12 Apr 2015

4 Reasons you Must Experience a Teacher's Training Course


Perhaps you’ve been involved with yoga for a while, and you’re ready to take the next step, or maybe you’re new to yoga, but something draws you to the practice and compels you to explore deeper.

Whatever your reason to be curious, here are 4 reasons why doing a Teacher’s Training Course (TTC) this summer is right for you!


1. There’s something for everyone

Yoga is truly an all-inclusive practice. Whether your interest is primarily physical, mental, or spiritual, a TTC explores it all. The daily schedule includes time devoted to Satsang (mediation and chanting), asana classes, Bhagavad Gita study, philosophy, and anatomy classes. Sivanada training courses touch on every aspect of yoga, all while set in the midst of the Laurentian mountains. Classes are filled with like-minded people from every corner of the world and every walk of life. There is sure to be an aspect of the TTC that resonates within you, and impacts your perspective on everyday life. The strong cultural experiences are influenced by Eastern tradition, leading to some of the most beautiful, joyful, one-of-a-kind ceremonies to be participated in over the month. Looking to spend your summer eating chickpea curry at picnic tables overlooking the Laurentian mountains while you chat with an Argentinian about headstand?  Sivananda is the place for you.

2. Establish your at-home practice

One of the most beneficial side effects of yoga is the improvement in the relationship you keep with yourself. To develop a practice that you can implement in your personal space allows you to explore and strengthen that relationship. The exercises taught at Sivananda are deeply established so that when you make time for yourself at home, you know exactly what to do. You are able to count your exhalation lengths in pranayama, measure your time in kakasana, sit quietly meditating with guided focus. You gain clarity and purpose for and within your own life, whether that involves becoming a teacher externally or not. Though of course, with intensive instruction, by graduation you will be well equipped to teach a 1-½ hour, twelve posture class, including pranayama - breathing techniques - and guided relaxation. Sivananda training is highly regarded and recognized worldwide by the Yoga Alliance. The organization has centres and ashrams spanning Europe, Asia, South America, and nearly all corners of the globe, giving you a home away from home wherever you go.


3. Theory-curious?

Often in asana class we hear Sanskrit words such as “Shanti,” or “Om” and have questioned their meaning. Or we’ve heard references to Krishna and Ganesha in pop culture, and wondered the stories behind. A TTC delves into the origins of Yoga, eternally maintaining the Unitarian stance that God is one, in all forms. Sanskrit chanting and prayers are taught, thanking the Divine for its presence in your life. The philosophy of yoga is explored both theoretically and experientially, with many references to Vedanta and the four paths of yoga. Discover the significance in Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, and Raja Yoga by practicing them throughout the daily schedule, and seeing which path suits you best. An expanded understanding allows the student to be educated in their own personal relationship with what it is they consider “God.”

4. It’s a once in a lifetime experience

A TTC is one of the most challenging and rewarding ways you could spend your summer. The schedule is vigorous, but deeply satisfying. Imagine waking up with the sun each morning, maybe even in a tent among 200 acres of pure forest, and walking through the mist to the Yoga Hall to start your day with a half hour of meditation. You spend the day learning, practicing, and living yoga. The bliss that is felt at the end of the day is pure, a mix of happiness, fatigue, and contemplation. Nature walks, bonfires accompanied by guitar, and swims at nearby lakes are all added benefits of a TTC. Your classmates become lifelong friends, and a support group through the soul-stimulating month. People come from all over the globe to learn yoga from Sivananda, enriching the course with diversity and openness. The course instructors themselves represent the international demographic, yogis with years of experience accompanying their distinct backgrounds. A TTC gives you possibly the most meaningful summer of your life, which you can take forward with you onto whatever path you choose.

Want to find out more about a Sivananda yoga teacher training course? Check out Sivananda Yoga Camp online to discover more about the Canadian Ashram.

31 Mar 2015

MEET PRAIRIE LOVE FESTIVAL 2015 HEADLINER : ERICA BLITZ

#PrairieLoveFestival, bliss, Creativity, energy, Erica Blitz, Gandhi, Headliner, Highest potential, inspire, Love, Namaste TV, prairie love, yoga,
#PrairieLoveFestival, bliss, Creativity, energy, Erica Blitz, Gandhi, Headliner, Highest potential, inspire, Love, Namaste TV, prairie love, yoga,
#PrairieLoveFestival, bliss, Creativity, energy, Erica Blitz, Gandhi, Headliner, Highest potential, inspire, Love, Namaste TV, prairie love, yoga,
This California girl has prairie roots, hailing from Edmonton, AB. A yogini, writer, and international adventuress, Blitz travels the world offering inspiration and yoga teacher trainings. She is the architect of seasons 3 + 4 of Namaste TV.


Yoga is something we experience deep within our being. It does not require strength or flexibility; it only requires a willingness to learn how to feel authentically and respond honestly to whatever it is you notice. Moving from point to point, breath by breath, and completely absorbed in the present moment, yoga teaches balance: structure and fluidity, strength and flexibility, support and surrender, stillness and motion, limits and liberty, feat and trust, holding on and letting go, stability and freedom.

In asana, we learn more than just the physical form of the pose; we also learn to stay steady, calm and alert whether we are in a simple pose or in a challenging pose. When we are able to maintain a sense of presence and equilibrium in any asana, we can translate this off the mat to maintaining a healthy mental and emotional balance in life.

In spirit of greater success, happiness and fulfillment in life, I am committed to the practice of yoga and believe that health and well being are wonderful results of practicing yoga - but the actual purpose of yoga is to awaken our highest potential as human beings. 

My classes are based on the creative play of Vinyasa, the verve of Ashtanga, and the life-affirming essence of Anusara. Grounded in a supportive and inviting space for everybody to experience the benefits of yoga, my classes weave a balance of intensity and grace into rhythmic, mindful movements that build physical strength and flexibility, reduce stress and quiet the mind. Together with a focus on breathing, physical alignment, and dynamic movement, I create an inspiring moving meditation that is simultaneously fun, challenging (yet accessible) and calming leaving you energized and centered long after you've left your yoga mat.

"I believe in the power to live simple + love big. To move + be moved. Join me."

Practice with Erica on seasons 3 + 4 of Namaste TV


Grow your practice with Erica this September at Prairie Love Festival 2015
Spark creativity, increase your connection to your greatest potential, and quiet the mind. 
Like the snow, discounted snowbird passes are almost gone! Invest in yourself and get a Prairie Love weekend pass today. 


17 Mar 2015

From Body Battlefield to Body Beautiful Through Ahimsa



I remember the moment my body became a battlefield. I was sitting on the couch watching a documentary on ballet.  I remember we had just moved to a new town (we moved a lot when I was growing up) and I was nervous about starting school and making new friends.  I remember them talking about the physical requirements they looked for when recruiting students to their school:  long neck, short torso, long legs - turned out at the hip, and not an ounce of fat to be seen.

I remember thinking that if I looked the way they did, then I would be accepted in the new school I was about to walk into. I watched that documentary on ballet and then headed to the bathroom, assessing my own body in the mirror.  Long neck - nope; short torso - kinda; long legs - definitely not; turned out at the hip - yup, people always said I walked like a duck; and fat - well…

In that moment, I transformed.  I went from a girl who didn’t really notice how my leotard fit in my dance classes to one that wore layer upon layer to avoid the reflection in the mirror.  I began to reject food and accept hunger.

As I moved through high school, throwing up my food became a more effective method for expelling the hatred I carried for my body and emotions.  In college, I was bingeing and purging five times a day and dancing eight hours a day.

After college, I swam between the spaces of anorexia and bulimia, willing my body to lose weight, still under the illusion that the number on the scale was a number by which I could be valued in this world.

I moved to Chicago and sought therapy, went to support groups, and worked with a nutritionist. Then, I found a yoga class with a beautiful teacher, Erin Cowan at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. She helped me tune into my breath and the true strength and power that resided inside.  I began to learn that I am perfect, just as I am.

As my yoga practice evolved, I learned about Ahimsa.  The very first Yama in Patanjali’s Eight-Limbed Path of Yoga.  Ahimsa.  Non-violence toward others, but even more importantly, toward oneself.  This concept was only presented to me by the Universe when I was ready to hear it fully and completely. When this moment arrived, it helped me on my path to full recovery from eating disorders.  I learned my negative thoughts and the abusive behaviour I directed toward myself prevented me from moving forward, from truly living a more nourished life.

When I fully put Ahimsa into practice, my asana and meditation practices are filled with freedom. I give myself permission to be right where I need to be.  To practice and meditate in a way that shows me just how beautiful I really am.

Because I am beautiful, and perfect, just as I am!

Heather Evans, MS, RYT-200 is the Founder of and Motivation Maven at Journeys on the Mat. She is a passionate teacher who is inspired by everyday moments of bravery and is fiercely dedicated to social justice and equality.  In her classes, there is a deep emphasis on breath, playfulness, and personal empowerment. Her mission is to break boundaries and connect people to the moment and their deeper selves in shared spaces of inspiration and support.   

Heather completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with the School of Sacred Arts in Bali and was immensely inspired by the teachers, culture, and nature. In addition, she holds a Master of Science in Public Service Management and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies.  Heather has traveled to and lived in many places around this world and currently calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, home.  Heather’s personal mantra:  Every moment, every breath is a new opportunity to seek joy, connection, and inspiration.

Connect with Heather at www.journeysonthemat.com

10 Mar 2015

THE MOST AMAZING PHOTO YOU'LL NEVER SEE

Yogi, Prairie Yogi, Rachelle Taylor, rachelle taylor yoga, Cayman Islands, Bliss Yoga Cayman, Yoga + Sup, IN the moment, Intention, Bliss

Expectation is the root of disappointment. This is a mantra we all know well. But knowing this doesn't seem to keep us from creating high expectations for future events.

I myself am guilty of envisioning the perfect moment, daydreaming (when I should be working) of a perfect experience. And within that experience, a perfect photo opportunity - because what's an epic experience without the ability to share with all your friends - that I'll capture beautifully. Add a sweet filter and a clever caption or quote and it'll be sure to garner a ton of likes and comments on how amazing my #vacay looks like from the frozen prairie. At least that's how my fantasy goes.

But what effect does this motivation for a great photo have on the moment when it finally comes? Truthfully, it means I'm not really in it. Because instead of fully experiencing the moment, I'm wondering: how can I take a photo of this experience that will both be flattering yet appear effortless; whats my best angle; what pose should I do; what filter will I use, etc.

A few weeks ago I had this one specific photo I kept fantasizing about wanting over my upcoming holiday: me in asana while floating effortlessly on a stand up paddle board with an epic Cayman sunset in the background.

So before I took off for the Caribbean island, I bought a GoPro, set up a private yoga + sup session with the amazing girls at Bliss Yoga Cayman, and I fantasized about the shots I would get. I envisioned all the different angles I could shoot from my SUP: I'd get some of me, my teachers, and my friends, of course. I couldn't decide which asanas would look best, but I suppose I could leave those up to the teacher. Maybe I could even put together a little video montage. OMG, I can't wait - this is going to be so great! In this midst of busy-ness in my mind while preparing for my migration south, I forgot to pack the battery charger for my fancy new camera. Doh! This discovery - five minutes before my session - meant that I wouldn't be able to capture this experience to share on social.

Is an experience less amazing if you can't share it? What if the moment is epic in every way, but you don't capture a pic... how will your friends know how amazing it is be to be you in that moment?

With my current intention of trying to see the positive in all experiences,  I decided to see this forgetfulness as a gift. Without the ability to capture my experience, I was given the opportunity to be fully in the moment. I met the girls trying not to show my distain about my camera, and as I hopped on the board and paddled out on the water, I left my worries at the shore. After a short paddle on smooth turquoise waters, we anchored facing the sunset and the horizon. Seated straddling the board, legs dangling in the warm water, we began by connecting with the breath and settling into our floating yoga mats. The teacher, Rachel, offered the intention of tuning in to the flow of the water, as to go with the flow is easier than to fight it (isn't that the truth). She lead us through a sequence of poses on the board that were both challenging and grounding, and offered the cue to look out to the horizon for stability - which was a treat in itself, as the horizon was filled with sail boards, birds, and beautiful colours of sea and sky. Colours that lit up magnificently as the sun began to set.

The epic sunset that I had fantasized about for weeks was a hundred times better in real life, and without being fixated on a photo I had to get, I was able to fully enjoy and soak it in. To be in my breath - big inhale, sweet exhale - to gaze out at the fiery sky without any agenda or need to accomplish. I took a mental picture. You'll never see this photo, but it was beautiful. And it will forever be imprinted in my heart.

**

Yogi, Prairie Yogi, Rachelle Taylor, rachelle taylor yoga, Cayman Islands, Bliss Yoga Cayman, Yoga + Sup, IN the moment, Intention, Bliss
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy spirit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty and bliss around the globe only to return home to Winnipeg where she created Prairie Yogi Inc. +  Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for yoga, epic experiences, and community. A vinyasa yoga instructor (200 RYT), eternal student, rookie meditator, and inspirational speaker on the topic of living your passion, Rachelle brings her enthusiasm, light and authenticity to her vinyasa yoga teachings.

21 Feb 2015

AHH-SANA // THAI YOGA MASSAGE PARTNER WORKSHOP

thai yoga massage, partner yoga winnipeg, healing hands, loving touch, winnipeg events, winnipeg yoga, monica angelatos, prairie yogi
Words by Monica Angelatos // Images by Veronica Angelatos

We are all born with an innate ability to offer healing touch. Most of us have experienced the nurturing, caring, companionate healing touch of our mothers. Societal norms have led us to become a touch-deprived society, yet our bodies scream out: touch me, hold me, squeeze me, heal me. But no one seems to be listening…

thai yoga massage, partner yoga winnipeg, healing hands, loving touch, winnipeg events, winnipeg yoga, monica angelatos, prairie yogi Join Monica Angelatos as we explore a lazy yogi’s Ahhh-sana practice.  You and your bestie, sister, or lover will share in a mutual un-Thai-ing of each other’s emotional and physical knots, through the therapeutic techniques of Thai bodywork. As you move through a guided partner-supported asana sequence, you will take turns giving and receiving Thai yoga massage.

Thai Massage is a therapeutic, soothing and deep practice.  You will learn techniques such as palming, thumbing, pressing and stretching.  We’ll move through a series of applied yoga poses that open the joints, lengthen the muscles and stretch connective tissues. Stimulating the tissues causes stagnated energy to become unblocked and flow through the Sen energy lines, restoring balance in the body and leaving you and your partner with a deep sense of well being.

No experience is required. Monica will provide clear, easy-to-follow directions to create a safe environment for your exploration. Bring a partner with whom you feel comfortable being in close contact. You will leave the workshop feeling the bliss of having had a great yoga practice as well as a great massage.


thai yoga massage, partner yoga winnipeg, healing hands, loving touch, winnipeg events, winnipeg yoga, monica angelatos, prairie yogi


Things to bring:
Yoga Mat 
Blanket
Pillow
eye-pillow (if you have)
Water bottle

Limited tickets available in this intimate workshop on Saturday March 14th at Prairie Yogi's studio space at 210-70 Albert.


ONLY 10 PARTNER PASSES AVAILABLE



18 Feb 2015

5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOME PRACTICE

home practice, yoga at home, Tahnee Fournier, prairie yogi,
Words by urban Priestess + prairie yogi Tahnee Fournier 

Having a home yoga practice is a wonderful way to deeper your own understanding of yoga, however it comes with its own set of challenges. Getting to the mat is often the hardest part about yoga and even more difficult is attempting the home practice. It is one sure way to learn what obstacles block you in your practice while learning to overcome them. Plus no one gets to see you in your manky sweats, unwashed hair, or drinking a coke, or fall out of a pose. My attempts at getting into handstand with a dog underfoot are laughable. Home is a perfect place to practice when leaving the house just isn’t an option. 

home practice, yoga at home, Tahnee Fournier, prairie yogi,

The key is to create structure around your home practice, much like the foundations of a house. We start with the basics and build from there. Eventually the cheerios from the kids or dust bunnies or laundry will become less intrusive to the mind as the practice and benefits increase. 

1 - Organize the space around your mat

If you are using the kitchen like myself (only non-carpeted spot in the house) this requires sweeping otherwise the cheerios from breakfast stare at me relentlessly in down dog. Take five minutes before the practice to make it tidy and think how proud your Mother will be.  If you don’t, those damn cheerios give a good stink eye, trust me I know. If it floats your boat, use aromatherapy. Light incense, whatever you need to set the mood for your practice. A few minutes of cleaning and setting the mood makes a world of difference. 

2 - Create a little alter (puja) where you can place meaningful objects on it.

home practice, yoga at home, Tahnee Fournier, prairie yogi,
My alters align with the current season and always have a deity (God or Goddess) with qualities I want to work on within myself. Nataraja, the dancing Shiva and Lakshmi have two permanent positions while the rest of the Hindu pantheon such Ganesha, Kali, Hanuman and Saraswati and others are on rotation. Other Goddess such as Brigit and people like Mary Magdalene also make appearances. And of course, crystals. Who can resist? They sparkle, are pretty, and make me feel good. I’m found of black moonstone, clear quartz and amethyst. It’s another excuse to go shopping and see what crystal is calling your name. And they do, call your name. I dare you to walk into a crystal shop and walk out empty handed. It. Does. Not. Happen. Included on my alter is a  plant to represent growth, a candle to represent light and pictures of loved ones. Whatever you love, get it on the alter and let it feed your yoga practice space.





3 - Set a date + time for your practice

Whether it’s 5 mins or an hour, set your timer and get to that mat. Create the discipline in your body by doing it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your home practice. If you get to the mat 1x a week, that’s brilliant. Start there and build it up. Can only do 5 minutes? At least that’s something. We need to  honour the small steps we make and 5mins of a home practice is better then zero minutes of a home practice.

4 - Make it fun, play music

You aren’t any less spiritual because you want to rock out on that mat. I’m a big fan of Marques Wyatt from Deep-La and Tasha Blank from New York and Smalltown DJ’s from Calgary. All available on Soundcloud. When I’m not feeling inspired, I have a little movement dance party and before I know it, I’m yoga-ing my way through the practice. 

5 - Intention. Ah yes, the intention

Make it real, make it honest. For example, this week it’s about the breath (when isn’t it?) Allowing the breath to guide my body while I navigate the warrior series including the dreaded virabhadrasana 3 (airplane pose), one of my least favourites. One I definitely prefer to practice at home when no one can see me swear under my breath (while breathing) as I shake like a sewing needle. Keep the yoga simple and don’t overwhelm yourself. Remember this is about building a home practice up, not berating yourself for noting knowing how to get into Scorpion.

home practice, yoga at home, Tahnee Fournier, prairie yogi,
 
If I can leave you with anything, it’s to make your home practice approachable and inviting, whatever it takes you to get to the mat. I love music, having a Lila Mala on the mat (for decoration) and a BKR bottle.  I also reward myself with a delicious coffee after. We often quit before we have even started so I hope these five tips can inspire you to make some time for yourself, get to that mat! and keep you trucking along happily in life. 

12 Feb 2015

From our Hearts to Yours this Valentine's Day // Manitoba Harvest

Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Hearts, Our hearts to Yours, Valentines day, Guilt free treats for your sweetie
Sponsored content by Manitoba Harvest // Image by Monique Pantel
'Tis the season of love and sweet treats from the heart. At Manitoba Harvest, their hearts (and sweet treats) are made of hemp. 

A company built on educating on the health and environmental benefits of hemp, that strive for sustainability in all that they do as manufacturers and marketers of the highest quality hemp food products right here in the prairies.

Their mantra, Hemp + Happiness, isn’t just some catchy phrase... It's their belief. A belief that all of us are better people when in a state of happiness. Our outlook changes, our energy increases, we are inspired, kinder people. Oh the power of positivity!

We hope you enjoy this recipe, from our hemp hearts to yours, and have a wonderful long weekend full of love and positive vibes.

Guilt-Free Treats for your Sweetie


No Bake Hemp Truffles

Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Hearts, Our hearts to Yours, Valentines day, Guilt free treats for your sweetie

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cocoa or raw cacao or carob powder
  • 1/3 cup Hemp Pro70 Chocolate flavour
  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (stirred well) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (substitute brown rice syrup for a kinder option) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Hemp Hearts



Directions

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl to create a uniform texture.
2. Fold in wet ingredients by hand.
3. Form into 1-inch balls and roll in Hemp Hearts. 

Chef's Notes

Recipe courtesy of Julie Daniluk. Visit her website at: https://juliedaniluk.com.

Yield: 18 balls


For more recipes using Hemp click here.

WIN A HEMP HEARTS VALENTINES' PRIZE PACK

Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Hearts, Our hearts to Yours, Valentines day, Guilt free treats for your sweetie

Enter to win on our Facebook page

9 Feb 2015

Mindful Leadership: Transform Yourself to Inspire Others

Words: Lindy Norris // Photo: LKB Photography

It started in The Valley - now it's here.

Mindfulness is paving its way into the modern workplace. Several years ago, after securing its influence in corner offices amongst Google, Apple, eBay, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey, the traditional Buddhist practice shifted Eastward.


What is "Mindfulness" Anyway?

Simply put, mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness and enlightenment. At work, this translates to brief instances of mediation to re-focus and re-centre, thereby increasing self-awareness, clarity, sense of judgment, and productivity. As TIME explained, it "finds peace in a stressed-out, digitally-dependent culture."

Mindfulness is not something we should be sold on: it's inherent, but we need to learn to tap into it under pressure. It increases productivity and allows decision making based on reality, rather than wishful thinking or fear.

Before erasing yourself from the movement, consider the days you spent hours in meetings, only to later agonize in recounting details you didn't write down. Or, the days you arrive home from work, only to realize you recall nothing of the commute. Your body is present, but is your mind? 

Might be time to test drive mindfulness.




Quickly named by Harvard, Forbes, Fortune, The Economist, Entrepreneur, Wired, Inc.com, and HuffPost as the secret to leadership, mindfulness is proven to reduce stress, foster emotional intelligence, improve C-Suite capacity, increase complex thinking, and support self-regulation and effective decision-making – to name a few. Benefits are limitless, and transition seamlessly between professional and personal wellness.

Mindfulness has eclipsed yoga studios to become ubiquitous in boardrooms. Why? Our omni-connected, hyper-communicative, over-scheduled and multi-tasking culture has eroded ability to focus. "New nature" sees us operating multiple screens, simultaneous conversations, over longer hours per day: a digitally intellectual marathon without reprieve. We skip breaks, work through lunch, and hunker down with laptops late into the evening - innocent when done sporadically, but toxic when habitual. Thoughts scatter, judgment clouds, self awareness wanes, and leadership capacity suffers.

Our brains demand calmness, space, expansion, and reflection to function at optimal levels. For leaders and employees alike, peak performance demands intellectual sharpness and agility in making tough calls. Through mindfulness, we can trigger internal reset to gain clarity and perspective on big picture decisions.


Still Not Convinced?

The belief "Mindfulness = Profitability" is widely maintained amongst North America's most notable entrepreneurs. Howard Schultz, Warren Buffett, Chip and Shannon Wilson, and Mark Zuckerberg are just a few of those whom adopted mindfulness early and continue its practice today. They recognized impact of clarity on business decisions; from business decisions to operation; and operation to profit. Consider the proven benefits of mindfulness:

 It reduces the tendency to overthink, allowing you to focus more on the moment instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future

 It reduces chronic stress by providing tools to diffuse daily stressors and the clarity to navigate challenges

 It generates wisdom and ability to leave the "me-centered" point of view, instead really listening to perspective from others

 It allows you to find stillness, thereby improving judgment through better ability to assess current situations and enhance sense of self

• It improves soft skill development such as attitude, confidence, work ethic, and communication (as mentioned in my recent article on growth, soft skills has become vital to development and maintaining a competitive edge) 

 It increases positive emotions, while reducing negative emotions and stress (...everyone loves a positive leader!)

• It changes our brains, increasing density [capacity] of gray matter linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy (also known as Emotional Intelligence)

 It allows concentrating completely on one thing at a time, by helping tune out distraction and improve memory and attention skills

 It facilitates response versus reaction (we become rigid when we think we know what to do - seeing situations clearly opens better paths to embracing new ideas)

 It increases self-regulation (thereby avoiding knee jerk reactions) and the ability to make decisions objectively

With nothing to lose, it's no surprise the most visionary leaders subscribe to a lifestyle rich in mindfulness.

**Article originally published in Golden Girl Finance

4 Feb 2015

ROCK YOUR BLISS AT PRAIRIE LOVE 2015

Are you ready to make shift happen, Prairie Yogis? Get ready, because bliss crafters Mary Beth La Rue + Jacki Carr of Rock Your Bliss are coming to rock the prairies at Prairie Love Festival 2015 
The duo, from Venice Beach, California, being yoga + goals come together blissfully to create seriously inspiring workshops. They are goal coaches, yoga teachers, lululemon + tiny devotions ambassadors, and members of the Wanderlust Festival circuit. You won't want to miss the workshops these babes are offering at Prairie Love: Yoga. Goals. GratitudePlot Twist, Add Bliss;  and The Power of Play.

 "Through years of friendship, many sweaty yoga classes and life changing conversations over green juice or red wine, we’ve found a combination that is truly transformational."


Our Bliss Beliefs
We believe that balance and good conversation is key.
We believe in community. In collaboration.
We believe in positive vibrations and the Light at the center of every being.
We are yogis who like our practice sweaty and we like our margaritas on the rocks.
We are the adventure seekers, the lovers, the ones on the dance floor.
We believe in sleeping under the stars and playing in the ocean, forever and ever.
We believe in fire pit story telling, s’mores, and wine glasses half full.
We believe in feeding curiosity and starting every single day with a grateful heart.
We believe in shedding worn-out ways of living.

We believe in packing our backpacks and running off to Mexico.
We believe in coming home.
We believe in transformation, and loving the process.
We believe that Love wins. Always and forever.
We didn’t just choose this, we are this.
Rock Your Bliss.


Snowbird discount weekend passes for Prairie Love Festival are available for sale on prairielovefestival.com - only a limited number available (and they're selling fast!)
Scoop yours up before prices rise!

3 Feb 2015

Enjoy the full moon, inspiration to DO MORE AND BE MORE!

Leo, Full Moon, Tahnee Fournier, Prairie Yogi
I am a Leo. I am a lioness.  
I have a pack yet I prowl alone with the whisper of the trees as my accompaniment.  
The full moon guides the courage in my heart and the wisdom of my soul. 
I am fierce and demand ferocity back; I give you all and more. 
I exhibit my creative power and move fully into every action, every movement, every breath. 
I let nothing hold me back.  
I represent true raw power, awakened love and the grace of Nature. 
I am the Lioness.

Leo, Full Moon, Tahnee Fournier, Prairie Yogi
Tahnee Fournier, ERYT-500 with 15 years of teaching experience nationally and internationally is known for being inspiring and devotional to the practice.  Currently she co-directs the yoga teacher training program at Bliss Living and Yoga in Grand Cayman, is an ambassador for Daub & Design and Manduka Yoga and has online yoga videos with YOGO.TV while calling Saskatchewan home.
Tahnee is a Mother, an urban priestess, jewellery designer, an equestrian, wine-lover and loves to collaborate with incredible human beings on projects that invoke joy, love and laughter.

2 Feb 2015

4 Ways to Free your Mind During a Prairie Winter

prairie winter, tips for winter, Snowga, prairie yogi, tips for healthy living,
Image of Hannah Rose Pratt by Monique Pantel - Words by Nikki Zajac 

Since recently moving back to the prairies from California, I noticed that there was something missing. Nothing obvious, but at the same time very pressing. Now, coming back to a real winter is a huge shift from palm trees and sunny skies. The more time I spent marinating on what my intuition was trying to communicate to me, the clearer it became. It wasn't, however, until I got my butt outside that I had my breakthrough realization.

I'll tell you what that is, but you must first know how much I craved to be indoors beside a warm, sizzling fireplace with a hot cup of spiced tea on a cold winter day. This was what I was missing earlier this winter. I have completely indulged and have since satisfied my cozy fire cravings. It was after I got my fix that I started to get a little stir-crazy.

Everything changed when I decided to gear up and spend the day outside. I felt refreshed, revitalized, alive and free. I couldn't stop smiling. Yes, it is those powerful nature vibes that sunk into my pores and made my body dance with happiness. One day, one moment, everything changed.

Now, I know that I am not the only one living in the prairies during the long winter and at times, feeling caged in.

I want to share 4 ways to free your mind this winter and help you connect to yourself in ways you have been missing out on.

1- Go on a hike. 


Gear up and get yourself outside on a beautiful winter day. Go to a park or a quiet location surrounded by trees. Go solo, with a furry pal, a friend or partner. The most important thing is to dress for the weather so you can fully enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. Breathe deeply and take in the perfection of the trees and snow. Spend some time connecting to what you are grateful for in your life. By the time you are done, you will feel refreshed and your mood will be elevated.

2- Snowga. 


Nuff' said. Dress for the weather and go do some snowga (snow + yoga). It's fun, challenging (err, balancing on uneven ground) and extremely peaceful.

3- Take up a winter activity.


If you don't already engage with a winter sport, plan a day to do so. Rent some skates, cross country skies, or a snowboard and get out there! Who knows, maybe you will discover your next passion?

4- Winter photography. 

Whether it is an iPhone or a high-quality camera, get outside and take some pictures of your surroundings. It is a great way to connect to nature, stimulate your creative juices and practice a new skill.

There you have it. Prepare to free your mind and up the joy in your life this winter. Remember cold doesn't necessarily mean hibernate. Honor what you are given and find small ways to enjoy your winter. And most importantly, it is all about the balance of yin and yang energy. (I’ll save that topic for a future post).

As I always say, Freedom is a state of mind.

Namaste.

Nikki is a Flow Yoga Instructor and Self-Love Guide from Winnipeg, MB. Not only does she help women align their bodies with yoga, but she also helps women align their lives. Her holistic approach to teaching brings spirituality, love and wisdom to all. She believes that the answers we seek in life come from within and that happiness comes from the willingness to love yourself fully. To Nikki, yoga isn't just a practice on the mat, but a practice of life. Off the mat she is a lover of green juice, hip hop dancing, nature and unplanned adventures. 

Find more of Nikki on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.

30 Jan 2015

WINTER SUN GRANOLA BARS

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

My favourite Winnipeg winter days are crisp and bright: the snow is fresh and crunchy underfoot, the trees draw sharp profiles against a cloudless blue sky overhead.  Seeing the bright white and blue landscape makes me feel like I'm sitting in front of a blank piece of paper; it is a time to reflect, time to anticipate, time to simply be.  However, these sunny days are also the coldest, and all I have to say about that is to echo what a wise Alaskan once told me: "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes."  Enough said.

To best enjoy this time of year, it is important to take care of one's body, mind and spirit.  Ayurveda (the traditional healing method originating in India) advises that in winter, we nourish ourselves with warm and cooked foods, bundle up properly, and spend time with our loved ones.  So invite some friends over for breakfast, and make this granola bar recipe together!  Better yet, make a little extra to stuff in your pockets and enjoy during a walk on the frozen river.

Winter Sun Granola Bars

While there are endless variations and replacements to be made in a granola bar recipe, the following choices were settled upon due to Ayurvedic principles that suggest we eat according to the seasons.  We will be serving these granola bars at the Om Nom Nourish workshop on Saturday February 7th, but in the meantime, try them out for yourself!

This recipe uses sunflower seeds and sunflower butter, which were obvious choices due to their very punny attributes (sun!).  Moreover, sunflower seeds are very nourishing and good for all the Doshas.  Black sesame seeds were included as they contain high amounts of solar energy (which we could all use more of during short winter days), and like sunflower seeds, are very rejuvenating.  Millet and amaranth are gluten-free ancient grains that are high in protein and fibre, and along with oats, they are calming and strengthening foods that can soothe the winter blues away.  Both raisins and cinnamon improve digestion, and cinnamon helps to warm the body - a very welcome attribute in winter.  Brown rice syrup and maple syrup have relatively low glycemic indexes (meaning they do not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other sweeteners), and more importantly, having a little sweetness in your diet will make you a little sweeter (wink!).
makes 12 bars

1-1/2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
1-1/4 cups millet puffs
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unroasted, unsalted
1/8 cup black sesame seeds
1 tbsp amaranth seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Meanwhile, in a small pot, gently heat the syrups and seed butter, stirring with a spatula.  When it has warmed and loosened up, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.  The mixture will be very sticky.

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

Scrape it all into a 9x12" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Spread it out evenly and with slightly wet fingers or a rolling pin, smoosh the mixture down so it is well packed (this will help it stick together).  Bake in a preheated 300 F oven for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool completely before cutting.  There is also the option to not bake the bars and stick the mixture into the freezer to firm up!  A short visit of 10 minutes in the freezer should do, and then the bars can be cut.  I prefer the toasty flavour of the baked version, and cooked foods are more appropriate for this time of year - plus, turning the oven on in the winter makes the house warm and cozy, which is an added bonus.

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

About Adrienne:
Adrienne Shum is an Ayurvedic counsellor and yoga instructor in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  When she isn't practising and teaching yoga and Kirtan, she is usually found in her kitchen making something good to eat.  To find out more about Adrienne, please visit: www.adrienneshum.com.