21 Apr 2014

OPEN YOUR HEART - BACK BENDING

Words: Alex Wenger - Image: Jenn Crebas Photography


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” –Rumi

In practice we open our hearts by reaching up, tilting back, and looking up to the sky. Yoga, for many of us, begins as a practice focused on fitness. But as we deepen and explore, our practice evolves to bring light into dark spaces within us, breaking those unresolved barriers. We strive to let go of the tension we’ve built up and when we feel release... It can be an emotional ride.

“Back bends can create anxiety but it rids us of it at the same time. You have to go somewhere that scares you in order to have that sense of calm afterwards,” says Sherri Schroeder, Yoga instructor from Moksha Yoga Kildonan.  

Sherri’s favorite asanas are backbends, a very emotional and uneasy group of poses with many variations. Even the most flexible and strong yogis need time to become comfortable surrendering to the backbend. Designed to bring heat into the body, lengthen the spine, and open the heart, backbends open us to vulnerability and challenge us to trust ourselves.  

For the typical North American, we are hunched over our keyboards and always moving headfirst throughout our day. This forward-facing action takes a toll on our backs, pulling them forward and rounding out the curvature of the spine. Breaking that pattern by doing the opposite action in our bodies through a backbend may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. As we lift our chests up and walk our gaze backwards we’re slowly bringing the natural curve back into our backs.

Physical benefits of back bending: 

-Improves posture: realignment of the spine
-Relief of back pain/tennis elbow
-Stimulates the central nervous system
-Increases lung function
-Boosts the immune system
-Increases energy

Emotional benefits of back bending

-Combats depression
-Offers new perspective (by literally tuning your world upside down)
-Grows compassion


Remember to breathe, lift up, and have a strong foundation when doing a backbend to prevent any damage to the spine. Take your time and lengthen on an inhale and release into the backbend on an exhale.

Three fun backbends to awaken the spine, increase energy:


Baby Cobra: Bhujangasana (all levels)

      -Lying on your belly, stretch your legs back with the tops of our feet pressed into the earth.
-Plant your palm next to the ribcage with elbows up like grasshopper arms.
-Lift the head and chest off the earth into a mini backbend, without any force from the hands or below the waist

Bow pose: Dhanurasana (intermediate)
-      
-Begin lying on your belly with our arms alongside you, palms facing up. 
-Rotate your shoulders back,  and we reach back to grab onto your ankles.
-Kick back the feet into the hands, rocking the weight onto your belly, slowly bringing our gaze up towards the sky.
-Keep the knees hip width a part, in this pose we’re lengthening the spine and feeling our torso and thighs lifting off the ground. 

Full Wheel: Urdhva Dhanurasana (advanced)

-To set up this pose, begin on your back with knees bent, soles of your feet resting on the mat hip distance apart. Your feet should be close enough to your bottom you can touch them with the tips of your fingers.

-Place your palms on the mat by your head with the elbows reaching up and fingertips pointing towards the shoulders. To begin, press into the feet and palms slowly bringing our hips up to the sky and rest the crown of your head on the mat. Press into the base of your hands and your feet to slowly straighten your arms and legs. Your shoulders are rotated back and your feet are parallel.

-Release this pose slowly by first tucking your chin into your chest 


A series of forward folds are a great way to counter a back bending practice.


14 Apr 2014

PRAIRIE YOGI INTERN - ALEX WENGER

 I’m Alex, and I’m excited to be Prairie Yogi Magazine’s very first intern!

I first came to my mat when I needed to de-stress from the International Baccalaureate program in High school. I found yoga settled me and helped me find balance both physically and day to day. My practice is challenging, relaxing, inspiring, and strengthening all rolled into one and I’ve been hooked from the start. This month I’ve committed to deepening my practice through a 30-day challenge. 
Prairie Yogi Internship, Prairie Yogi, 30 Day Yoga Challenge,
Just like our alumni, Rachelle and Monique, I’m a part of the Creative Communications crew at Red River College. After five years of post secondary education, I’m pleased and proud to be graduating twice this year from the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.

I am very grateful and blessed to be a part of the Prairie Yogi Team and our ever-expanding Prairie Yogi community. I’m positively giddy to be working alongside Prairie Yogi women I admire and to have the opportunity be a part of what Rachelle and Monique have created. I can’t wait to see you all at Big Sky Beats!

My current favourite yoga pose:  Wheel! First wheel, next inversions!

My Intention of the month: Practice compassion. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” – Dalai Lama

Namaste!

Alex Wenger

11 Apr 2014

EDMONTON YOGIS GLOW WITH GLOW JUICERY [+ CONTEST!]

Words by Amanda Bell-Tardiff, Images by Jenn Crebas.

I recently completed a 1 day juice cleanse with Glow Juicery in Edmonton, Alberta. Glow with now two locations in Alberta is a perfect little juice bar that is bigger than life in presence within the community! Glow Juicery is giving away the same one day cleanse I completed - open to anyone in the Edmonton area! Find out the contest details below, but first- here's how I found the cleanse.

This 1 day cleanse was all mapped out and very easy to follow not to mention so so soooo delicious. Throughout the day, I felt nourished, satisfied, and content. It called for a salad at noon but I choose to omit the food and stick to fluids, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for the entire day. Note that It is very important to stay on top of water consumption throughout the day in between the juices in order for the body to feel hydrated and satiated, I also choose to incorporate coconut water twice in addition to the juices.
All the juices were beyond delicious! (my all time favourite continues to be energy glow! YUM). My usual pattern after work would have been to do something active, a run or some weights, however listening to my body and following the instructions of the cleanse I chose to go home and curl up with some tea and a book. Before bed I did a 20 minute meditation and breath work, followed by a solid 8 hour sleep!

So, what's the correlation between juicing and yoga?

I strongly believe in incorporating juicing, green smoothies, holistic cooking into your daily life. This begins to nourish the body and develop a loving and healthy relationship with food. Becoming detached of old habitual patterns and developing mindfulness and awareness in each and every action especially when it comes to food consumption and the methods in which it is consumed. Throughout the day of my juice cleanse I started to notice my body telling me stories of feeling depleted, tired, and in need of a coffee. As opposed to giving in as I would usually do, I figured “what a great opportunity to dive deeper inward”. And I chose to give my body rest from the adrenal depleting caffeine kicks. (don’t get me wrong I love my americanos)

The practice of yoga is also the practice of diving deeper inwards and the breaking of old habits and patterns, thus creating space in our lives, bodies, and hearts to be fully present and inspired through each thought, word, and interaction.

The way to healing the body, mind, and soul begins in the gut. With Juicing comes this heightened awareness of the attachments we choose and create in our lives. (I.e. cup of joe in the morning). You may notice the first day or so of a cleanse (depending on your initial level of health) that you may feel tired, foggy, and in withdraw of the processed sugars, caffeine, trans-fatty acids, sodium, grease etc. This is simply the body telling you stories. We all create stories in order to justify our actions (mostly the actions we don’t feel so proud of) the same thing occurs with food. The body has created a story and thus created a habit. This gets shaken and stirred as you begin to introduce something new; fresh, raw, and organic GREENS in juice form!

Choosing to take part in a juice cleanse twice a year is something that I have incorporated into my life. It is a reminder to slow down, simplify and go inwards.It is a great opportunity to take it easy, to 
de-clutter the mind and your life. 


CONTEST TIME! =
CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER TAYLOR BREAULT
Enter to Win a One Day Glow Beginner Cleanse Program - Valued at $55
This program includes 6 juices.
Ener-G Glow + Citrus Glow + After Glow + Vitamin G + Glow Boost + Earthy Glow


Contestants can win 3 ways:  
Follow, share, tag and hashtag to win via Instagram @prairieyogi @glowjuicery #IwantToGlowJuicery

Share this on Instagram! Don't forget to follow + hashtag!
Take a look at Glow Juicery's fabulous fresh juice menu.




9 Apr 2014

IDA ALBO PRAIRIE YOGI OF THE MONTH- APRIL 2014


"The thing about it- and there is an 'it' about yoga- is the perspective it gives you off the mat."

Ida Albo is your Prairie Yogi of the Month for April 2014! Owner of Yoga Public, Albo shares her love for yoga and the ways she's seen it change people's lives.

Yoga Public is Canada's largest yoga studio, offering a variety of  over 100 classes a week ranging from Ashtanga to Yin with Hot Yoga, Hatha, Meditation, Restorative, Vinyasa, and more.

Every month we highlight a beautiful Prairie Yogi soul - someone who is doing amazing things in the prairie yoga community. If you would like to nominate a Prairie Yogi of the month email us by clicking here telling us who + why.

7 Apr 2014

5 BENEFITS OF A HOME PRACTICE


sarah carson, home practice, yoga at home, 5 benefits of a home practice, prairie yogi, why practice yoga at home

The last time we spoke, I shared some of my deliberations and anxieties over removing myself from the comforts of my home studio, and on the irony of coming into a home practice all the way over in the motherland of yoga. Having made the journey to India and back, and practicing at home all the while, I can definitely say that practicing at home packs some serious benefits, even for the most loyal (or apprehensive) of studio-going yogis. Here are a few reasons to think about practicing at home:


sarah carson, home practice, yoga at home, 5 benefits of a home practice, prairie yogi, why practice yoga at home


Welcome change 

Though not without a certain amount of hesitation, I traded in my sweat drenched, vigorous practice for a more calm, intentional morning ritual. My progress wasn’t as rapid or measurable as when doing a regular power-flow practice and certainly not as fancy – but change is good. I read some books, tried new things, and starting thinking about yoga from a new perspective.

Get personal

It’s useful to think of home practice as more than merely practicing in the house, but as a personal practice. Even with discipline to not peek at others in the room, studio practice is inherently public, visible. I realize now how much I draw on energy from others – and even aim to please. At home, I can’t meet at friend, be seen, or seek other external returns. At home, practice is private but also intensely personal in both the challenges and rewards.

Embrace imperfection

For me, this was definitely the biggest challenge. For whatever reason, there was this lingering fear that I would forget my sequence or that it wouldn’t live up to my own expectations. Once I was able to fully let go of the idea that I needed to complete an exact 60 minutes of practice with perfectly timed postures and transitions, practicing again became easy. We should substitute ‘practice makes perfect,’ for ‘no practice is perfect.’

Reclaim yoga 

In India, even this perfectionist became accustomed to practicing in a cluttered, concrete room as my partner snoozed in the bed next to me. Back in Canada, I’m growing used to practicing on a charming but uneven hardwood floor and visits from affectionate house cats. Sure, it’s not ideal, but it works. We don’t all have spare bedrooms or rain showers or even proper yoga mats. And yet, yoga still works. The fundamentals of yoga are still there for everyone to use – and the funny thing is, we don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do so.

Explore the uncomfortable

Some months ago, the thought alone of having to practice by myself conjured up what is still a baffling level of anxiety. As it turns out, exploring those pockets of fear is worthwhile (big shocker, right?). For me, this meant shedding another layer of my perfectionist self, which allowed me to, well, just kinda go for it. Getting to the heart of our hang-ups is one of the greatest perks of stepping onto the mat, wherever the mat might be.

sarah carson, home practice, yoga at home, 5 benefits of a home practice, prairie yogi, why practice yoga at home
sarah carson, home practice, yoga at home, 5 benefits of a home practice, prairie yogi, why practice yoga at home



Now, have I written off studio practice completely? Not exactly. But no longer do I feel I need to go to yoga to do yoga. And for me, that was the biggest thing. I am by no means a home practice guru, but, as it turns out, I don’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be pretty, because that’s not what it’s about and because no one is watching.

Happy (home) practicing!


Sarah Carson is a researcher, writer and girl of a thousand hobbies based in Winnipeg. 
You can connect with her on Instagram or by checking out her website.

2 Apr 2014

BIG SKY BRUNCH + YOGA RECAP + VIDEO



Watching this recap vid makes our eyes well up and our hearts burst open with love. What an awesome Prairie Yogi community. Shawn Flaman guided 108 Prairie Yogis through a flow practice (which had some wild cards like partner work and a CHAKRA DANCE!) this past Sunday morning at the Marlborough Hotel. After class, we all gathered for a delicious brunch catered by the Marlborough. Shout out to the Brandon yogis who drove in to attend Big Sky Brunch, too. So awesome.


A big thanks to:
The Marlborough Hotel for having us in your space.
SmartWater for providing water for all of the thirsty yogis.
Mala Collective for a beautiful piece we gave away.
Academy Florists for 108 daffodils to give to every yogi (hello spring, we know you've GOT to be on your way!)
Sarah Cameron Jewlery for her gorgeous pop-up shop displaying her jewelry.
Leather and Lace Jewelry for donating beautiful prizes.
Yoga Public for dishing out karma passes to every single person who attended. 
And finally to Shawn Flaman who shared her beautiful energy and guided us through the morning practice.

We can't wait to get together once again for another awesome Prairie Yogi experience. Join us for Big Sky Beats  on April 30th, 2014 at The Gates on Roblin. You can get your tickets here.

Namaste Prairie Yogis! 

1 Apr 2014

BIG SKY BEATS - APRIL 30th


big sky beats, yoga events, DJ pypes and doves, the gates on robin, rachelle taylor, prairie yogi events, winnipeg events,
On Wednesday, April 30th 2014 Prairie Yogi presents a yoga and DJ experience like no other: BIG SKY BEATS at the Gates on Roblin
We will gather at 7:30pm for a fun, all levels vinyasa practice taught by our very own Rachelle, flowing and moving to the sweet beats of DJs Pypes and Doves
Stick around post-practice for tea, a light snack, and community :). 
TICKETS
Single Ticket - $30

Partner Pass - $50 (limited number available)

Purchase your ticket here

Join the Big Sky Beats event page on Facebook for event updates and information

Prairie Yogi Events are fun, inspiring and celebrate community. Have a peek at what our events are like by checking out our event video recaps.

31 Mar 2014

EOIN FINN TO HEADLINE PRAIRIE LOVE YOGA FESTIVAL



SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!! 

Prairie Yogi is bringing a new and blissful experience to the land of the big skies and big hearts on Sunday, September 6th at Fort Whyte Alive. Prairie Love, a celebration of yoga, music, and community.


We are so excited to announce our headliner for Prairie Love will be none other than Mr. Blissology himself, Eoin Finn. This world renowned yogi will offer two of his signature classes that bring together an invigorating yoga class, nature, and happiness to festival participants.

Stay tuned for more information on the Prairie Love yoga festival, including ticket sales and promotional events throughout the summer, by joining our social communities on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
About Eoin Finn (from blissology.com):
Yogi, Surfer, Blissologist and Ocean Worshipper
Bio: Eoin Finn is a yogi, surfer and blissologist residing between Vancouver, BC, Venice, CA and Bali.  He teaches his unique and transformative Blissology Yoga classes and workshops across the globe.  Blissology is the art of tuning into the force that makes us feel connected to each other and the planet and using it to guide us so that we achieve our personal goals while minimizing our impact on the web of life.
His visionary writings about health, happiness and interconnection have appeared alongside noted authors Deepak Chopra, Prince Charles, and Eckhart Tolle, and include features in Vogue, InStyle, Yoga Journal and Oprah Magazine.
Fusing his passion for athletics and yoga, Eoin has prepared over 100 Olympians as well as pro-athletes from around the world for high-level competition.  Eoin’s teaching offers a heart-opening, invigorating and experiential practice, grounded with humour, dynamism and a focus on both physical and energetic alignment, not to mention some great yoga grooves inspired by his love for surfing and the ocean. Yoga, when practiced with this holistic awareness becomes fluid therapy, movement guided by the innate knowledge of our anatomy and evolution


Eoin has studied Eastern and Western philosophy in Canada and France and been a student of yoga, meditation since 1988. He counts among his teachers Ravi Ravindra, Nadia Toraman, David Swenson, David Williams, Pattabhi Jois, Nancy Gilgoff, Donna Holleman, Orit Sen Gupta and Gioia Irwin, Myofascial Alignment teacher Tom Myers and Body Mind Psychotherapist Susan Aposhyan.  He also studied Karate in Osaka, Japan for many years; disciplines that are infused into the holistic mind body heart experience of Blissology Yoga. “love is the ultimate renewable resource” ™ eoin finn


My Life Mission: “To stay in touch with the deep vibration of Love so that I can be a conduit for it in all I do in life. I want to inspire people to be continuously lit up by this mysterious but powerful force.  One of the best ways is to get out in nature and let its beauty fuel you.” Read the Blissology Happy Map for more about Eoin's core philosophy


27 Mar 2014

SURRENDER + THE GURU

Article by Sivananda Ashram photos by Jenn Crebas
Guru Bicycles. Guru Sportswear. Guru Energy Drinks. 

The term Guru is casually rebranded by the West, another Indian fusion byproduct common as chai lattes. But what does Guru mean, in it’s most essential form? It is the Sanskrit word for Teacher, and it is that which awakens the light that is within you, lying dormant. Everything is within you. It is the Guru that makes its presence known.

In asanas, we are learning to have mastery over our bodies. Learning to feel each muscle, each limb, each movement, and to be aware of and have control over what is occurring. In the same way, the Guru teaches us to have mastery over our senses. To master the volatile emotions that creep up on us, basic enemies like anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, fear, and greed. A Guru is one who teaches us to find peace within ourselves, loosening our engagement in these emotions. We practice becoming unaffected by the impermanent passing of a thousand thought waves.

They arise, but the Guru shows us how to quickly releases these tiny vrittis. He detaches himself from thoughts again and again and again, and remains in his own internal equilibrium. In doing so he inspires us to do the same. The work is our own to do; it is simply the Guru that gives us a glimpse into the peace achievable.

With this practice, the Guru becomes a source of inspiration, accountability, humility, and energy. Swami Vishnu wrote, “Let him pull you up and behind you all people will be tied. You’ll pull them up also.” A Guru constantly reminds us of the essential nature of our magnetism to yoga. We are in a search for supreme peace, and the Guru both guides us and makes guides of us as we progress. Through the Guru, we are able to share the balance that we’ve found and made. Our practice retains its purity by being removed from the ego, used toward a cause bigger than our own skin. The Guru shows us the permeating effects of the positive mind in the world we draw in.


Swami Vishnu writes “The highest state is surrender. It is the ego that is preventing you from surrendering completely. So surrender to your teachers, whoever they are. Surrender to them. The teacher is guru.” In accepting a Guru, we also must accept surrender. So much of our culture is focused on being independent, indestructible, untouchable. But what happens when we surrender, when we make ourselves vulnerable? It’s then that we open ourselves up to become truly affected by the teachers in our lives, in all their forms. When we are able to lose that state of ego, the state of “I”-ness, we broaden our view. The limited perception by which we see all things only as they relate to “me” fades, and we no longer see things only to suit our own nature and temperament. As the Guru, we begin to see the same essence in all of creation. He lives from a state of oneness, viewing all things as a manifest of the Divine, puzzle pieces in the great big Universe. And slowly, sparked by the Guru, we begin to do the same.

A prayer to the Universe, by Swami Sivananda.


Universal Prayer

Oh Adorable Lord of mercy and love
Salutations and prostrations unto thee

Though art omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient
Though art Sat Chit Ananda
Though art existence, knowledge, and bliss absolute
Though art the indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart, equal vision, balanced mind, faith, devotion, and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength to resist temptation and to control the mind.

Free us from egoism, lust, anger, greed, hatred, and jealousy.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold thee in all these names and forms
Let us serve thee in all these names and forms
Let us ever remember thee,
Let us ever sing thy glories
Let thy name be ever on our lips,

Let us abide in thee forever and ever.