24 Aug 2015

FIVE WAYS TO SAVOUR THE FLEETING DAYS OF SUMMER



I love summer. You love summer.... We all love summer! 

But like all good things, it too must come to an end. The four seasons are temporary and eternal at the same time. They remind us of the truth of life, as Buddha so concisely put it, that everything changes.

The extremes of summer and winter, along with the transitions in between, is part of what makes the prairies feel like home. And while the summer's end is in sight, and the transition to shorter, cooler days has begun, there are still ways that you can make the most of the fleeting days of summer.

Here are five suggestions from your friends at Prairie Yogi:

TAKE A WALK

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There is just something about walking that is beneficial for the body and mind, perhaps it's the act of mindfully moving forward. Combine that with time outdoors and fresh air, and now you have a free, accessible way to feel good and get outside.

In these final weeks of warm weather, find ways to incorporate more walking into your life. About to drive to the grocery store to pick up a few things? Why not walk instead. Meeting with a colleague or co-worker? Take it outside for a walking meeting, à la Steve Jobs. Feeling full and lethargic after a big family dinner? Walk it off. Get everyone involved and enjoy a sunset stroll together. Wherever you're walking, leave your smart phone behind, you'll be better equipped to enjoy the smells, sights, and sounds of nature without it.

EAT LUNCH OUTSIDE


As much as you'd like to take these next two weeks off work to simply bask in the sunshine, it isn't always feasible. But just because you have to work Monday - Friday doesn't mean you can't enjoy the final weeks of the summer sunshine. Make the most of what you've got, your lunch hour, by taking it outside. Weather you're brown-bagging, mason-jarring, food-truckin' or dining out, take it outside to break up your day with fresh air and warm rays. Even if you've only got 10 minutes, get outside. You have all of winter to stay cooped up in your cubicle.

You even can take it a step further and take advantage of the free lunchtime yoga classes at Memorial + Millennium Library Parks. There may only be a few classes that remain, but there is still time to enjoy free fitness in the park thanks to the Downtown Winnipeg Biz.

FROLIC IN BEAUTIFUL GARDENS + GREEN SPACES


There are so many beautiful green-spaces across the city (even if you aren't in Winnipeg, I can confidently say after our summer road-trip across the prairies, that prairie cities have some pretty wonderful outdoor spaces) why not set aside the time to discover them? Make a date with yourself, your main squeeze, or your partner in crime to wander around a beautiful garden, park, or green space. Bring your camera with you and experiment with photography. You can use these photos in a few months for #tbt when you're frozen and missing summer.

Our final event of the summer, the PY Goddess Garden Party in the Formal Gardens at Assiniboine Park this Thursday will be a great way to enjoy an evening with friends in a majestic green-space. Savour your favourite summer flavours: sunset salutations, sweet live music, and wholesome bites + iced ambrosias treats by Two WHOLE gales . Limited tickets are still available, get yours here!


BREATHE DEEPLY

While rushing through day-to-day tasks, it can feel like the final moments of summer are slipping away from you, while in reality, they aren't slipping away at all... You're living them. In the moments when you feel sad or anxious about the transition ahead, or even while enjoying one of the sweet summer moments (that now have taken on a bitter-sweet feeling as it all comes to an end): close your eyes. Take a deep breath. You are alive. Right now. To enjoy this very moment. Inhale gratitude for this moment, and on your exhale release any anxiety, negativity or stress with your breath. Repeat.

If you can take these deep breaths of gratitude for summer outside, wonderful. Connecting with nature is good for the soul. But these breathing exercises are just as effective when you're stuck inside, too. Here you can still feel gratitude for the ability to wear your favourite summer outfit and footwear that lets you see your toes.

FEEL THE LOVE







On Saturday September 12th + Sunday September 13th, we've created an experience where you can soak in all the wonderful things that summer brings. Take a walk, eat outside, frolic in nature, breathe deeply and feel the love at Prairie Love Festival at FortWhyte Alive.

Tickets are still available to participate in the various yoga, meditation, and creative workshops that the festival has to offer. If a festival pass is out of your budget, you can still feel the love - the park is open to the public and free to attend that day for those who want to enjoy the free events, vendor village, music, and entertainment happening throughout the park all day. So bring a friend, pack a picnic, and feel the warmth of prairie love, before it's time to bundle up.

1 Aug 2015

CONTEST TIME - WIN A PASS TO THE SWEETEST SATURDAY IN THE PRAIRIES!

#PrairieLoveFestival, #PrairieLove2015, ONline Contest, Prairie Love Festival, The Sweetest Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Mark Phinney, last years' #PrairieLoveFestival contest winner.
I'm not sure if you've noticed, but over here at PY, we've got a pretty big soft spot for the place we call h'OM. We love the prairies and hope to spread that love far and wide across the continent through sharing the stories of our community and creating epic experiences for you guys.

Summer-time is such a great time to fall in love with prairies. Salutations in the sunshine, lake life, summer festivals, and roadtrips off into endless horizons, are some of the ways we like to enjoy our homeland over the summer months... 

How about you? We want to see how you're loving the prairie life this summer! Share your photos that express your prairie love, and we'll give you a chance to win The Sweetest Saturday at Prairie Love Festival

Sound good? Good. Entering is easy-peasy:
- Be sure to follow @prairieyogi + @prairielovefestival on your favourite social platform 
- Post a photo on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter that expresses your prairie love.
- Tag @prairielovefestival
- Use #prairielove2015 in the caption
- Repost the photo above an extra chance to WIN!


We will be giving away 1 The Sweetest Saturday pass to Prairie Love Festival every friday until September 4th! That's 5 chances to win!

29 Jul 2015

Rise + SHINE: 12 Morning Rituals to kickstart your day

Morning rituals, Rise and shine, rachel taylor, casey nolin photography, yoga girl, ayurvedic tips, prairie yogi
"Every morning marks a new page in your story, a new beginning, a new opportunity."

As the sun rises on the another day, you have the opportunity to rise with it and shine... Or not. Your morning should be sacred, not rushed. Within this space is your chance to prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for the day ahead.

These rituals that can be incorporated into your morning, setting yourself up to shine throughout your day. Completing all twelve of these rituals may not feasible every morning, so choose 3 - 5 that you can commit to, and create a weekday routine for yourself. As the days and weeks pass, you will begin to notice an improvement in your productivity, your outlook, and your overall life.

Rise at least 2 hours before you have anywhere to be.

First and foremost... You've gotta get out of bed! The time you wake up literally sets you you for the day ahead, determining how many waking hours you'll have to enjoy the gift that is today. The time you rise affects your mood as well, dictation whether you'll be rushed, frantic, and frazzled, or calm, ready, and awake to step into your role for the day. Start work at 9? Wake up at 6:45, giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for your day.

Sound hard? Some tips to stick to it: set your alarm, and when it goes off - get up. Do not hit snooze. Do not repeat. The hardest part of getting up early is getting out of bed, and it doesn't get any easier the later it gets.


Hydrate

Your body is naturally dehydrated after 6-8 hours of unconscious resting. Start your morning with some serious hydration. Forcing yourself to drink a big glass of room temperature water is good way to get a jump start on the 2 litres of water you should be consuming each day.

Up for a hydration challenge? Challenge yourself to drink one litre of water BEFORE you get to work in the morning .

Move It!

A wonderful way to wake up is to get your body moving. Whether it's a 20 minute yoga video, a 5k run, or 10 bedside jumping jacks, movement wakes up your physical body, and clears any mental cobwebs before starting your day.

Looking for a great 20 minute yoga video to do at home in the mornings? I recommend investing in Rachel Brathen's video series for a variety of sweet morning practices that get you moving.

Meditate


Morning rituals, Rise and shine, rachel taylor, casey nolin photography, yoga girl, ayurvedic tips, prairie yogiEveryone can practice this simple meditation, and the benefits of this practice are aplenty. Find a place to sit, preferably somewhere calm + clutter free. You can prop your sits-bones up on a folded blanket. Take ten full breaths. Follow your breath with your awareness, notice the temperature of the air as you inhale + exhale, feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. The idea of meditating can be intimidating, but it's really just mindful breathing, which we can all do for at least a few minutes each morning. Morning meditations calm the mind and help keep you focused throughout your day. Long term effects of daily meditation are scientifically proven and offer health to your body, mind, and spirit.

Start with 3 minutes the first week, adding an extra minute each week until you're up to ten or fifteen minutes. Set a timer and stick to it. Even it if it feels like nothing is happening or your mind is racing during this time, keep still, keep breathing, and trust in the process.

Nature appreciation

Morning rituals, Rise and shine, rachel taylor, casey nolin photography, yoga girl, ayurvedic tips, prairie yogi
Take a moment or two to connect with nature, in the stillness and beauty of the morning. Take a look out the window and simply observe nature in all its majesty. Enjoy your morning tea beneath the tree in your backyard. Take a moment to look up at the sky on your way to the bus stop. Inhale a deep breath in this moment and feel gratitude for the simple things: the air, trees, the grass, the wind... Taking a moment to appreciate nature is its own little meditative moment, and can help you be more present, grateful, and calm throughout the rest of your day.

A simple nature meditation: have a seat in nature and look around. Pick something around you and draw your focus to it. Silently ask it "what is your secret?" and listen intently. 

Take Sparky for a walk

We can learn a lot from our pets. Like if they don't get their morning walk, they go a little stir crazy and accidents are more likely to happen. Whether it's just around the block or to the park, your fur baby and your body will thank you for the movement and fresh air.

This practice is also an efficient way to incorporate movement and nature appreciation into your morning. Three birds with one stone.


Lemon water

According to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga,  a cup of warm water with the juice from half of a fresh lemon (organic, if possible) first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, cleanses the digestive tract and detoxes the body. The sour taste kindles the digestive fire and sets the body up for good digestion and metabolism for the rest of your day.

Tip: Add a little bit of organic, local honey to your lemon water for a touch of sweetness.

Nourish yourself

Breakfast has a longstanding reputation for being the most important meal of the day, and with good reason. A healthy first meal fuels your body with essential nutrients, and eating breakfast has been proven to improve cognitive function throughout the day.  And with many temptations to consume less-than-healthy meals at lunch and dinner, you'll take piece of mind in knowing your breakfast choice was a healthy one.

Ayurvedic counsellor Adrienne Shum recommends eating the some thing for breakfast every morning, getting into a healthy routine that sets your body up for success each and every day. My personal choice for oatmeal with fresh berries, honey, and hemp hearts.

Green smoothie

While you're making your breakfast, it only takes a few extra minutes in the kitchen to whip up a tasty green smoothie to take with you (aren't you happy you woke up early?!) Use whatever fresh or frozen fruit you like/have on hand, throw it into the blender with a handful of spinach or kale and pour into a mason jar. Voilà! Your morning snack is ready (store in the fridge at work to keep it cold and yummy until you're ready for a smoothie break,)

Smoothie tip: a smoothie with a drinkable texture, requires liquid in the mix. Use homemade iced green or white tea (I like to make a big batch of this on Sunday for the week) to add a little bit of flavour + nutrition without adding any extra sugar or calories.

Coffee

As the ancient yogis said: no coffee = no prana. The coffee debate continues as to whether or not it is a healthy choice, but my personal stance is - if you enjoy it, go for it. Don't overdo it with an excess of sugar and cream (except on Sundays for a special treat,) and enjoy in moderation. My personal limit is one cup a day, and I like to enjoy it after my lemon water, 1 litre of water, and eating a nourishing breakfast.

Instead of seeing your morning coffee as a 'need' that you consume mindlessly on your drive to work, make your morning coffee a sacred ritual, one that you take the time to enjoy and sip leisurely.


Connect with your partner

Remember, mornings are a sacred space to set your intentions for the rest of the day.  Practical intentions, like being productive and focused, or accomplishing goals, are great... Don't forget about love. Take a moment to create a space to look each your partner in the eye, give a genuine complement, or send a sweet "good morning" text.

My partner and I shower together almost every weekday and then eat breakfast together. In this space, we laugh, connect, and prepare for the day ahead by sharing our respective goals and to-dos for the day.

Set your goals

Before you leave the house, set 5 "little wins" for the day, in order of priority. They can be personal or professional tasks for the day, but no more and no less than five. Keep this list with you and as tasks come up that aren't on the list, bring yourself back to your list throughout the day to ensure you get at least 3-4 of them complete. This helps to reduce the amount of busy-work or social media surfing you do throughout the day and will make your day more productive by keeping you on task for the things that matter.

Tip: use these "little wins" as an opportunity to work towards a bigger goal or vision.

The Dark Side of Yoga, Path to being enlightened, 30 day challenge, yoga girl, bliss yoga cayman, prairie yogi, Rachelle Taylor, Pantel Photography,
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy sprit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty, and bliss only to return home to Winnipeg where she co-founded Prairie Yogi Inc + Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for creativity, yoga, and community. 

13 Jul 2015

Summer Salutations - complimentary/karma yoga classes in MB

Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer
Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer
photos by Jenn Crebas photograhy
Summertime in the prairies is all about savouring: the flavours, the sunshine, the moment. But making the most of each moment doesn't have to break the bank. We know you want to save your $$ for some new threadsepic celebrations, and summer roadtrips, so we've created this guide to help you have it all, without losing your connection to your practice and your community.

The classes listed below are outdoor yoga classes that are either complimentary or karma (donation based) classes and are suited for all levels. This list is always evolving (have an event you'd like to add to this - email us!) so check back throughout the summer for new opportunities to flow for free. :)

Winnipeg

MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY LUNCH-HOUR

Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer
Donation based classes presented by Yoga Public + the Downtown Winnipeg Biz
Mondays @Memorial Park // noon - 12:45 
Wednesdays @ Millenium Library // noon - 12:45
Fridays @ Memorial Park // noon - 12:45

THURSDAY EVENINGS

Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer
Complimentary, beginner-friendly classes presented by lululemon athletica Winnipeg
Thursdays @ Memorial Park // 6 - 7pm

Grand Beach

SATURDAY MORNINGS

Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer
Complimentary yoga classes presented by lululemon athletica Polo Park
Saturday morning  Grand Beach // 9 - 10am
Meet at Parking lot #1 
Classes run until September 5th

St Norbert

EVERY 2nd SATURDAY MORNING

Free summer yoga, karma yoga, yoga winnipeg, yoga manitoba, complimentary yoga, winnipeg guide to summer

Donation based classes presented by Prairie Yogi Inc, benefitting the Green Action Centre
Saturday, July 25th @ St Norbert Farmers' Market Stage // 9:30 - 10:30am  (Led by Samantha Squire)
Saturday, August 8th @ St Norbert Farmers' Market Stage // 9:30 - 10:30am  (Led by Nikki Zajac)
Saturday, August 22nd @ St Norbert Farmers' Market Stage // 9:30 - 10:30am  (led by Rachelle Taylor)
Everyone who donatates to our charity will receive an entry to WIN a Very Prairie Weekend Pass for Prairie Love Festival.

9 Jul 2015

THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG


Clancy Sullivan, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Yamas, Niyamas, Yoga Sutras, Tip of the Iceburg, Yoga Festival, yoga festival canada,
Words by Clancy Sullivan
I remember the first time I heard about the yamas and niyamas. They were essentially described to me as the 'dos and don'ts of yoga'.

Clancy Sullivan, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Yamas, Niyamas, Yoga Sutras, Tip of the Iceburg, Yoga Festival, yoga festival canada, "Uh-huh, yeah I got this," I thought to myself as I listened to how we're supposed to be kind and honest and all that good stuff. Of COURSE I'm not supposed to steal. Sure, lying is bad. Yeah, being clean makes good, common sense. I listened. Nodded appreciatively. Gave myself a mental pat on the back for already being AMAZING at the yamas and niyamas and then went along my merry way.

Yes, from time to time I would create a theme for a class based around one of these 'rules' but other than that I didn't think of them too often. It wasn't until I was asked a couple of years ago to check in at the end of every day with how I did with the yamas and niyamas. It was then that I began to understand them more. 

I'm not quite sure if it was because of this check-in or because I'd started to find more maturity in my practice (and let's face it, in my life) but as I continued to check in, as I continued to delve deeper into the world of the first limb of yoga, I started to realize "whoa guys, the yamas and niyamas are actually MIND-BLOWING." I believe I actually uttered those words the last time I lead a workshop on them. AND PEOPLE AGREED. Yes, the yamas and niyamas are actually mind-blowing and can bring a whole new layer to our yoga practice. 

It's funny that of the eight limbs of Patanjali's yoga the Yamas and Niyamas are listed first and yet they are the ones that are glazed over so quickly. These guidelines are not only there for when we're on our mat practicing. When we bring them into our day to day lives they can actually bring a lot of clarity to what is holding us back. The yamas and niyamas shed light on where we may be coasting or resisting or falling into bad habits. The yamas and niyamas can teach us how to better communicate and connect with the people around us. Basically the yamas and niyamas can teach us how to be better people. I don't want to be too dramatic here, but I actually believe they can help us move from simply existing to actually LIVING.

So no, I'm not going to list them out for you here. You're going to have to come out to my speakeasy at Prairie Love Festival for that. Sometimes you just gotta learn things in person from someone who is super jazzed about what she's talking about. This is just the tip of the iceberg baby! Be prepared to go deep!

29 Jun 2015

GODDESS OF CHILL

Goddess of Chill, Lynette Suchar, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Festival Canada, Yin Yoga, Slow it Down, I am a Prairie Yogi,
words by Lynette Suchar
It came out of nowhere, the name Goddess of Chill. I was only trying to set a light tone for the second half of the workshop. But it stuck.  I have come to realize how important the pause is, the space between. We rush around all the time, all day, all week, all year, no matter who we are or what we do for a living. Our fast-paced culture has deemed success as be more, do more, have more, move more, buy more. There is an ongoing dialogue on how technology, which was intended to allow us more free time instead has made us busier, always available, always on. I am not knocking down technology. I am on Instagram, showing off photos as often as the rest. But, I believe it is time to embrace the space between. It is time to also pause. To know it is okay to stop for a moment and to leap over our fears of missing out.

Goddess of Chill, Lynette Suchar, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Festival Canada, Yin Yoga, Slow it Down, I am a Prairie Yogi,
This realization of the importance of pausing in the space between, of letting go of needing to be busy, to be productive, of not worrying if we miss out on something, is reflected in my teaching more and more, which is why I love teaching restorative and yin yoga. As you move about your never-ending day, give yourself permission to slow your stride down to look up and notice the way the blue sky is peeking through the fluttering purple lilacs; pause for a moment in your yoga practice to feel the way your foot squishes into the mat and the way your breath swirls around your body as you exhale.

My Goddess of Chill workshop at Prairie Love Festival is perfectly situated at the very beginning of day two, the space between a busy first day spent inverting, dancing, and blissing out, and an exciting second day. This little class gives you the opportunity to get up early, reset your nervous system, fill up your well, and start fresh.

Sit, breathe, rest, get to know the place within that is craving calm. Notice how that pause is an essential tool for a balanced and healthy life.

26 Jun 2015

HUSTLE + FLOW

#PrairieLoveFestival, alex mazerolle, hustle + flow, yoga playlist, Yoga Festival, Manitoba Events
words + playlist by Alex Mazerolle
Music has always played a huge role in my life from a very young age.  One of my earliest memories is of my mother holding me as a baby and dancing around the house to Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier or my father playing Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain on his guitar.

I was put in dance at the age of 3 and ended my career at 21. Throughout those years I probably danced to almost every genre of music, which created a very strong appreciation for song production, writing and the over all mood a song can create.

The song always dictated the movement, the theme and the vibe. When I started teaching yoga, the lineage I came from didn’t play music. So I taught without music for years and I always felt like a piece of me was missing. Once I branched out and started to really create my own sequencing and style, curating playlists for class became an obsession. I would spend hours making the perfect mix for a power vinyasa class, every couple songs reflecting the flow, the core work or the softer and subtler moments.

To me, music is essential. It’s the soundtrack to every moment of our lives. It celebrates, it lightens and it breathes. Music makes me feel. Music says the words I can’t say. Music opens me up, inspires me and most of all moves me.

Sample Playlist:

A balance between new stuff, throwbacks and feel goods, always smooth enough for any yoga flow, dinner party or road trip:






Experience Alex's signature Hustle + Flow yoga & music experience at Prairie Love Festival. Earlybird tickets on sale now - scoop yours up before prices rise July 1st!

23 Jun 2015

Once upon a time... A Blissology Fairy Tale

words by Rachelle Taylor - president, Prairie Yogi Inc.
I'll always remember the day I met Eoin Finn. Monique and I were invited to be on the Wanderlust Festival journal team in Colorado in the summer of 2013. Our first day there was the fourth of July, and unbeknownst to us, it was on this American holiday we'd be thankful for being Canadian.

It was the first afternoon of the international yoga festival of epic proportions, the sun was shining above the mountain peaks, and we were lost. Very lost. We had no clue where to report or who to talk to about our writing assignments, and we spent that afternoon wandering aimlessly through the festival grounds. By a stroke of serendipitous luck, along our search we found our way to the Wanderlust VIP lounge, in the very moment that the festival organizers asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves. Internationally recognized yoga teachers and entrepreneurs took their turn telling the group who they are and where they came from.

When our turn came and went, I secretly hoped that no one was listening to our underwhelming introductions and realize we didn't belong. Once the introductions were over, a handsome surfer dude walked over.


"Hey, you guys are from Canada, cool! I'm Canadian too! My name is Eoin."

He looked familiar... I asked him if he was the guy from the yoga DVDs I sold back when I worked at lululemon. Yep, that was him. Turns out that this Canadian ex-pat was now a California yogi surfer who's been starring in yoga DVDs since before I knew what dogward dog was.
This was the beginning of our friendship with Mr Blissology himself, Eoin Finn.

That weekend in Copper Mountain, we had the opportunity to interview Eoin and find out about the foundations of Blissology yoga, and take in a few of his inspiring classes (including an arm balancing workshop where I successfully stuck pincha mayurasana for the very first time!) It was also on this weekend that we decided that we wanted to create a similar wellness experience in the prairies upon our return home, and that we would call it Prairie Love.

I knew that we had to get Eoin on board for Prairie Love's inaugural year. I texted or emailed him weekly for the months to follow, usually with no response. One day, he informed me that he'd be in Winnipeg on an upcoming tour and we could meet to discuss. In that meeting, he regretfully informed me that he had already been asked to headline a festival at the Joshua Tree in California that same weekend - although he hadn't committed yet. As we parted ways, I figured I had to give it one last effort. (In not one of my proudest moments) I begged him to be a part of the magic of this idea, pleading "We're just two girls with a big dream... to make something awesome happen for the Prairie Yogi community. And we need you to help us get it off the ground."

Two weeks later, he texted me "I'm in!" I swear I happy-danced around my living room for an hour.

And the prairie yogi community lived happily ever after :) Over 300 participants attended the first ever yoga festival in the land of big skies and big hearts, and so many got to practice with the one & only Eoin Finn, who brought his California surfer vibes to the prairies with Superflow: surf inspired yoga & his nature appreciation shrine to his signature Earth. Body. Yoga. workshop.


Reposted from @Blissology on Instagram
We're so excited to have Eoin headline Prairie Love festival once again this year, it wouldn't be the same without him.

This time around, he's sharing four workshops with our community, and bringing something extra special with him: his family! Eoin's yogini wife, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn,will be sharing her auyrvedic inspired teachings with two dynamic workshops. And this yoga power couple are also bringing a little bundle of bliss, their son Ananda, along for the celebration.

Luckily there are plenty of family friendly activities to keep the whole family flowing, moving, and grooving all weekend long at FortWhyte Alive!




Experience's Eoin signature brand of ocean inspired Blissology at Prairie Love Festival. Earlybird tickets on sale now! Get yours before prices rise July 1st!

22 Jun 2015

7 CRYSTALS YOU NEED TO BUILD YOUR TOOLKIT

7 crystals for your toolkit, Rogue Wood Blog

words + images by Vanessa Kunderman of RogueWoodBlog.com

WHAT'S A CRYSTAL TOOLKIT?

A crystal toolkit is the little box, bag or area you keep your crystals. Crystals like to have a home, whether that is permanently on a window ledge, as a paperweight in your office or in a great pair of earrings. But since we might have smaller stones that we use for different things like satchels, medicine bags, dream pillows, etc, it's good to keep them all in a place so you don't lose them. I recommend having a toolkit that is easy to find so you can quickly go to it whenever you're practicing something sacred or magical.

THE PROTECTOR: Amethyst

Everyone needs protection, whether that is from psychic attack (those negative vibes people can send our way), ourselves or even the unknown. Amethyst is really a "good for everything" stone and it has some of the strongest protective qualities out of the numerous crystals out there. While it is multi-functional, it's great to name as the Protector in your toolkit, so that every time you see its purple gleam, you feel its protective qualities washing over you. You can pluck this crystal out of your toolkit and take it with you whenever you're needing that extra dose of protection - or even if you're having bad dreams.
Your toolkit needs a protecting agent, a crystal that acts as the little soldier for your spiritual life and your Self.


THE CHARGER/PROGRAMMER: Clear Quartz

Clear Quartz is a unique stone that can be programmed to serve us how we see fit. Whether we need extra help with focus for a tough series of exams, strength for the delivery room, or even clarity when making a tough decision, this crystal has the ability to hold programming that is later washed away with cleansing, ready for new use. You can program this crystal by setting your intention into it via holding it between your palms and visualizing the crystal turning bright pink as you tell it its purpose for the day (or whatever length of time you need it programmed for). Tuck it back in your toolkit when you're done.
Your toolkit needs a charger or programmer when you're first beginning - Clear Quartz can be programmed to help you in a specific area that can change and adapt as you do.


LOVE AMPLIFIER: Rose Quartz

At risk of sounding like I belong in a Beatles song, the journey of spirituality has a lot to do with love. We're weighted down in a world filled with hate, fear and animosity. So much of our illnesses are derived for the burdensome stress we're filled with, forcing us to be exceptionally hard on ourselves. Rose Quartz needs to be in your toolkit because it promotes all kinds of loves, especially self-love, encouraging us to be easier on ourselves so we can blossom into the best version of who we were meant to me.
Your toolkit needs a love amplifier because in order to do your best possible work on this planet, for yourself and your loved ones, we need to let go of the toxic negativity that slows us down.


GROUNDING STONE: Smoky Quartz

One common ailment in spirituality is not being properly grounded. As your awareness progresses, you also become more aware of not being "yourself" or in alignment with what you're trying to get done - and that can be big picture or from day-to-day. Whether we aren't feeling "connected" or we are too flighty and "up in the air," we need a stone that can help us stay focused and grounded. Smoky Quartz is great to use in conjunction with meditation or to help us stay connected to our purposes and missions as humans.
Your toolkit needs a grounding stone to help you stay focused and centred so you can continue to grow and flourish without getting distracted.


NEGATIVITY ABSORBER: Obsidian

Obsidians are powerful crystals. They repel bad vibrations and suck negativity into their black cores. Any black stone will work, but I suggest Obsidian as your negativity absorber because of the different varieties it comes in and its other properties, like working very quickly. Just as Amethyst will protect and Smoky Quartz will ground, Obsidian is important to help YOU stay positive and to reign in positivity around you. It keeps the bad guys and all their bad wishes at bay, so you can focus on the most important thing: you.
Your toolkit needs a negativity absorber to help stay positive and healthy.


CLEANSING STONE: Carnelian

Carnelian has the ability to cleanse the stones it is stored with, meaning the other five crystals in your toolkit won't be worse for the wear after multiple uses (like that programmable Clear Quartz!). And while you should still find amethod to cleanse your stones by, having a cleansing stone is great for building your toolkit so you don't have to remember this little cleansing tidbit as religiously. Carnelian also anchors you in the present, which will help with grounding and growing in spirituality. Thanks to its colour and high energy vibration, its clean vibration will keep you motivated.
Your toolkit needs a cleansing stone for your Self and your other crystals! Cleanliness is a good habit to get into and your crystals will appreciate it, just like they appreciate having an identified home: the toolkit.


THE CHANGEMAKER: Citrine

Full disclosure: I believe Citrine needs to be in every toolkit because it is such a catalyst for positive growth and abundance. It draws so much good to its owner that if you had to only buy one crystal, this would be a good one to start with. It's a prosperity stone and does wonders for your aura, keeping you clean and clear so you can enact change.
Your toolkit needs Citrine as a changemaker stone to give you that bright jolt required for big leaps forward into the realms of healthy living.

Building a crystal toolkit is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of crystals without overwhelming yourself. Since there are so many crystals out there that can fall under these categories, I encourage you to find crystals that work for you, so long as they hold the seven properties mentioned above. When you're ready, you can stretch your legs with more crystals, but starting slow is a great way to begin.

Want to learn more about using crystals? Join Vanessa Kunderman of RogueWood at Prairie Love Festival, she'll be hosting two crystal workshops: Crystals 101 + Crystals @ H'OM


15 Jun 2015

Yoga: Aligning with the Natural Cycles of Life

New Moon Goddess Gathering, Corey Lakusiak, Prairie Yogi, Cycles of life, Yoga, Meditation, Nature,
words by Corey Lakusiak
“The world of nature exists within a larger pattern of cycles, such as day and night and the passing of the seasons. The seasons do not push one another; neither do clouds race the wind across the sky; all things happen in good time; everything has a time to rise, and a time to fall. Whatever rises, falls, and whatever falls shall rise again; that is the principle of cycles.” 
-Dan Millman

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the outdoors. There is something so magical about spending hours on end hiking through the forest, paddleboarding on the lake, or simply sitting on the beach, feet buried in the sand, watching the world go by. It is in these moments that I feel most deeply connected to myself and to Nature. From this perspective it is easy to see the natural cycles of life and to know my place within them.

But living a modern life means to find a balance between spending time in the solitude of nature and engaging with the hustle and bustle of daily life. Besides being a nature lover, I am also a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, student, home-maker, artist, community leader, and yoga studio owner. These rolls are the ones that keep me connected to my friends, family and community and they give my life a real sense of passion and purpose.

So how does one strike the balance between Nature and modern living? For me, the balance is found in practice. Each time that I step onto the mat is an opportunity for me to reconnect with myself and to tap into my natural rhythms. I approach my practice as an opportunity to get to know myself from the inside out...like taking myself on a date. The natural cycle of the breath draws my awareness deep inside to a place that I can only access when in practice. Years of dedicated studentship have allowed me to learn how to move beyond the outer layers of my physical body so that I may cross the inner threshold to a place where I feel rooted in my being and connected to life itself.

Over the years, this inner gateway has become the portal to aligning not only with my ‘Self’, but with Nature. Yoga helps me to see the bigger picture and my connection to it. It is from this place that I am able to appreciate the cyclical nature of my life; the ups and downs and ins and outs of day-to-day living. By aligning with these natural cycles, I am able to see that Nature has the same cyclical way of being; sunrises and sunsets, the waxing and the moon, and the changing of the seasons.

When I am in practice, I feel like I am in the flow of life. But when I am out of practice, I feel out of balance with myself and Nature, and tend to struggle in all aspects of life.

Sometimes, realigning is just a matter of recommitting to my asana or meditation practice, but this does not always work. There are times when my practice feels ‘dry’ and I have a hard time reconnecting with the juiciness of life. In these times, I know that the key for me is being in Nature; submerging myself into the forest, taking a long paddle across the lake, or just sitting on the beach and quite simply becoming a witness to the bigger picture.

I am looking forward to sharing my experience of learning to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of life at the ‘New Moon Goddess Gathering’ at Prairie Love Festival during September 12th's New Moon. Surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature and steeped in the potent darkness of the New Moon, I will share yogic practices that will stretch and open your body, assist in drawing your awareness deep inside and helping you to realign with the natural cycle of life.

12 Jun 2015

Is life better buzzed?


Erica Blitz, Prairie Love Festival, #lifeisbetterbuzzed, peaceful warriors + magical messengers, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, benefits of meditation, yoga festival canada,
by Erica Blitz
Erica Blitz, Prairie Love Festival, #lifeisbetterbuzzed, peaceful warriors + magical messengers, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, benefits of meditation, yoga festival canada,
Zip! Zing! Shazam! I love a good buzz. Especially from coffee! 

As much as the serenity of nature is an absolute necessity, I love the hum of big cities. London calling! Berlin, jah! Hello Dubai! The people, the culture, the creativity, the diversity … bring.it.on!

I’m crazy for dynamic energy, the current of chaos and how it all flows together; unity through diversity. No wonder this urban metabolism translates into my practice: dancing with the breath, traveling/pulsing in and out of poses in creative transformations and transitions (oh, the world of transitions and how they demand us to move!).


While so many power yogis simply want their asanas kicked into great shape, I ventured to yoga with the intention of breathing a little easier. I sought out courage in warrior poses, stability in Vrksasana (Tree Pose), freedom in backbends and peace in Savasana. However, my mind would race about everything that I need to accomplish before the end of the day and throughout the week silently reminding myself to call my Mom, to pick up toilet paper on the way home, remember to get my bestie her birthday gift ... Stop it, I would tell myself. Concentrate on your breath. It's speeding up. Slow down. Inhale. One. Two. Three. Exhale.Three. Two. One. Positive thoughts. Why can't you do that? Blessings! Count them! Think happy thoughts. Fresh air on a warm summer morning. My wedding day. Go there. Now!


Eventually, as years of practice went by, I discovered a tiny corner of yogi in me when I realized something unusual happening. My life was transforming: a sense of balance, creativity and joy began to infuse every day – even if was a fleeting moment. I realized that while the pace of life was fast the pace of my practice didn’t need to be. In fact, it served me more to slow it down. If we don’t know the silence of the body, how are we to understand the silence of the mind?


While it’s no surprise to see #lifeisbetterbuzzed feeding through my Instagram photos of various adventures and coffee bars (ok, and maybe a few wine bars, too), I’ve learned that the magical manifestations of my outer life and accomplishing all of my heart’s desires are birthed from from an inner calm. There is beauty in brevity AND there is magic in meditation. 


The purpose of meditation is to step boldly into reality, to become more skilled at the art of living. Meditation shows us that we are much stronger and much more vast than our passing thoughts and feelings. And to gain this strength, we are required to soften. Yep, that’s right: through softness is where we find our strength.


Nothing that happens is to be ignored. Everything requires attention and mindfulness. And sometimes, this means slowing down, breathing deeper. and listening to the magical messages that surface in those mystical moments. When we busy ourselves with the rush of the world, we miss things - the important things: being present with the person in from of us, noticing the blossoming bud on the tree outside the window, the beautiful colours of a sunset. Even Ferris Bueller reminded us that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


Join Serena Postel and I for a slow, deep flow at the Peaceful Warriors + Magical Messengers workshop at Prairie Love Festival. Together, we will create the space where you can stop and look around … on the inside. I invite you to meet yourselves exactly where you are, to release yourselves, to love yourselves. You will dig deep and cultivate your warriorship by slowing down and breathing deeper. 


When we breathe, we feel more. This practice is an invitation to feel, to listen, to find stillness in the pulse of the practice. Through the simple rituals of listening, being still, and becoming quiet we are better able to formulate clarity. That clarity, amplifies our capacity to seek and speak the truth, to soften our fears, remind us of our highest and to live our best life. 

“For the warrior, the experiences of a sacred and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness.”
~Chogyam Trungpa

9 Jun 2015

The 5 Reasons You (Mistakenly) Feel Marketing and Money Compromise What You Really Value About Teaching Yoga

#PrairieLoveFestival, Beth Martens, Femmepreneur, Women in Business, Money + Yoga, Teaching Yoga, The business of teaching yoga
Words by Beth Martens, creator of Femme-preneur
As a business, money and archetype mentor for women who went to India eight times and taught yoga for over a decade, I now teach simple steps for marketing and embracing money in an authentic voice so you can turn your practice into your abundant life’s work. To do this, you first have to be clear about why you might not doing it in the first place, so you create from a clean slate and explore the range of what is magically possible when you have clarity.

Here are the five reasons you may feel you are compromising your values when you market your services and aim for greater financial freedom, so you can begin the journey of finding satisfying abundance in the business side of your yoga practice.

1. You unconsciously hold limiting beliefs about the value of your life’s work and are stuck comparing yourself with other yoga teachers. 

You rock at what you do, you’ve trained, you’ve practiced, your work is healing and enlightening, and you make a big difference in the life of those you serve.

But when it comes down to it you still struggle with comparing your value, your pricing and your service with others, and feel insecure about what you have to offer because you hold stories in your unconscious about what you can’t do..

2. You think of marketing and money as necessary evils.

Money is a loaded subject, like sex (which is a closely related topic!). And it has a tonne of moral projections from society in general, especially the spiritual community.

But even within you, you have inner conflicts over ‘bottom line’ stuff that seems to have nothing to do with your love for yoga and spirituality.

3. You don’t think of yourself as an entrepreneur or business.

Many yoga teachers haven’t learned to see how the scope of their teachings is severely limited by rejecting business as a spiritual path. Just imagine how many more people you could serve if you were more abundant?

4. You haven’t learned to define yourself by the results you get for your students. 

We live in a culture that says, “what do you want to be when you grow up? A “this” or a “that?” And then when you decide, you automatically become the competitor of every other person who chooses the same as you.

So, if you learn to see you have unique brilliance, and get unique results for your students and clients, then with the right strategic plan you can easily have an abundant business that is one of a kind.

5. To include all of who you really are, you feel like you’re going in every direction.

When you discover you are not just a yoga teacher, or a yoga studio owner, or a yoga therapist - truth be told you have a number of interests, passions, seemingly unrelated skills and trainings - then it makes you miserable trying to fit yourself into one category. And to include more or even all of you, all you get multiple-business-personality disorder.

Even if you can’t see how to do it, you can be highly valued for not just your yoga, but your whole self, your whole life’s work. As I saw, from what I was told was my death bed from cancer in 2002, being valued is actually each one’s destiny. Even if you have no idea how to do it, you can be of the highest service and have a distinctly spiritual experience doing it all, including the marketing and the money.

#PrairieLoveFestival, Beth Martens, Femmepreneur, Women in Business, Money + Yoga, Teaching Yoga, The business of teaching yoga

If you’re curious what loving marketing looks like in your special service or business, please join me for my Femme-preneur in Action workshop at Prairie Love Festival, September 13th at Fort Whyte Alive, or visit my website www.bethmartens.com