thThe benefits of shea butter, something that  Africans have known for thousands of years.

Shea butter has been used to help heal burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, and stretch marks.

It may also help diminish wrinkles by moisturizing the skin, promoting cell renewal, and increasing circulation.

Shea butter also contains cinnamic acid, a substance that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

Shea butter protects the skin from both environmental and free-radical damage. It contains vitamins A and E,

Dilute it with a natural oil like sesame or avocado and blend it in to the skin.



MONICA SHAKA and her yoga practice

DSC_0442Monica a yoga teacher, singer, mother,

Having been to a few other yoga classes, I can say that what is special about your class is that you get us to do a lot of hand stands and postures with our feet up against the wall, could you explain the benefits of this posture?
Inversions have a wide range of benefits, from the obvious strengthening of the arms and upper body, to boosting ones confidence. We reverse the effects of gravity on our circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems whilst changing perspective for a moment ! As children we love doing handstands and hanging upside down. Its fun and it feels good. Doing inversions keeps us young in all ways. It also gives one immense satisfaction, especially if there is an initial fear. Ideally one should do an inversion 10 minutes a day.

For some positions you talk about massaging inner organs this I really felt after your class. Could you tell us more about this.
Our organs are like our motor. If the motor is kept clean, it can function well and for a longer distance. Regular fasting is recommended in order to keep our system clean. Many diseases start in the intestine and stagnation in this area can cause sluggishness, prevent good absorption of nutrients and be a breeding ground for illness. By doing postural twists, we ring out our vital organs. As we release, fresh blood comes rushing through to reoxygenate and nourish the organs hence preventing stagnation.

Could you tell us how and why you became a yoga teacher?
I have been practicing yoga since I was 24 years old, 23 years ago. I initially started yoga for my double scoliosis that was giving me a lot of pain. With the modeling, long days and high heels we had to wear, I would often end the days in excruciating pain and unable to stand. As my practice progressed, I realised the multiple benefits of this discipline and knew that one day, it would be my path. At 42 years old, and after having finally settled with my children in France, I felt ready to pass on the knowledge. I got my certificate and stepped into my path.

After years of teaching what is noticeably different about your life, as a yoga practitioner and as a teacher?
The discipline and constancy that teaching yoga has given me is remarkable. It was hard for me to find the time and discipline to practice every day. Teaching was the only way for me to incorporate this rhythm into my life. Not only would I be passing on the knowledge, but also making my life better. My everyday life has improved drastically, in all areas. The mental strength and clarity yoga gives me is indescribable, let alone the physical benefits. My conscious choices and behaviour have made me a much happier person overall. The strength overcomes the fears, the hesitance, the doubts….most of the time! The progress is continuous.

How would you say that yoga can help with confidence?
Yoga postures have direct benefits on the body and mind. A simple inversion boosts your confidence, and there are many inversions to choose from. Meditation and pranayama help calm the mind, get rid of the clutter and see things more clearly. Lack of confidence comes from negative mind patterns. These can be changed.

Is confidence part of inner beauty? And, if so why?
Definitely. Someone who shines from the inside out is very attractive. Confidence, not to be confused with ego, is inspiring and allows other people to shine as well. When you are connected to your strength, the pure strength and radiance of the Universe (what they call ‘Purusha’), we become channels. We are born with this energy, a baby radiates this beauty and confidence. The problem is that most of us lose it along the way with all the issues that can cover up the ‘Purusha’ inside of us.

Is a strong body, a strong mind?
Absolutely. My sister used to joke with me when I was younger and acted at times very hesitant or unclear. She would say I was acting ‘scoliotic’ ! The spine is our backbone, it leads to and supports our brain. I can personally testify that a strong body is a stronger mind.

Would you say that any body could experience inner radiance through yoga practice?
Yes. If the right intention is there.

You have experienced being a model? Is a bone structure, colouring enough to be beautiful
For certain jobs, like editorial, a good bone structure and colouring might be enough. I mainly did catwalk. I felt that a certain presence was required and appreciated. 

Does inner energy have a role to play in what we project?


Has the experience of modeling helped you in your yoga vocation? If so, how?
I never liked being in the limelight. Modeling definitely helps you get used to that. More than the modeling, I would say that my 20 years working on my singing, taking numerous workshops, courses and giving concerts has helped me learn to take the space I need to take when in front of an audience. This I can apply when teaching yoga. However, I feel as a teacher, I am just channeling the knowledge. It’s as if I enter a different space where I, Monica, doesn’t exist anymore.

I have often heard girls, whom are not in the modeling industry, are made to feel uncomfortable about their physique, I would like them to understand that there is more to it than meets the eye. Is there anything that you could tell them?
I started modeling rather late, when I was 21 years old. I was lucky never to have been aiming to be a model as I had other interests, like singing, so physical beauty was not my main concern. But castings can be rough, and having gorgeous girls around you as well. I would recommend having other main interests to keep the focus away from just your physical aspect. Cultivating your inner self with hobbies and curiosity for all the wonderful things around us. Also, surrounding yourself with real friends to keep you grounded and to have fun. Seeing the bigger picture. It is easy, but extremely unhealthy, to zoom into ourselves, and the industry will want to push you into that very lonely place. Zoom out ! And realise that you are much more than just your physical body.




Youri Zoon is a kite boarding world champion.

Youri’s has his own philosophy. His passion for kite boarding has brought him into a world of wisdom. He always greets you with a huge smile and is fully concentrated, anchored in the present moment. When he isn’t hitting the waves and playing with the winds, he kicks off the day by having a large bowl of muesli and going to the gym. Youri is a natural, he is focused and  in the present moment.





I can’t recommend this book enough. It is an easy read and full of good advice.

Rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom beliefs, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through maintaining these agreements, shamanic teacher and healer don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.”


Means you
are a slave
to thoughts.

No reason to fear,
do not tell your fortune,
the future is not here,
please do not to fear,
try not to be a seer.

It’s only thoughts,
that make you dread.
So leave the future,
you do not live there,

Life is now
So live right now,
and deal with
future moments,
as they come.

No need to agonize,
you’ll find you enjoy
a gift of peace
when you learn
to only live
in present time.



FullSizeRender1/We met in Paris, both of us came from a bi-cultural and artistic background, we were part of a group of friends our main interests were the art world, we all were exploring and the world was our oyster. I was starting my make up career, you were modeling, yet we would spent a lot of time, being creative and looking for sources of inspiration, going to museum, meeting artists etc….You were working for top photographes and magazines, it was clear to me at the time that you were an inspiration for them, not only for your looks but also for your natural understanding of the art world and your ability to embrasse other cultures, atmospheres, your sources of inspirations were countless. You were a beautiful women, but much more than that. Is there anyway that you could explain, what the actual input and presence a model has to give to a photographer or to a stylists to interprete what they are looking for?

I think it is interesting when a model starts to work almost exclusively with one photographer as they seem to start to shared journey together. In my own experience I found that ‘trust’ was a key element within this relationship. It is such a personal thing as you can imagine, to be paid money because of how you look. So this trust you give to the photographer, to share yourself with him or her is quite something when you look at it. What is being asked of you is to give ‘yourself’ to the product or the clothes in a way that is very intimate. I often found it quite terrifying if I am honest! I am sure there are a lot of models who would agree with this description. It is quite an incongruous mix of something which is deeply personal yet at the same time entirely about the commoditisation of the female body. There is a gentleness and a brutality. so like any relationship where these two elements coexist there is a balance one is always trying to strike. I am not sure I always got that one right!

2/Could you give precise exemples of your contribution to a photographe or other art creation?
When I lived in New York I was friends with a few of the big names around at that time in the 80’s. for example Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente. Clemente and I used to have many conversations about people and life and I have an ink drawing he made of me at that time, hanging in my house. a lot of Francescos work was and remains dream like and very sexual yet also about what it is to be human and where that sits in the world of myth and fable.
My particular painting is a portrait where I am sitting with my skirt raised and by arms bent in an embrace. Originally I was meant to have my legs open with no underwear on whilst holding a cat (pussy). I was far too shy to cooperate! So now we have a portrait of ‘ghosts’. nothing between my legs and my arms holding air. Perhaps this was more true. I also have a portrait of myself when I was 18 taken by a young Mario Testino who needed at the time to test his lighting on various friends.

3/ Being beautiful is an asset but it can also create a barrier if only the surface prevails, making the person invisible locked inside a perfect physique. How do you put other facettes of your personnality across, in other words (not just a pretty face)?
It’s interesting what you said about how looks can create a barrier or a prison for a person, which lets not forget might not only be for someone ‘beautiful’, this same prison could exist for someone who is ‘unattractive’. Notice I use inverted commas! I think intelligence is key to what guides the looks of anyone. It would not be original of me to talk about using ones assets positively whatever they may be but I certainly think for me at least intelligence means a degree of creativity in ones life. To be creative is to think outside the box. That box might also be your body or your face. It is vital to develop yourself to work hard and be psychologically rigourous. You need above all to be very honest with yourself and your life and your choices. This is what can liberate you, not just your pretty face!

4/Today you are an artist yourself and how has this experience of modelling helped you in the expression of your art?
I have just finished my training as an Art Psychotherapist so my art has taken a back seat but interestingly apropos this conversation I have in the past drawn heavily on the themes here. Inside/outside is close to my heart. Who we are is both a physical reality and yet it is also deeply rooted in the ‘invisible’ unconscious, the land of dreams and imagination are also quite physical in my view.
I remember my degree show at Chelsea College of Art was a film I made of myself in a suit of armour struggling to stand as I was fascinated by the idea of our human need to protect ourselves and yet that which seeks to protect us can also be our downfall. Again there is this duality which shows our continuous struggle for balance.

5/ I have often heard girl friends who are not in the industry, feel to be made uncomfortable about not having a models physique, I would like them to understand that there is more to it than meet the eye. Is there anything that you could tell them?
There is nothing you can say to anyone who struggles with their physique, looks whatever. Even the most beautiful of models despite being on a podium for her beauty might have a life long struggle to believe that she is so!
I think we are all here to fufill our unique journey and life is about finding out how we can be of service to others then and only then can we discover ourselves, our true self worth. When we can radiate that..well that is what real beauty is!


Ana is now an Art psychotherapist and can be reached at: