’ve been and who they’ve trained with served little purpose. Those teachers who actually got down to the nitty gritty about how yoga stepped into their lives, what lead them there, is what really resonated with me…

My parents both passed away when I was seven; it was traumatic and it wasn’t an accident. My father was very mentally unwell all of his life and one day decided he couldn’t live with or without my mother. A tragic love story.

For years I’d thought it was just a bad dream; every morning I’d wake up and think they would be there. I learned at a young age that nothing is forever.

Kids at school were asking lots of questions. The truth was just too intense to share, so I fed them lots of lies. This ‘lying’ continued throughout my life because the real story was too intense. I also found the more I talked about it the more it took me back to that time and it wasn’t really a place I wanted to go back to.

 So I buried it.

For years after their death I felt like I was walking around in a bubble; it just felt so surreal that they weren’t around anymore. My brother was 18 at the time and became my legal guardian; a huge responsibility for someone so young but he was amazing. Funnily enough I think my childhood was more privileged than my siblings’; I had much more freedom with such a young caregiver, and in the first few years there was more peace in our home.

I also had a strong sense for others who were suffering; I always was and still am referred to as the ‘sensitive’ one in the family. This empathy gave me the desire to want to help others in my later years, which though I didn’t realize at the time, helped me too.

So from a young age I learned that everything can be gone in just a ‘snap!’ I embraced the idea of ‘live everyday as if it were your last’ with a vengeance. I tended to spend time with those who felt good to be around as much as possible— just in case it would all be over tomorrow. That can be a little overwheming for some people.

I learned to forgive fast and fell head over heels in love often and still do! Then I find I’m over it all even faster.

I wanted to experience everything I could. Some antics were healthy; others not so much.

I was living on my own at a young age attending University but also working in Toronto’s downtown bar scene. It was there that I was introduced to a lot of the ‘underground’ parties. Initially I felt free from years of buried questions and emotions. Then later on it became a form of escapism. I felt like a victim; an attitude which gets you nowhere but down.

I landed in the world of drugs and alcohol and everything came up; I was like a volcano spewing out all that lava, and it felt great! I had a new found freedom—I indulged more to let out more. I danced, wrote, painted, it was endless. (N.B. In my familia we were raised to keep our ‘voice’ hushed. Bury everything—the good ol’ Catholic way *cringe*).

It felt like all of these antics were helping me to unearth everything I had buried deep down, but not in a progressive way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting taking drugs. There are healthier ways to ‘open up’. This was just the path that I chose to take. Every Up has it’s Down.

Be it right or wrong, good or bad I can see the benefit of it all, as well as the downslide. Certainly this lifestyle isn’t one you can live for long without some repercussions.

Fast forward to my 30th birthday. Wham bam! I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. I found myself wondering where I was going in life; I had no direction, no answers and it terrified me! So I stopped everything all at once: bye bye drugs & alcohol, so long nightclubs and parties.


My body went into shock; all of a sudden I wasn’t feeding my body what it was used to getting. I fell into a deep depression for six months; it was the scariest place I’ve ever been. I often pondered ending my life and would hope for my mattress to just swallow me up. I  would imagine standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing I wouldn’t have the courage to jump, but also knowing that if someone was willing to push me, I would consider it.

Initially the doctor put me on antidepressants which just made everything feel worse; I felt foggier and just dreadful. I was in such a deep dark hole that for months I couldn’t see even a twinkle of light. I knew I couldn’t take these pills any longer. I remember secretly flushing them down the toilet—I would not let them be the end of me.

Then I found a natural healer and this was the beginning of my journey to healing. It was through natural therapies that she began to try and unblock me—and she said I had many blockages. I remember her punching me hard in the chest just to get some reaction out of me, I was completely numb. She did su jok on certain pressure points, acupuncture and reiki; they were helping a bit, but not enough. At this stage, chocolate made me feel the best; it became my new addiction, hence gaining ten kilos and feeling even more crappy about myself…

But it was all part of the ride.

So a friend suggested trying yoga. I was always into fitness, but yoga? Whateverrrrrr. I thought it was a lame excuse for doing exercise. I was thee biggest yoga skeptic. All the same I decided to give it a go. Once I found my teacher there was no turning back. It really did help me let go of everything that was wrong for me. It taught me a gradual process to healing. I learned to let go of things one at a time instead of kicking it all out in one go.

I even remember going into a few morning yoga classes after heavy nights of partying. My teacher was open enough to know what I needed. I felt so horrible during class. Dizzy, nauseous and then light as a feather afterward. So much so that I didn’t want to go partying on the nights before yoga so I could get higher in class, naturally.

It helped me connect with feelings that I had buried deep down and long ago in a safe way, through awareness. I started journaling again.

Yoga became my new thing. I hit as many classes as I could. My diet started getting healthier and I was more gentle with my body & mind. I started losing weight and feeling great! It really happened so much faster than any other type of healing I’d tried. My body & mind responded so quickly to it. I stopped smoking cigarettes and marijuana.

Then I travelled and bumped into old friends with old habits; I caved.

Yoga was still in my life but I got back into smoking marijuana and hashish on a daily basis. I was chronic. I’d wake to a joint for breakfast and smoke them like cigarettes throughout the day. I always believed I would never quit; I didn’t want to. I couldn’t imagine hanging out with people who didn’t smoke.

Gradually over the years, it came to a point where the more yoga I did the less I smoked. I met different people who didn’t smoke and that made it an easier transition. It all happened so naturally, where at one stage I was smoking chronically, then once per week, then once per month, then perhaps once every 6 months. Then none. This was a four year transition.

Yoga taught me that it is completely natural to have your ‘setbacks’ and to not get hung up on them. I got back on the right track. What’s the other option..giving up?

The time had finally come for me to let go completely. Not feeling the need for anything ( but yoga) was one of the most freeing feelings ever!

So this is how yoga came into my life and how it has helped me. It awakened the teacher in me. It’s made me want to pass yoga on soooo badly to others, but I hold back cause I remember how much I despised having anything pushed on me. I hope that perhaps this will help any of you with similar issues.

Peace: the ongoing journey within.


In collaboration with the global event PEACE ONE DAY we will be representing Malta by Yoga-ing at Sunrise, Struttin our Stuff at Sunset  & closing with a Singing Bowl Meditation by Krista Sullivan.

Peace one day is a global gathering to spread peace…


Friday September 21st

6.30-7.30am Sunrise Yoga (Sliema, exact location to be announced soon)

6.30pm Strut Your Stuff

*this will be a united dance/walk (baby!) along the Sliema front, the tunes will be provided. It kinda works like a flash mob with uncordinated moves, you move to your own STRUT ;))

7.30pm Singing Bowl Meditation with Krista Sullivan

*between Exiles & Surfside

‘Over the last 10 years, PEACE DAY has been proved as an opportunity for life-saving activities and action by individuals worldwide. For Peace Day on Friday Septemeber 21st 2012 PEACE ONE DAY is calling for and working towards a day of ceasefire and non-violence- the Global Truce 2012 campaign. We hope this will be the largest global reduction of violence ever recorded on one day- and the largest ever gathering of individuals in the name of peace’

Follow this link for more info  PEACE ONE DAY

Peace One Day Website

Here is the founder giving a motivitating chat

World Peace Day

Peace Out!

Thanks to all of you who joined in on Saluting the Sun and the rising Blue Moon . It was so breathtaking with all the elements of nature surrounding us. The sounds of the waves crashing against the shore, the beautiful hues of reds and pinks as the sun dipped down below the sea. We thanked it for another given day, another day of light, warmth, energy and nutrition.

Then, in all her glory, the Blue Moon crept up from behind the clay slopes to beam us up!

Bow to you We Do

Tonight (Aug 31st) it is highly recommended to make your ‘wish’ list, create your manifestations on the Blue Moon. I wish I may, I wish I might, wish upon that moon tonight!


The Search.

(for the Yoga teacher and class that most suits you)


The world of Yoga can be mighty confusing initially.

There are soooo many different types of classes held in multitudes of different environments, along side choosing the teacher that most resonates with you  ~ whew! It can be a task that’s daunting even before you’ve found it!

Kind of like most relationships 😉 But the ones we find that work pretty effortlessly are incredibly gratifying.

We strive in a world of wanting individuality , so it’s pretty important you find the class and teacher that leads you to this (and relationships!)

Research the types of Yoga available. Yoga is a pretty important practice so choose it as wisely and with as many questions as you would present your real estate agent or your car dealer.  Then take it for a test drive before you decide. See what ‘clicks’ with you.  Listen to what your body/mind says ‘YES!’ to.

You may end up going through so many teachers and classes before you find what really works for you.

Then that may change…

As you change your needs and wants also change, the teacher you were once really happy with may not ‘do’ it for you any longer, get back on that path and find another. Getting ‘stuck’ is exactly what you don’t want to do.

Yoga teaches us fluidity

Keep flowing.

Do listen to that inner voice.

I’ve been in many classes myself where everything about the class did not resonate with me. I’ve had to stop myself from just walking out of the class which is a big thumbs down in the Yoga world (mercy forgive that you may offend your ego-less Yoga teacher!)

Personally, in my classes I would rather a student leave the room silently if they are finding the class is not for them instead of going through something that just isn’t suiting them or their needs. Unless there is a resistance to something other?

Remember: Class is for you. To meet you where you’re at. If a teacher’s ego is dented by that, it’s not your problem.

May the force be with you 😉




Yes, yes I know .. it sounds a wee bit touché BUT manners never go a miss no matter where or what you’re doing, these are based on common sense and courtesy and will help everyone’s Yoga experience be more comfortable.

*Turn your mobile phones OFF please.

Mobiles should  not to be placed next to your mat, but left in the back of class in your bag.  Make it a habit to switch your phone off as soon as you enter class to avoid distracting the rest of the class.

* Please be punctual

If you are running late and the door is not yet locked please come in without a peep and choose a spot at the back of the class. Quietly unfold your mat, try and test yourself to come in unnoticed. NO RUNNING no matter what. Be respectful and aware of the other people around you ..always!

*Walk in and drop your day off at the door.  Meet yourself on your mat, I now have a SILENCE POLICY, which means no talking before/during or after class unless it is a queiry regarding Yoga.  Yoga is about connecting your mind & body, notice how you feel after class. Yoga class is not time for socialising, we can do that after class over dinner or a drink in any case 😉

* If you come across an empty mat on the floor it has been placed there for someone else. Please choose your own mat and another spot.

* Allow Space

When you choose your spot in class be sure that you haven’t gone too close to someone else who was there before you. Respect one’s space (grazzi)

*PLEASE do not throw things ie socks, across someones face during class (yes, it’s happened!)

*Walk AROUND other people’s mats, not on them (please)

*Conversation is a no go during class, keep your focus inwards. As soon as you speak to someone else you’ve taken them to the outside, not what we wanna do in Yoga.  Try not to distract another student to ask them something. Watch and Listen to your Teacher. (pour  favor)

* Smile ALOT & LAUGH *Seriousness causes Stiffness  😉 (keeping it light and silent in meditation, why of course)

* IF during meditation you have to move, please do so slowly and as quietly as possible so as not to disturb anyone else. Make your movements part of your meditation (gracias)

* Yoga is a DISCIPLINE, practice AWARENESS.



We can all enjoy being in one’s company if we always consider the others around us.

Peace from Thee Knees


Free for y’all Sunset Yoga Session

Thursday August 30th @ Ghajn Tuffieha (find us on the sand)


*Please bring a mat/towel along with your lovely self 🙂

Greetings to all my Malta peeps..

The Yoga Intensives will be put on hold until further notice!


Have a sizzlin summer 😉




This coming Summer  from July 10th – 14th I am ELATED to announce  some priceless workshops from  a great teacher, Simon Borg Olivier. Simon is from Sydney, Australia and has Maltese origins.

Simon’s bio speaks for itself….

Simon Borg-Olivier is a director of YogaSynergy, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected yoga schools. Simon has been teaching since 1982 and is a registered physiotherapist, University lecturer and keynote speaker at international conferences.

Simon was introduced to yoga at age six, learning breath retentions from his father and the main bandhas (internal locks) from Basil Brown, an Olympic athlete. At age 17, Simon studied with a Tibetan Lama who introduced him to tantric yoga. In 1980, Simon began the postures of hatha yoga and eventually learned with BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and TKV Desikachar.

Simon met his main teacher Natanaga Zhander (Shandor Remete) in 1985 and studied with him for almost two decades. To this day, Zhander remains an inspiration and mentor to Simon.

Simon studied and taught at Sydney University over a 20 year period. He completed a Bachelor of Science in human biology, a Master of Science in molecular biology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy. In 1988, Simon met physiotherapist and yoga teacher Bianca Machliss. Over the last 20 years, Simon and Bianca have developed the unique YogaSynergy system.

Simon has contributed chapters to several technical books including ‘An Introduction to Complementary Medicine’ (2005), edited by Terry Robson and ‘Integrative Medicine Perspectives’ (2007), edited by Professor Marc Cohen. He regularly contributes to ‘Australian Yoga Life Magazine’, ‘Well Being Magazine’, ‘Australian Natural Health Magazine’, Art of Healing Magazine’ and several Russian Yoga Journals.

Simon is regularly invited to speak on radio and has had numerous television appearances. He has also been invited to be a guest speaker at numerous conventions and conferences across a range of industries, including yoga and Ayurveda, pilates, fitness and physiotherapy.

Simon is a highly sought after yoga teacher trainer and is an invited lecturer on many major training courses both in Australia and internationally. He specialises in the Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga. He has trained teachers at the YTAA, IYTA, Sydney Yoga Centre, Yoga Arts, InspyaYoga, ‘Vibrant Living Yoga Teacher Training’ (Bali), Yoga Jaya (Japan) and others.

Simon is the main lecturer of the ‘Integrative Applied Eastern Anatomy and Physiology’ course that is part of two internationally recognised degrees – the Bachelor of Wellness and the Master of Wellness, RMIT.

Simon teaches about 10 classes a week and gives private consultations. He teaches special workshops and conferences 20 to 30 times a year. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Vitoria, and their children, Amaliah and Eric

Simon will be offering a whole week of workshops which will help you deepen your current practice. This is such a TREAT!!!

Each workshop will run for 3hrs.

These workshops are ideal for teachers and/or those of you seeking to deepen your knowledge &  practice.

The workshops will be hosted at The Palms, a secluded peaceful setting which is walled in like a mini medina, surroundings include lovely gardens and tennis courts. It is located in  Ta Giorni, Malta, which is close to St Julians.

Click here for the google map to The Palms.


There is plenty of space on the grounds outdoors for us to host these workshops under the blue sky and warm sun. We also have an indoor space available, this will work weather permitting.

The workshop week will run from Tuesday July 10- Saturday July 14th (both days inclusive)

Workshop times: 7.30am – 10.30am (beat the heat)

Workshop Description:

Each workshop will be in succession. It is ideal to be able to come to all of them but if this is not possible feel free to choose which workshop(s) are most important to you.

**PLEASE NOTE it is mandatory that you have attended at least 1 workshop in the week to be able to attend the final workshop on Saturday July 14th.

Workshop 1/Tuesday July 10th

Selecting the Spine

*developing energy and flexibility with core strength

*learning how to make your life a graceful dance and rid yourself of back pain

Workshop /Wednesday July 11th

* Get Leggy

*developing external power and internal health

*how to make your life easy and pain free

Workshop 3/Thursday July 12th

* Arms Abound

*developing internal power with strong heart and lungs

*learning to make your life fun and practical

Workshop 4/Friday July 13th

* Boundless Breath

*moving energy and information through your body

*how to comfortably breathe less, sleep less and choose to eat less

Workshop 5/Saturday July 14th

* Master Mind

*developing dynamic meditation and static meditation

*learn how to control your emotions



EARLY BIRD BOOKING until 15th of May 2012

Single workshop: €55
[paypal type=”add” amount=”55″ productname=”EARLY BIRD – SINGLE WORKSHOP” sku=”EARLYBIRD-single workshop” ]
5 x Workshops – WEEK €260
[paypal type=”add” amount=”260″ productname=”EARLY BIRD – 5workshop week” sku=”EARLYBIRD-5xworkshop week” ]

REGULAR FEE:  16th May – July 10th 2012

Single workshop: €65
[paypal type=”add” amount=”65″ productname=”Regular – SINGLE WORKSHOP” sku=”Regular-single workshop” ]
5 x Workshops – WEEK €285
[paypal type=”add” amount=”285″ productname=”Regular – 5workshop week” sku=”Regular-5xworkshop week” ]
Amount is to be paid in full to secure booking.

The Kempinski Hotel Gozo offers Special Discounts Deals

Superior country view double room at Eur 135 per night including taxes, breakfast

Deluxe pool view single room at Eur 135 per night including taxes, breakfast

Deluxe pool view double room at Eur 160 per night including taxes, breakfast

All above rates with payment upon check-out and 48 hours cancellation

policy prior to booked arrival date.


Listen to Simon here by clicking on the link below

All About Simon Borg Olivier

* Please book asap by writing to info@michellebartoloyoga.com

Accomodation Suggestions

*The Kepinski Hotel



Tel: +356 22110000

*Baron Group Homes/Gozo



*Gozo Village Holidays


*Frank Salt/Gozo