29 Jan 2013

YOGA + CROSSFIT

 

Yoga and Cross Fit are seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum when we tend to think of physical or spiritual activities... But are they really? 


They are more deeply alike than might appear at first glance and each discipline holds great opportunity for deeper success in the other. I would like to use an analogy of a hand to illustrate an idea. What makes the hand of use is its ability contract/close and in contrast, its ability to open/expand. The whole of the human body works much the same way. If we are deeply contracted (Cross Fitter) without the ability to deeply expand (Yogi) or vice versa we are not in balance. To be able to pull and not push or expand but not contract would lead to a great deal of problems in the body...and does.


From a completely physical point of view, will Yoga help Cross Fitters? The answer is yes and here's why: 


Other than sudden trauma most body injuries are a result of poor musculoskeletal patterning leading to strains into particular muscle groupings or joints; This over time leading to myriad of disfunction in the body. The practice of Asana, as we begin to take the body through larger ranges of motion with specific holds and alignment, gives our neuro-muscular system a chance to re-balance its self on a fundamental level. With focus on good alignment we are forced to hold tone in underdeveloped muscles to balance over tight areas, as well as, allow the time to unwind deep connective tissue holding patterns that result from muscular patterning. As the body moves more efficiently through its ranges of motions, less energy is lost, injury chances decrease and all the strength gains are now done in away that is supporting better biomechanics.


I tend not to see two disciplines, simply movement. 


A hamstring is going to create flexion at the knee and extension at the hip whether your dead lifting or in revolved triangle. I say don't choose between strength and flexibility, create both. The increased strength of Cross Fit lends well to the Yoga practice as well. I'm not just talking physical, which seems obvious how it would help with arm balancing, inversions and overall endurance, but to the mental as well. Yoga is also a discipline that requires deep engagement of the breath, mind and senses. What better way to test that than with some heart pounding physical exercise that will make you wanna quit at every turn. I personally have experienced some of my deepest moment of presence and honesty while in the midst of an overhead squat or burpee's. 


Don't take my word for it though, get out, move and experience it for yourself.


- Written by Noah Krol.



For juicy hip + leg openers, try Noah's 5:30 - 7pm class on Tuesdays and open your heart + shoulders at Noah's 5:30 - 7 pm class on Thursdays at Peg City Yoga in Winnipeg's Osborne Village.

Yogis looking to give crossfit a try, go see our friends at Undefeated Crossfit.

Noah is the owner of Peg City Yoga in Winnipeg, Canada. Noah is also a 2200 hour graduate of Foothills College of Massage Therapy. He holds a dilploma in Fitness and Nutrition as well as a Personal Training Specialist certificate through Can Fit Pro. Noah is accredited with a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and Personal Development program and working towards apprenticing with the Canadian Wing Chun Association.

27 Jan 2013

TIPS FOR A BALANCED ALL-INCLUSIVE VACATION



Jamaica - PY Styles from Prairie Yogi Magazine on Vimeo.
If sprawling white-sand beaches aren't in your plans this year, live vicariously with this little viddy we put together on our latest trip to Jamaica thanks to Sandals. Ya Mon!


In the prairies, we enjoy our extreme climate and its beauties, but sometimes a week away with no worries is needed to carry us through those long, dark winter months. 

Jet-setting to warm destinations is part of our culture - here are some tips to help stay balanced on your all inclusive vacation this winter.

#1 - START OFF YOUR DAY WITH MOVEMENT

The morning is the best time to work out and get your body moving, it gets your metabolism going to deal with the all-inclusive buffet, clears the mind to allow you to appreciate the moment, and sweats out the toxins from last night's wine hangover.

Start your morning off with just 20 minutes of exercise, whatever you choose. May we suggest sun salutations on the deck, a serene walk along the beach, or a morning paddle on an SUP, when the water (and your mind) is at its calmest. 

#2 - STAY AWAY FROM THE SLUSHY
While all-inclusive vacations may seem synonymous with pool bars & Piña Colodas, those slushy poolside cocktails are full of sugar and cream that will only weigh you down and leave you feeling sluggish. Opt for a lighter beverage (vodka & soda water with lots of fresh fruit, or rum, water & a little bit of fruit juice).

If you've just got to have the slushy, grab some fruit from the breakfast bar and ask the bartender to blend it up with your favourite spirits. Sandals resorts have a wonderful fresh fruit smoothie bar - hit it up before going to the bar to get your slushy fix!

#3 - ENJOY THE FLAVOURS OF THE SUN + SEA
While the pastry counter at the buffet can be enticing, why not immerse yourself in the culture and opt for the lighter, local fare offered? Sunny destinations are blessed with tons of fresh healthy options. Eat plenty of fresh local fruit and fish to stay balanced and savour the tastes of the country. 

Big thanks to Sandals Negril for inviting us to enjoy a sunny week in Jamaica. :)






Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty, and bliss only to return home to Winnipeg where she founded Prairie Yogi as an expression of her love for creativity, yoga, and community.






25 Jan 2013

CULTURAL BRIDGE


“Que significa Namaste, Carly?”- “What does the word Namaste mean?” asks Ingmar. Ingmar has been taking yoga classes with us for two weeks. We find ourselves sitting on a plywood platform in a clearing amidst the jungle, the Papaya Grove. We're tucked away in a small coastal fishing village in Nicaragua, after our daily yoga class. We discuss how we can honour that light within self and community by using one simple word: Namaste.

Ingmar has no previous knowledge of yoga, no cultural reference point. Her question opens up a discussion about the philosophy of yoga 101- in Spanish. We consider the idea of the eternal soul, glowing from within. We contemplate “agradecimiento” or gratitude, and how we can incorporate it into our daily life and yoga practice.

At the end of our discussion Ingmar looks me in the eyes and says, “Namaste,” I respond, meeting her gaze. As she walks off, I sit on the platform alone, and I cry. What a beautiful moment we have shared. Yoga has this effect on people.

As regular practicing yogis, we have many reasons for stepping on the mat daily. Some for relaxation, meditation, and others to build strength, some experience better mental focus or better digestive health; the list is endless. In North American culture, yoga is trendy and therefore widely accepted. In Nicaragua, yoga is relatively unknown.

In Nicaragua, life is raw. People in the pueblos lead a life of necessity. It is a place where people work to put food on the table. Dwellings are simple; there is no excess here. Yoga and the entire wellness culture is a foreign entity. Dominant religions of the area misinterpret yoga, and it is mistaken as a conflicting religion to be avoided. By others maybe a posture has been witnessed as tourists practice on the beach.

As yogis living in this fishing village, we aim to connect with the local population; culturally, socially, and emotionally. Naturally, living together creates a desire for deeper understanding and sharing. We seek to create a bridge- a setu- for greater understanding, to allow us the opportunity to connect on a deeper level. Through yoga we are provided with a safe platform from which to focus on promoting healthy thought and activity.

We recently teamed up with two local non profit organizations: Project Wave of Optimism and The Sweet Water Fund. We began offering weekly wellness classes in Spanish. These classes provide the opportunity to learn about achieving a balanced state of health; incorporating a variety of daily exercise, nutrition using locally grown foods, a beginner level yoga, and meditation practice.

The results have been profound and a community has been created. Sharing our practice together has created neutral territory for us to gather, connect and laugh together! A safe meeting ground to grow and share together with no outside prejudice. Women who never took time for themselves now say they sleep better at night, their neck and shoulder pain has dissolved, and they feel more relaxed. These women notice that they feel great when paying attention to their breath, and enjoy things exactly as they are in that moment. Wow! I have seen women sharing yoga postures with their friends, and encouraging more community members to attend the classes. After the classes, we see the women walking together, or going for a run up the hill.

Yoga breaks down barriers. It deepens relationships to self and community. Every day I give thanks for the opportunity to live this, to share my passion in this community, to learn from my students, and to continue to learn from my own practice.

Winnipeg native Carly Chivers is a lifelong student of yoga, and the ocean. Always surfing her longboard, between classes, she lives her passions, and leads a life ignited. She loves to share that fire with others and see their fires burning bright with passion too. Learn more about cultural exchange in Nicaragua at www.projectwoo.org, and www.sweetwaterfund.org
To experience the Papaya Grove and learn to surf, see us at www.papayawellness.com

24 Jan 2013

PRAIRIE YOGI OF THE MONTH SAM MANCHULENKO



Meet Sam Manchulenko. Her positive energy is absolutely contagious... we're in love! This gal has been teaching movement for over 20 years and yoga since 2009. Sam is the owner of The Lifestyle Pass in Winnipeg, Canada. She is passionate about Feed the Children, a charity that opened up an opportunity to go to Africa in 2011.

Sam is currently running a workshop focused on making 2013 your BEST year EVER.

Enjoy!

16 Jan 2013

CARDAMOM MAPLE RICE PUDDING



This season is a time of Kapha, which means that there is a greater sense of heaviness and groundedness due to a predominance of water and earth elements in nature. As such it is the best time of year to rest and rejuvenate, and it is natural to feel the need to slow down and live quietly for the next few months. With that, I can think of nothing better than curling up on the couch with a bowl of rice pudding to soothe the body and mind. This recipe uses cooked rice, though of course you can use dry (just cook it for longer). Otherwise, it is a great way to use up leftovers. Rice and milk are very calming foods, while the nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom are all warming spices that improve the digestive system and increase Agni, the digestive fire. Cardamom in particular stimulates the mind and heart to promote clarity and joy, which I hope you feel when you eat this.

Coconut Cardamom Maple Rice Pudding

1 cup cooked rice (basmati or jasmine works well), mashed
3 cups milk (or your favourite unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
2 tbsp coconut flakes
4 tbsp maple syrup
A few tbsp chopped pistachios (as garnish)

Heat everything (except the pistachios) gently in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. If you like, fish out the cardamom pods. Scatter over some chopped pistachios and serve warm, with blankets handy. In the summer, this would be delicious served chilled. Enjoy!

Written and photographed by Adrienne Shum

If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda, Adrienne is hosting her next Ayurvedic workshop at Moksha Yoga Kildonan on Saturday January 19th, 6-7:30 pm. Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, is the traditional Indian approach to healing. This workshop will discuss the fundamentals of Ayurvedic philosophy related to diet and encourage you to cultivate mindful eating habits. Please visit Moksha Yoga Kildonan's website or the event's Facebook page for more details.

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). Contact her for Ayurvedic nutrition consultations and upcoming workshop dates at adrienne.shum@gmail.com.   

14 Jan 2013

THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE


Whether you're a namaste-newbie or vinyasa-veteran, yoga challenges are exactly that: challenging. We've compiled some tips to help you get to day 30 of your challenge, successfully.

MAKE A SCHEDULE
Look at your studio's schedule and compare it to your life schedule. Dedicate one class per day that accommodates your schedule and stick to it. Some yoga studios have apps where you can pre-register for classes and hold you accountable for attending classes.

GRAB A BUDDY
Sign up for a yoga challenge with a friend who has similar goals and schedule as you. Not only will sharing the yoga challenge experience be fun, a buddy will hold you accountable. 


INDULGE IN THE GOOD
Balance is key. We've just wrapped up the summer and after indulging - and sometimes overindulging-  it's time to treat yourself to wholesome, nutritious foods. Organic fruits, veggies and smoothies are at the top of our list!

TREAT YOURSELF
A new water bottle, PY yoga tank, or maybe a fun yoga mat can put an extra jump in your step. Treat yourself after a week into your challenge! Book a massage at the end of your challenge and use that as an incentive to complete your 30 days successfully.

GET YOUR Z's
Sleep is so important for your yoga practice- especially if you're planning on downward-dogging every day! Make your rest a priority and your mood, body, mind and practice will thank you. 

Monique Pantel is a photographer, writer and passionate yogi living in Winnipeg, Canada. She also happens to be the online editor and creative director for Prairie Yogi Magazine. Monique loves to create, whether it's writing, cooking, painting, photography or free-styling fun sequences on the yoga mat!

Find Monique online at her website here.

3 Jan 2013

5 TIPS FOR BEGINNER YOGIS


With the New Year and its resolutions in full swing, we've noticed lots of newbies in our classes this week. With the intention of helping everyone reap the benefits of a yoga practice, we've put together this list of tips to help the aspiring yogis out there.




Do your research


You wouldn't start a post secondary program or sign up for a cooking class without doing some research first, so treat your yogic education the same way. Research the studios in your area, and the styles of yoga they offer to ensure you are going to get out of your practice what you are seeking. Weather it be weight loss, spirituality, increased flexibility, or community, all studios & styles are unique and have something different to offer.

Prairie Yogi's studio directory is a great place to start!



It's not going to be love at first samastitihi


My very first yoga class, a woman said to me: "you aren't going to love it the first time, and maybe not even the second. You are going to need to commit to at least five classes in the next two weeks for you to start feeling what it's all about." I am so thankful to this woman, because I don't know if I would have returned for a second class if it weren't for those words. She was right, it wasn't until my third class that I actually started to get the postures and to feel bliss.

Most studios have great two week or one month intro rates for first time students, so invest in yourself and commit to doing at least two classes each week for that period.

Talk to the teacher


Be sure to get to your first class at least 15 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to get registered and familiar with the studio space. Talk to the teacher before the class, tell them that this is your first time, and inform them of any injuries that you may have This will give them a chance to give you extra support throughout your class and show you any modifications that your body may need.

Take a few extra minutes after class to ask the teacher any questions that may have arose during class, remember… There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Dress comfortably


You don't need expensive yoga gear to have a great experience, just breathable, comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely and be comfortable.
Set a yoga goal for yourself (i.e. I will attend three classes a week for my first month) and once you complete that goal, reward yourself with a sweet new yoga outfit. that will get you excited to keep coming back to the mat.


Leave your ego at the door. 


This can be very challenging, even for seasoned practitioners. You may feel clumsy and foolish your first time on the mat, unfamiliar with the postures, and feeling like everyone around you is judging you. Don't worry, their focus is on their own mat, and if they have noticed you, they are not judging you, they are actually sending love + light in your direction. We've all been there.

Let go of your feelings of "I'm not doing this right" and "I must look ridiculous right now" and instead, be grateful to yourself that you have brought yourself to the mat, and are starting your journey towards better physical fitness and connecting your mind, body & spirit.

We at Prairie Yogi want to help you get what you want out of your yogi journey. If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own, please share!

Illustrations by Émilie St-Hilaire

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.