24 Nov 2012


As we move into a colder season, it's important to stay warm – especially from the inside! This simple soup will certainly help with that. According to Ayurveda (the traditional Indian method of healing), eating yellow and orange foods are warming, and soups help balance the cold and dry qualities of winter, keeping you healthy and happy. 

This roasted carrot and onion soup requires the vegetables to be roasted first, which helps deepen their flavour. The addition of balsamic vinegar adds complexity as the sugar in the vinegar caramelizes and mellows out any acidity. The white miso paste provides even more yummy flavour, as well as a boost of protein. The cooling yoghurt is a welcome contrast to the richness of the soup, while the nutmeg marries it all together.

Feel free to try making this soup with other roasted vegetables, like parsnips or sweet potatoes. It is a great way to use up any leftover veggies from last night's dinner. This recipe makes four to six servings, or two gargantuan ones.

5-6 medium carrots
1 medium yellow onion
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt, to taste
1 heaping tbsp white miso paste
3 cups hot water
Plain thick yoghurt, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Peel the carrots and chop into thick coins. Peel the onion and slice thickly. Throw all the veggies onto a baking tray and toss with the oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the carrots are tender and a little brown on the edges. Tumble all the veggies into a blender, add the miso paste, and about three cups of hot water. Blitz until smooth. Add more water if it is too thick. Pour the soup into a saucepan and gently heat until it starts to make little blips at the surface. Add more salt if desired. To serve, garnish with a generous plop of yoghurt and a quick streak of fresh nutmeg. Enjoy!

-Written by Adrienne Shum

Adrienne Shum is a yoga instructor, an Ayurvedic lifestyle counsellor, and has a Masters in Food Science. She likes to cook, bake, and plan dinner parties. When she is not in the kitchen she is sewing leather pouches and journals (www.facebook.com/branniganandbarry). You can contact her for Ayurvedic nutrition consultations at adrienne.shum@gmail.com

13 Nov 2012


If you've discovered and deepened your practice in the confines of a studio space, you've probably been tempted to take those asanas off the mat and out into the world. You've dreamt of, and maybe even tried freestyle yoga: standing tall with in trees in thick of the forest; lunging deep into a strong warrior on the beach, toes buried in the sand; or flowing through sun salutations in mismatched pyjamas in your kitchen. I, myself am a big fan of freestyle yoga, in fact I may have taken the former examples from my own experiences.

I had seen yoga practiced on stand up paddleboards (SUP) by my friends in the Caribbean, and I had yearned to bring my yoga off the mat and onto the water. This past spring, I set the intention to do so, despite being landlocked in the prairies.

In a serendipitous moment in July, on a friend of a friend's stoop in Winnipeg's Osborne Village, I met Corey-Jill Lakusiak. Our connection was instant; women woven of the same cloth. When I told her about the Prairie Yogi community, this radiating yogini extended to us an invitation to join her and her family at their cabin on  Lake of the Woods for a weekend of yoga and paddle boarding bliss.

The power of intention, what an incredible thing.

Just a few days later, Monique & I were greeted with hugs from Corey-Jill and her brother Scott on a dock in Sioux Narrows, Ontario. Meeting the inspiring group of women we would be spending the weekend , we realized that this experience was a rare gift. The women, who all varied in age, experience and background, each shared a friendship through yoga with the Lakusiaks for many years, some even decades. A ticket to Freestyle Island was not something that could be bought. Scott, owner of Abandon Shore Paddle Boarding, joked that they would have to blindfold us for the 25 minute boat ride to the island to ensure the location of their sanctuary be kept secret. 

With no idea of what the weekend had in store for us, I left all expectation there on the dock behind us - a skill I have only recently learned in my years of practicing.

Upon our arrival on the figure-8 shaped island, appropriately named Freestyle Island, we discover that this slice of prairie paradise has just about everything a yogi could ever need to find bliss. A screened in yoga studio built off the main cabin sits perched over Lake of the Woods: a breeze blowing in off the water tickles chimes that echo in the background. The meditation bench - happily removed from the cabin, is nestled under a shady tree and is the perfect place to discover calm and serenity, or to reconnect with their dusty copy of the Tao te Ching. And a sandcastle-worthy beach welcomes soft waves from Lake of the Woods, where some of the freshest water in the world tempts you to take a dip. 

Behind the beach, a path leads you through an enchanted forest to a magical back bay that is home to otters, blue herons, bald eagles, moose, deer, bear and plenty of fish. "This place is practically Narnia!" Said Monique Pantel, Prairie Yogi Online's Creative Director, who found her happy place paddle-boarding on the back bay with the wild life early in the mornings.

Freestyle Island operates off the grid using solar panels and biodegradable/eco friendly waste treatments and has been in the Lakusiak family for over 20 years. Gene & Lynn, Corey-Jill and Scotts parents, are the heart and soul of Freestyle Island. What an incredible family that totally embodies the prairie yogi spirit!  Lynn, owner of Yoga at St-Marks in Winnipeg is one of the matrons of Anusara yoga in Canada, radiating inspiration and grace. And Gene is an ex- Defensive Back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers whose football career took its toll on his body, he was once hardly able to lift his arms above his head. Yoga helped him regain mobility and flexibility and now has full range of motion in his shoulders. 

Scott's passion for SUP is a perfect complement to the yogis in his family, and Abandon Shore Paddle Boarding & Yoga at St Mark's teamed up to run the weekend activities together. Lynn lead us through a challenging morning practice, with a focus on proper alignment, core strength, and grounding into the feet - elements that would help us being our asanas onto the SUP.  After a scrumptious vegan breakfast, it came time to bring it together, and I couldn't wait to go freestyle on the board. Scott got us set up with one quick SUP lesson, and we were off! He couldn't help but notice the ease with which yogis were able to balance on the SUP their very first attempt, "must be the core strength and innate balance," he said. 

We paddled to the calmer waters of the back bay where we tossed our paddles aside, and Lynn lead us through the asanas as we all experimented with yoga on the SUP for the first time. "It's like a floating yoga mat!" Corey-Jill exclaimed while testing out bridge pose on her SUP.

It was interesting to discover which postures were more and less challenging on the board. Balancing postures, my usual go-to freestyle move, proved to be much more difficult on the SUP, and my first attempt at crow pose, I fell face-first into the drink. A refreshing lesson that falling out of your pose isn't a bad thing. From the water, Lynn coached us, with cues to help with alignment, and we all started to get it, finding the postures that worked best on the SUP: plank; extended side angle; downward facing dog; wide legged forward folds (some of the yogi, including 70 year old Gene Lakusiak, popped up into headstand); and king pigeon. Essentially, the more points of contact you had on the board, the better.

The highlight of the weekend for me was our photo shoot at sunset. Mother Nature co-operated and delivered a fantastic sunset full of passionate pinks and fiery oranges for our backdrop, and Corey-Jill and Lori-Joe Lindroos (from Kenora, Ontario) made SUP-yoga poetry happen out on the water for all of us to see. They even hopped onto one board together and did some partner work. I thought my heart was going to burst with happiness.

At the end of the day, I felt nourished. The challenging morning yoga practice nourished our bodies with beautiful energy, the scrumptious vegan meals nourished our bellys, SUP in the sun into the wetlands full of wildlife nourished our spirits and the kula- the community- of incredible women and men on this retreat nourished the soul.

And the best part - we got to do it all over again the next day! :)

For Manitoba yogis looking to get their hands on SUP and create their own freestyle retreat, contact Scott Lakusiak at Abandon Shore Paddle Boarding, for rental and purchase information and for inspirational workshops over the winter, check out Yoga at St-Mark's calendar.

A big thank you to the Lakusiak family, Yoga at St Mark's, and Abandon Shore Paddle Boarding for such an incredible experience! Freestylers for life! <3

Rachelle Taylor is a writer, yogi, photographer, and the founder of Prairie Yogi Magazine. Taylor forged a deep connection to her practice while living in the Cayman Islands on a working holiday. The return to her hometown, in the heart of Canada, inspired her to create PYM with the intention to inspire, educate, and bring together the strong yoga community of the prairies. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Canada.

12 Nov 2012



Drumroll please..... Janna Barkman- congrats! You're the winner of the Mondetta MPG Yoga Prize Pack worth $130!

Namaste + enjoy!

- Prairie Yogi Magazine

9 Nov 2012


Don't step onto someone else's mat. That's the general yoga etiquette since I can remember. It honestly doesn't bother me if someone happens to step onto the corner of my mat. I like the idea of yoga etiquette, but I also like the idea of yoga just happening, too. 

My mat has become a sacred place for me. It's the place where I meet myself in person. With no expectations, no obligations, no fronts, and no "will they like me's?". The mat evolves from a sticky surface to a slate that is easily wiped clean each time I step onto it. Everything that forms and transpires along the way can come and go but the light always stays bright and I can glow just a little more as a result. 

With true dedication and the work I've put forth in my practice, I feel like I've really begun to shine. I shine when the pose just happens, and the physical effort turns into a strength that just supports rather than a strength that has to lead. 

Over the years my mat has lead me to places where my work would be revealed with my true self emerging along the way. It's hard to imagine that I can fly that arm balance I only saw pictures of. The steps I took on my mat are living proof that everything accomplished comes with great practice. I waited many years to give into the residing fear inside myself that told me "I'd never do that!". One day I felt a push inside and I gave that back bending arm balance a try. Wow! I asked myself "Did I really just do that?". It turns out, I did. From that particular moment on, I really started to believe that we can do more than we ever think that we can.

I am a true believer that possibilities are endless. I know that what transforms on my mat will be different than those transformations that take place on the mat beside me. The thing about yoga is that change will happen to each of us. The only similarities between us is that the change will be self clearing in someway and that the light inside of us inevitably shines brighter.

So go ahead, step onto the corner of my mat and maybe we'll end up sharing our yoga journey revelations and transformations with one another. My mat is my sacred place. My heart resides on it and there is nothing more beautiful than sharing a piece of that.

Written by Mei-Ling Chow-Mintenko

Mei-Ling Chow-Mintenko lives in Moose Jaw, Canada. She teaches yoga at Body in Mind Yoga. Mei-Ling is a proud mother to her little boy, Sam. Her favourite thing about being a mom is getting to watch Sam grow and share yoga with him. Mei-Ling loves to teach what resonates with her and to share the journey of yoga both on her yoga mat, in the studio and in writing. 
You can find Mei-Ling here.

5 Nov 2012


Welcome, welcome, WELCOME! We're so excited to have you visit us!

 In gratitude, we'd love to award one of our lucky readers...

Prairie Yogi is giving away a Mondetta Performance Gear yoga package worth $130!

Wanna win? It's easy peasy.

The contest deets:

- Write a short comment about your favourite place to practice yoga- be creative!
- Follow + Like Prairie Yogi Magazine on Twitter + Facebook!
- Follow + Like MPG on TwitterFacebook!

The lucky duck will be announced next Monday, November 12th, 2012.

Thank you to every single person who has supported this project. We're eternally grateful.

Namaste + good luck!

-Prairie Yogi Magazine

1 Nov 2012


Prairie Yogi of the Month Keith Macpherson from Prairie Yogi Magazine on Vimeo.

"I was failing French class in the seventh grade grade. I made a deal with my teacher- I had to translate a Bob Dylan song and play it in front of the entire student body at a school concert.

So there I was, in front of a huge crowd- and I started to bomb- hard. I had just learned to play the chords from 'The Cat Came Back' a few weeks earlier, so I started to strum the tune. The entire school started singing along with me. That was the moment I realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to perform for people."

Since then, Keith has stayed true to his teenage dream. He plays in the band Keith and Renee, has toured with Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden, reached top 14 on Canadian Idol and even David Suzuki is a fan of Keith. One of Keith and Renee's songs is featured on Suzuki's 'Playlist for the Planet'.

Keith has taken his musical talents and brought them into a different kind of studio- the yoga studio, of course! Keith has been teaching yoga for three years and often sings and plays the guitar during his classes. He says that putting the two practices together came quite naturally.

"I feel like yoga and music are one in the same really. I mean, yoga is such a creative expression and I feel like music is also a very creative expression and the two of them melt together really well."

- Written by Monique Pantel

We're looking for nominations for the next Prairie Yogi of the Month! Email us at prairieyogi@gmail.com with your nomination!

Keith Macpherson is a yoga instructor, recording artist, life coach, public speaker and energy healer living in Winnipeg, Canada. He's travelled to Kenya, Dubai, Hawaii for various yoga, music and healing related experiences. Find him on Facebook, Twitter + his Website.