30 Jun 2013

Tammy Takes on Hatha to Become Kidney Donor

Tammy Brazil walked into a yoga studio with a goal to lose weight in order to become
an organ donor for her sick husband.
Tammy carries a "before" photo of herself everywhere she goes.
In 2009, my husband Corey was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) - a type of kidney disease. Basically, his kidneys are scarred up due to a bad infection from when he was younger. He is in stage 3, with 15% usage left in both of his kidneys. Stage 4 is dialysis, or transplant. We have been very lucky so far, as we have been able to keep things under control with diet, exercise, medications and supplements. We were told that one day our luck will run out and we will need to find a living donor for transplant if we want to avoid dialysis.

As you can imagine, all of this changed our priorities. Before Corey’s diagnosis we lived in the moment. Worked hard and played hard. We took our health for granted when we ate and drank whatever we wanted. His diagnosis was our turning point. We slowly changed our lifestyle, picking up healthier habits while dropping the bad ones.

In January of 2011, feeling much healthier I decided to see if there was a possibility that I could be Corey’s kidney donor. After months of extensive physical/psychological testing/examinations, it was determined I would be my husband’s living kidney donor- I was in disbelief. He is getting my left kidney whenever, or if ever, he needs it. My surgeon informed me that it is very rare for a husband/wife to be the spouse’s donor and we are very fortunate that it will work out. We have a plan B! But… before the surgeon could clear me to become a donor, he wanted me to lose some more weight. I was down about 30 lbs - but it wasn’t enough. I needed to lose another to be in my healthy BMI range. The healthier and stronger I was, Dthe lower my risk levels would be. 

In the past I had tried yoga, but it never really stuck. Once again, I was motivated to give hot hatha yoga another try but this time I was much more than determined to make it work. Stress is very hard on the body and I needed a healthy outlet. I started practicing at St. James Hot Yoga in Winnipeg, Canada.

I started slow at first, practicing 2-3 times a week. It was very uncomfortable, as I was a very voluptuous size 16. I felt like I was fumbling and rolling around my mat. I didn’t quit, though. Tammy Martin-Beck and the staff at St. James hot yoga helped me so much. They were so patient with me and very supportive. They encouraged me so much! 

 After a many months of consistent practice, the inches started falling off. Then the pounds started coming off. My hard work was starting to pay off. I also realized something: the yoga was helping me feel so much more balanced! Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, too. Being a 43 year old woman, it’s hard to keep your hormones stable. This helped and continues to help me immensely! When I am in my yoga room, that's my time to get well, my time to rejuvenate, my time to help stay healthy.

I stepped into that yoga studio 2 years ago so I could reach my healthy BMI goal and become my husband's kidney donor. I have reached that goal, but I've gained much more. I was aware of the physical benefits of hot hatha yoga. I did the research before I started. What I didn’t expect was the emotional, mental and spiritual growth. It has helped me so much in my personal/professional life. In my journey I found a passion and love for yoga. I learned so much about myself. I walk taller and have a new found confidence. This is the best I have felt in over 20 years. Tammy and the staff at St. James Hot Yoga have helped me become a better person; they have taught me so much about myself and for that I am eternally grateful..

27 Jun 2013

Hey! That's Vegan - Tabbouleh Salad

Healthy and easy to make, this fresh salad uses local Manitoba hemp hearts and can be made in a pinch after a challenging yoga practice.

Prairie Yogi Phalyn Powell is a recent vegan and has made the commitment to remain vegan for one entire year- go girl! Since beginning her journey half a year ago, the vegan lifestyle has inspired Phalyn to start her own blog featuring simple, delicious vegan recipes that anyone can make. 

See more of Phalyn's recipes and follow the journey of this former cheese-loving French Canadian beauty to becoming vegan @ http://heythatsvegan.wordpress.com/

25 Jun 2013



For those who didn't win, you can still get your I am a Prairie Yogi racerback tank by emailing prairieyogi@gmail.com

Show your prairie pride with these sweet I AM A PRAIRIE YOGI tri-blend racerback tanks.
Choose between 2 sweet summer colours: pebble grey or seafoam green (women's S-M-L)
Men's tank available in Grey (size M only)
Only $30 + $5 to ship anywhere in Canada!
Email: prairieyogi@gmail.com to order yours


CLICK HERE TO WIN:  http://bit.ly/1333oxI

Giveaway, Prairie Yogi, I am a Prairie Yogi, Amber van den Broek, Winnipeg, Yoga, Yoga Prizes, Free stuff, American Apparel, Rachelle Taylor

Giveaway, Prairie Yogi, I am a Prairie Yogi, Amber van den Broek, Winnipeg, Yoga, Yoga Prizes, Free stuff, American Apparel, Rachelle Taylor

Giveaway, Prairie Yogi, I am a Prairie Yogi, Amber van den Broek, Winnipeg, Yoga, Yoga Prizes, Free stuff, American Apparel, Rachelle Taylor

24 Jun 2013


Yoga Warrior series, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, Asanas, Home Yoga Practice, Yoga philosophy, Noah Krol,

Warrior 1

• Square hips over front leg with a strong hugging to midline 
• Back leg rolls more inwardly, while extending through outer heel 
• Front leg, bend deeply in hip and knee, align knee over ankle 
• Lift belly, spine and ribs up through head and hands

Yoga Warrior series, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, Asanas, Home Yoga Practice, Yoga philosophy, Noah Krol,

Warrior 2

• Open and square hips to the long side of your mat, strong hugging to midline-back leg draws back and maintains a continuous sense of lift and inward rotation of the thigh bone-front leg rolls open as the tip of the tailbone tucks under, knee over ankle, in line with second toe
Lift strongly with abdomen, extend up through head and evenly out both arms

Yoga Warrior series, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, Asanas, Home Yoga Practice, Yoga philosophy, Noah Krol,

Warrior 3

As you step in to balance on the front leg, the back hip tends to roll open and the front knee buckles inward. -- To correct, start by taking a nice bend in the standing knee and drag the outer hip back to align knee over second toe. 
Maintain dragging the hip back as you extend the leg straight
Keep hips square extend out through back leg while extending chest in opposite direction
Hands can start on hips, then out to the side or over head as one can maintain square hips and a strong back and core

The hindu myth around the warrior poses is one that is more commonly known: 

The short of it is; Lord Shiva creates a fierce warrior, Virabhadra, to take revenge on his wife's father, Daksha. Daksha was strongly opposed to Sita's union with Shiva and out of spite purposefully excluded them from a big family event. In anger Sita killed herself by throwing herself into the sacrificial fire. Virabhadra is said to have been manifested from a lock of Shiva's hair. The three expressions of the pose are his decisive blows which essentially kill everyone involved in the gathering and Daksha's head ends up on a pike. 

It all works out in the end as Daksha is brought back to life, however now with the head of a goat. Sita is reincarnated in a new form and with patience Lord Shiva waits until he can be with her again.

It all seems rather aggressive for the Lord of Yoga and far from what many of us feel we are practicing when on the mat. Yet if you have ever held the poses for longer than a few minutes you may notice aggressive is not that far off with the welling heat and intensity that they can generate.

The story is a metaphor you could think of like this. Shiva and Sati (Shakti) are the universal pairing of consciousness and manifest. Daksha is the ignorant or concealing quality of Grace looking to corrupt its union. The fierce warrior is the dedication we bring to our practice, who upholds the integrity of the heart. The whole story is summed up with patience and humility. Shiva bound in form must still wait for Sati's reincarnation and Daksha forever living with the memory that nothing can separate this universal pairing. 

When we start to interweave these philosophies and metaphors into our physical practice, it is no longer a series of poses, but instead a deep & dynamic interplay of Grace. It becomes our chance to overcome that which wishes to keep us feeling separated and embody the courage to overcome that force with a humble patience; A means in which to transform the way we see the everyday physical world into the fullness of universal consciousness.

18 Jun 2013


Yoga dads...#swoon.
The super hubby/wife Abandon Shore Paddle Board team, Scott + Marie!
Savana, rocking our new tanks!

We hit the beach with fifty yogis this past weekend for our first SUP Yoga event! Our awesome partners, Abandon Shore Paddleboarding and yoga teacher Corey-Jill Lakusiak gave fifty Prairie Yogis the chance to have a beautiful beach yoga practice and learn to stand up paddle board!

As each yogi arrived they were greeted with a PY suede wrap bracelet, each group received different colours. The day was filled with freestyle yoga, using washed up, bleached driftwood and the beautiful landscape as a backdrop. Yogis from ages 4- 71 hit the beach and the boards for an awesome outdoor yoga experience. We definitely want to give Rachel from Dauphin a HUGE shout out. This Prairie Yogi drove 5 hours to attend our Freestyle SUP Yoga event- SO awesome. Thanks Rachel.

We also launched our BRAND NEW SUPER AWESOME PRAIRIE YOGI TANKS over the weekend. 
If you'd like to order a super soft Prairie Yogi tank email us at prairieyogi@gmail.com.
$30 pebble grey (s,m,l) + sea foam green (m).
Thanks to everyone who attended and organized the event to make it such a great success, your support means to world to us! Awesome turnout, awesome time!

Namaste Prairie Yogis!

16 Jun 2013


My father was a great man. A man wise beyond his years with the heart and joie-de-vivre of a kid. His lessons stick with me and I carry them with me everyday.

I thought I'd take this opportunity for Father's day to share his some of his wisdom.

#1- Physical activity is the best medicine.

Dad was an athlete growing up and a coach as an adult. He believed sport was invaluable experience for kids and their development that could push them to be the best person they could be.

Growing up, whatever had me in tears, weather it was a broken heart or a poor report card, dad's solution was always "run it off."

I discovered yoga after he died, too soon from a rare cancer in his small intestine, and found that it indeed was the best medicine to grieve.

#2 - Stick up for yourself and what you believe in.

The most notable event that highlights this lesson is a softball tournament when I was nine, dad was our coach. We were playing in this big tournament in Lorette and were undefeated thus far, but as the Saturday carried on, we lost a few players to dance recitals and prior engagements, so for our final game of the day, we were left with only eight players. Rather than let us play and take an automatic out each time the ninth player would have been up to bat, the umpire made the call to make us forfeit the game.

We were all disappointed, it didn't seem fair to make us forfeit when we all wanted to play, even if we were at a disadvantage. Coach Tom gathered us into a huddle (he was once an all-star quarterback) and asked us if we wanted to play. To which we all answered yes.

"Alright then, girls. Follow me."

Dad lead us to the pitchers mound and instructed us all to stand in a circle around it and to hold hands.

From the sidelines, the umpire asked us what we were doing. I'm sure all the girls on the team were wondering the same thing.

"We are protesting." Coach Tom replied from the circle, "we aren't moving until you let us play."

I remember the girls looking at each other in awe. We were standing up to something that we didn't think was right. And at nine year old, that was definitely something we didn't think we could do. We stood in a circle and chanted "let us play" until they did.

And they did.

I don't remember if we won the game or the tournament, but will never forget how on that day, Coach Tom empowered eight young women to stand up for what they think is right.

Thirteen years later, on his deathbed, he reminded me of this story and thanked me for having the courage to stand up with him, that that day meant as much to him as it did to me.

#3 - Be true to, and love, yourself

I  was taught from a very young age that being an individual was better than fitting in with the crowd. That bullies and haters are just insecure and envious, and that their words should never effect who you are and how you act.

While this caused some growing pains - my willingness to be different and fearlessness to be who I am and say what I mean meant I was never the most popular person in school or life. But I accepted quickly that that is who I am.

And this person who I had grown up to be, his daughter to a T, he wanted to make sure I loved every part of me, because he did.

 His final words to me were "I love everything about you. Even the things you don't like about yourself, I love."

The daughter of an anglophone from the west and a francophone mom from the east who met in the prairies and had bilingual babies, Rachelle Taylor is the founder of Prairie Yogi Magazine and considers herself to be perfectly Canadian. She discovered her yoga practice seven years ago and has never looked back.

14 Jun 2013


I was sitting in front of the group, ready to teach my very first yoga class.  I'd taken an Anusara immersion a few other workshops. And, I had spent a few weeks preparing the class and practicing teaching with my family. But, as I was sitting there in front of my class, I still had the feeling of "how did I get here?"

It was as simple as being asked, and saying yes. That is the same way that I began my career as a hair stylist 30 years ago. A friend asked me if I would cut her hair and I agreed. I committed to taking it on and then set my intentions toward doing it well. Saying yes has lead to a rewarding career. 

Now, as I am in the middle of training to become a yoga teacher, I am discovering that it is saying yes that will guide me on my new journey.  

I stepped into the role of teacher at the Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls Ontario last summer when a group of festival goers gathered to do a morning yoga class. Since then, I've taught a few classes at home for my family. My friend Janelle asked if I would volunteer to teach a class for a group of people dealing with anxiety disorders. Even though I was nervous and didn't know if I was ready to lead a class, I let my heart guide me and said yes.

Each experience has given me more confidence in my skills as a teacher and reassurance that I am headed in the right direction. When the next opportunity presents itself, I will say yes.

Kathy Baudic, 46, lives in  Winnipeg, Canada and works as a hairstylist. She has been married to her husband Mike for 20 years and have two children Rachel and Sam. Kathy has practiced yoga for many years and more intensely over the past four years. She will be finishing my teacher training this coming year with Robin Golt and Lynn Lakusiak.

12 Jun 2013


Here's Gene Lakusiak - Gene just turned 71 & has had two knee replacement surgeries. #noexcuses
When we tell fellow yogis about stand up paddle board yoga, their faces light up typically followed by a breathy "Coooool! Is it hard?". The answer is YA, it's SO cool, and NO, it's not hard- just different.

SUP yoga is all about adapting and being free. Adapting to the change in the breeze and the ripples in the water, learning to let go and being unafraid to fall. You can read about our SUP yoga retreat last summer here.

SUP Yoga Takes Away the Fear of Falling
Asanas that come easy to you on the mat may feel impossible on the board, but falling out of your dancer's pose on the standup paddle board is a refreshing reminder to practice from a place of grace, not of fear. 

SUP Yoga Lets You Be Creative
Leave the structured sequences behind. The yoga board is a place for you to be connected with yourself, balance and the water. Express yourself with any pose that feels right at that moment. One of our favourites is savasana... you literally feel like you're floating on water!

SUP Yoga Lets You Connect With Others
When you set out with a small group to do some SUP yoga, it's inevitable that someone will get splashed or fall into the water. In an SUP yoga adventure, you'll laugh, create memories and make new friendships. Isn't that what life's all about?

SUP Yoga Takes You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Balance is a completely different ballgame when you're on the stand up paddle board. Yes, you will probably fall. No, you may look perfect or graceful your first time. But the worst thing that could happen is you get wet! So try that headstand and let yourself try new things in your yoga practice.

Watch this video to get an idea of how asanas transfer onto the standup paddle board - a little shaky, but oh so sweet.

11 Jun 2013


This short documentary, created by Impact Studios, shows how urgent it is that we all act now
 to make a difference in our beloved lake.

With over 100,000 lakes in Manitoba have the most precious natural resource that a province could have: fresh water. And we prairie yogis love our lakes, especially in the summer, when 'the lake' becomes the saught after destination for our hard earned days off. 

Sunrise salutations on the dock and an afternoon dip in the water may just be our favourite way to spend a summer day.

However our love for our lakes isn't reflected in the current state of Lake Winnipeg. It is the world's 11th largest body of fresh water and it is in a current state of natural catastrophe. So much so that Lake Winnipeg has been named the Global Nature Fund's most threatened lake of the year for 2013. The algae in the lake is literally chocking the lake from the ground up.

There are over 6.5 million people, across four prairie provinces and four states, who are the cause and the solution to the algae problem on Lake Winnipeg and we have to work together to make a difference. There are things you can do everyday in your life that will make a big difference. Everything we put down the drains at home, at work, and at the cabin, all make their way into Lake Winnipeg. Making-lake friendly choices in the products we buy and use will help.

There is the assumption that to buy eco-friendly products and to be lake-friendly will cost you more money. But that is simply not true. Here are three planet-friendly products from the environmentally conscious brand, Melaleuca, that will help you to do your part in saving Lake Winnipeg, without costing you more than you would spend on grocery store brands.

Check out these Lake-Friendly products from our planet-loving friends at Melaleuca.

Melapower Laundry Detergent

This concentrated laundry detergent contains no fillers and is non-alkaline (meaning it is as gentle as tap water to your clothes). It is six times concentrated and does more with less, saving you money, reducing plastic waste, and keeping your clothes clean and fresh.

This is the only dishwasher detergent you will find without a child resistant cap or scary warnings on the bottle. This cleaner, derived from natural ingredients, is tough on dirty dishes, but contains no bleach or chorline and is ph-neutral, which is great news for for our lakes.

This ultra moisturizing shampoo works great on colour treated hair. And no need to worry about harming the lake with this sulfate-free formula.

To learn more about lake-friendly Melaluca products, call Dianne Gray-Wysocki, Educating Consumers to Make Wiser Choices, at 204-257-6140 or send her an email wysocki@mts.net.

7 Jun 2013


One hundred Manitobans were at the TEDx conference at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre on Thursday to be inspired by the TED phenomenon: the power of ideas.

This years theme was PLAY.

We were two of the lucky ones, hand-picked from hundreds of applicants, who got to soak up the intelligence, inspiration, and ideas that the fifteen speakers shared with the crowd of like minded people.
"No matter how well some of us may be styled in this room, we are all nerds at heart. That is why we are here." The opening speaker, Bradley Shende, said in his talk The Joy of Clicking.
The topics and speakers of the day shared their knowledge and strength, all centred around the idea of play. These two nerds really enjoyed the lovely Kal Barteski's talk The Art of a Polar Bear. Her story of anamorphizing the majestic animal left no dry eyes in the house and received a standing ovation.
And of course, our yogi hearts skipped a beat when one of the entertainment breaks, a burlesque dancer Robin Redbrest, stripped down to her lulu's to lead the crowd through a modified sun salutation.
We had a great time stretching our minds (and bodies) with the idea of play with the rest of the nerds at heart. The biggest takeaway from the day:

Play. Every single day. At work, at school, with family and friends. Play is how we learn, discover, deal with the tough times, and celebrate the good. Play is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and do something you have always dreamed of.