27 Nov 2013

KARMA YOGA + VOLUNTEERING FOR SILOAM MISSION


We have been blessed through Prairie Yogi to be able to bring some unique and wonderful experiences to our community. In this season of giving, we want to create an experience that really gives back and provides for those in need.
Join us for a 2.5 hour group volunteer shift at Winnipeg's Siloam Mission, a connecting point between the compassionate and Winnipeg's less fortunate that alleviates hardships and provides opportunities for change in those affected by homelessness. We will follow with a 60 flow yoga class taught by Jordan Bellan at the United Friendship Circle in the Exchange District.
We are asking for a $20 donation to participate, with 100% of the proceeds going to purchase Christmas meals at Siloam mission for those in need. 
Due to extremely limited space in these sessions, we are offering two time slots
-Wednesday December 11th,  6pm - 10pm
-Sunday December 15th, 8:30 am - 12:30pm
Namaste.



26 Nov 2013

Hannah's Story - A Battle With Anorexia Athletica




As I sat in my nutritionist’s living room, starving, shivering and talking seriously about my aversion to incorporating dairy into my diet- I remember feeling like I was watching myself, huddled in a chair in the corner, wanting to disappear. I was unrecognizable with brittle hair, vacant eyes, ridged nails, and weighing in at a scant 130 pounds- an alien number for my 6ft frame.

I had just finished my second workout of the day, an hour and a half of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and plyometrics; an exercise involving jumping on and off of a wooden box quickly to improve foot speed. By all accounts, I looked like an athlete, I trained like an athlete, and I preached the importance of being dedicated to fitness and health… yet I felt trapped, and worked out in fear of gaining weight and losing my identity as the “fitness girl.”

This was 2008, before “doing a fitness competition” was as common as running a marathon. At this moment, I had finished my first one four months prior. Unlike a lot of competitors, I didn’t binge after the competition- I had barely taken a “cheat meal” during the entire training period. For me, a fitness competition was a goal along a journey to “be the best version of myself,” which according to my trainers, was reducing my body fat to less than 10% by eating 1200 calories a day and doing an hour of cardio before breakfast, and another before bed. Despite taking an almost religious approach to training, I didn’t place at the competition. However, failing only gave me more incentive to keep on training. I couldn’t beat out my competition on stage, but I would “prove” my commitment to fitness by succeeding in maintaining my physique. I had no goal, no show, and no trainers- yet, my workouts took precedent over everything, and I stuck to my self-imposed diet of tuna, Edamame beans and protein pancakes without fail. With no trainers to tell me how to eat, I had spiralled down the rabbit hole and had made up my own list of “safe” and “bad” foods, the latter of which included nearly everything in my cupboard/refrigerator. By the time I decided I wanted to try and get onto a healthier path by hiring a nutritionist, I was dizzy, incapable of doing any complex brain activity, slowly flunking university classes, exhausted, grumpy 24/7, and suffered from stomach pains. But- I was constantly complimented on my weight.
That day, I asked myself: “how did I get here?”
According to a 2002 survey, 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15 – 24 years have an eating disorder. As this is a statistic from nearly 11 years ago, I can only imagine how this number has grown with the prevalence and growth of fitness competitions in recent years. I know that I contributed to it with what I only now recognize as being Anorexia Athletica; an eating disorder that (according to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre) is: “a condition where people over-exercise because they believe this will control their bodies and give them a sense of power, control and self-respect.”

Like others, I justified my Anorexia Athletica by talking about the health benefits of working out, and attributing any interventions by concerned friends as jealousy- becoming more reclusive as the disorder progressed, as social situations usually meant food, and food meant I had to talk about why I couldn’t eat any of it.

I’m sure some of you are wondering why I just couldn’t “stop,” and at the time, I wondered the same. I can assure you that those of us who have experienced something like this didn’t set out to develop this type of obsession over something that’s supposed to nourish us… It’s a vicious and devastating circle that sneaks up on you before you realize what’s happening. I counted calories on everything I ate in my head, having memorized nearly every food’s makeup- and began to binge on my once a week “cheat days” to the point of making myself ill. Once, I left a cheat-dinner with my ex-boyfriend early under the ruse of “forgetting my cell phone,” to (specifically) go home and eat cookies alone, meeting up with him only after finishing an entire bag of Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies. On the post-cheat day, the guilt would be so incomprehensible that I would usually hibernate in the gym for several hours, leaving only when I felt hungry and exhausted again.

I was petrified of gaining weight, but more importantly- I was scared of losing my newfound identity of the fit chick, the girl who gained respect from her peers by being committed to fitness. I found control that I was lacking in the rest of my life; where a relationship was failing, school was suffering, and where I experienced an overall lack of direction.

This is an incredibly unsustainable way of life, and after an intervention from my nutritionist; I began to slowly relax my eating habits. This confused friends and family, who would confront me if they saw me eating a cookie: “But it’s not your cheat day…?” (Yes, this really happened). I got sick of feeling like my eating habits were under a microscope, and (long story short), I gained almost 50 pounds within one year, bouncing onto the other end of the spectrum with a fried metabolism and disordered eating habits. I was equally as miserable and even more stressed, and dealt with my feelings by eating them.

Though my story is extreme, it’s not a foreign concept. Women have had a tough history with food and body image, and the term “disordered eating” applies to anyone who eats to feel better, to feel worse, to distract themselves from bigger issues in their lives, who feels guilty after eating certain foods, who’s obsessed with dieting and weight, or who feels out of control in regards to eating and food. Not only do we experience these nuances of disordered eating, but we also bond over it. How often do you and your girlfriends discuss what you’ve eaten in a self-deprecating way, or have heard: “I feel so fat today” in a conversation? We soothe one another and reassure each other that we “look great, have nothing to worry about, or look soooo skinny;” forming closer bonds to one another as a result of the “we’re in it together” mindset. In my experience, it’s far more rare to encounter a confidant woman who is totally at ease with her physical appearance (large, small, or other), who has a healthy relationship with eating and who refrains from joining these conversations. To other women, they seem full of themselves- when in reality; they have a much healthier sense of wellbeing than most. I feel fortunate to have met a few of these women (two being Rachelle & Monique), who are constant reminders of true beauty, inside and out.

So how do we stop this?

For me, stopping the cycle meant changing my focus from my aesthetic appearance, to building my much-neglected intellect, and seeking out fulfilling outlets for my creativity. I stopped working out (yes, really!), began experimenting with DJing & music production, and instantly felt a whole new world of creativity open up. A few months later, I began studying in the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and though it took some growing pains to adjust to college from university atmosphere, I finally felt like I found a place to which I belonged. As my DJing “career” grew and school became more challenging, I was slowly building confidence and (for the most part) was being judged on my abilities in both worlds, not my aesthetic appearance. Not surprisingly, I met a wonderful man who appreciated my confidence and newfound zest for life, and loved me (as cliché as it sounds) for “me,” never taking my weight into consideration (and in fact balking when I began to lose weight). One day I decided to weigh myself just to see what I was at, and lo-and-behold, I had shed almost 20 pounds. Flash-forward a year later, and my weight had shrunk even more after I began to take fun fitness classes like spinning and yoga (the latter of which has been the most humbling workout yet!!!). My weight is now at a place where I feel healthy, happy and strong.

To achieve this balance and avoid getting sucked back into the vicious circle, I only worked out when I felt enthusiastic about it, ate only when I was hungry, and refused to beat myself up for eating what I would previously call “cheat” foods. In fact, I stopped using the word “cheat” altogether, a suggestion from my nutritionist who insisted that foods were not bad or good; some were just more of a “treat” than others. I only weigh myself when I feel great, not to beat myself or to confirm how “fat I feel.” Finally, I’ve stopped engaging in conversations about what I’ve eaten with other women. Surprisingly, this has been difficult- I don’t like to seem stuck-up or full of myself, but I refuse to validate other women’s (or men’s, for that matter) concerns about food, and refuse to open myself up to criticism. Seeking validation from others will never fill you up as much as your own self-respect.

So… where’s the yoga?!

Though I’m no Madonna (or even a Rachelle/Monique!), I consider myself to be a baby-yogi who has discovered a love for “dancer’s pose” enough to bust one out in the middle of the street, if it happens to be that kinda day. Yoga has challenged me to build my humility and patience. As a former competitive volleyball player, cross-fitter and fitness competitor, you could say that I’ve had an unhealthy amount of confidence in my athletic abilities… Something that was deflated REAL quick after my first Bikram class. Through my practice, I’ve been challenged to quiet my thoughts, be mindful and present in each moment, and be patient with my journey to become more flexible, strong and balanced. I still marvel at how humbling it can be to fall out of Warrior 3, while women and men twice my age are as steady as rocks, eyes closed as I fumble around my mat. I’ve made it my goal to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine, and am excited to tackle a few poses that have been (at the time of writing this article), elusive. I hope to continue my growth with my practice, becoming more self-aware and connected with my thoughts- a goal for 2014.

I challenge you, my fellow prairie yogis, to disengage from unhealthy conversations about food, to compliment the women in your life on their brains, not their beauty, to talk to your daughters and young girls about what universities they want to attend, to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not. To Google women like Jean Kilbourne and Gloria Steinem. To be mindful of your emotional state, and to deal with it instead of transferring it into another area of your life. To stop giving a toss about what people think of you, and to start making yourself proud. I challenge you to find workouts that are fun, mentally invigorating, and that leave you feeling balanced.

I challenge you to love yourself with everything you have, and for Pete’s sake; have the piece of pie.

Namaste.

23 Nov 2013

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PRAIRIE YOGI

Photography by Tine Butler - Written by Rachelle Taylor
It seems like it's during the winter months that prairie yogis shine brighter than ever. It is when we prove that being from the prairies means being resilient, able to live and adapt admits the extremes. It also shows our ability to see beauty, light, and potential in the places & people overlooked by many. Our skies offer endless horizons and our hearts unparalleled kindness.


We are a special breed that values community, wanting to be a part of all the greatness happening around us. We honour the stories from our community, and spread the love far and wide across the continent and the globe. We love to experience the joys of life, trying our best to make each moment something wonderful, while away and at home.



It be a yogi is to renounce what doesn't serve you, to be content and grateful in the present moment - no matter what circumstances this moment presents you with. During this winter season, that tends to be harsh and trying, we face the challenge of extreme climate daily. But when the temperatures plummet and the height of the snow banks escalate, prairie yogis renounce the negative and discover the positive,  finding ways to get outside, enjoy nature, and live hearts wide open.

A big thanks to muse Kayla Core and photographer Tine Butler for submitting these photos inspired by our fall and winter line of apparel (featuring K.Barteski script art.)

19 Nov 2013

BLISS + BEATZ DEUX RECAP




Last Sunday, November 17th, over a hundred yogis packed the Fort Gibraltar in St.Boniface for Bliss & Beatz Deux- a special yoga and music experience. On the first snowfall of the season, our Yang Yin and Soul Power class participants piled into the historic voyageur trading site, laid out their mats and stretched into the night in front of a crackling fire.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the evening, sharing your talents and energy. It really was a special evening.

13 Nov 2013

A MAP TO HAPPY :)

In a serendipitous moment at Wanderlust Colorado this summer, we met Canadian yoga royalty Eoin Finn and instantly 'gelled.' The creator of Blissology Yoga has been teaching yoga for over 20 years across the globe, and lives by the simple principle that happiness is love, and love is nature.


Eion Finn paid us prairies yogis a little visit on his recent cross-country Earth - Body - Yoga tour and we got to catch up with him over Eggs Benedict at the Fort Garry Hotel and share a stroll at the Historic Forks. When we parted ways, he left us a little piece of him with us: his Happy Map - a beautiful creation of Eoin-isms. Since making their way onto my fridge, these sayings seem to inspire and make me smile everyday, so I thought I'd share them with you!




9 Nov 2013

DISCOVERING A HOME PRACTICE... FAR AWAY FROM HOME


Written by Sarah Carson, Photos by Leela Sharon 

Yogis from across the globe make the pilgrimage to India, seeking to drink from the streams of the origin of yogic tradition. Whether looking for an introduction to ashram life or to complete training intensives, journeying to the land of cows, call centres, and the worship of Shiva has become an all-too-clichéd rite of passage for the Western practitioner. But as for this Prairie Yogi, I embarked on a journey to the land of yoga to complete my master’s research – which consists of more agriculture and anthropology than alignment and asanas.

I knew going in that my corner of rural India was a far cry from a yoga hot spot – it was certainly no Mysore, Goa, or Rishikesh. But as I approached the move for my six month stay in Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh, I held onto hope that I would indeed find a teacher and a space for my practice.  I asked around, and asked some more, but to no avail. I wasn’t fully surprised: the women and men here start their day at 4:00am to gather firewood and prepare for the day’s work in the fields, not to drive to their morning hot power class.

I became aware the of anxiety that began to creep in my body without a daily yoga practice. While I could go on about the many ways in which I’ve grown and changed over the course of the past year in cultivating my daily practice, those ramblings are best reserved for another day. Fellow yogis know the rewards, as well as the challenges, of sustaining a daily practice. But the challenge I face now is in finding my feet in a home practice here in India, the motherland of yoga. Irony aside, my reluctance has allowed me to reflect on the role my home studio has had in my practice.

Back home my beautiful, spacious studio had all the fixins and was truly an urban oasis, boasting some of the city’s most inspiring instructors. Thanks to them, my yoga practice has grown leaps and bounds, but now I can’t help but wonder to what extent I’ve been coached, coddled, and lemon grass-toweled into inviting yoga into my life. My enhanced posture, general clarity of mind and much improved energy levels suggest that it is indeed me that has doing been the legwork, but the coming months will reveal whether or not I can invite yoga into my daily life without the guidance of an instructor or the immediate gratification that comes with studio practice.

From what I’ve read (believe me, I have no problem reading about home practice), this is a common issue for yogis like me. There is, or so I’m told, a tendency for some to get addicted to yoga classes, workshops and retreats, only to find that they lose focus once they try to put their practice into practice upon leaving the studio. Many of the folks you see at the studio day after day, present company included, are not likely to be spotted holding a five-minute headstand if one were to drop in on them at home.   



Excuses and anxieties aside, this time, I’m going to have to go it alone. But rather than gripe and grumble about a lost opportunity (‘why couldn’t I just have just chosen to study closer to Mysore!’), I choose to view this as an opportunely timed chance and challenge to find my very own practice. Being my own student and teacher will be more than a test of holding postures – and for that I’m thankful and looking forward to breathing it all in and out in my little house here in India.

6 Nov 2013

WINTER COLLECTION - GIVEAWAY - CLOSED


Our fall collection is available here.
You can find tanks, hoodies, tights, prints, holiday gift sets and more!

GIVEAWAY
For every online order purchased from now until Sunday, November 10th at midnight you will be entered to win a FREE double feature ticket to BLISS AND BEATZ DEUX (valued at $60)

CONGRATS TO ANDREE LABONTE!
 YOU'VE ONE A DOUBLE FEATURE TICKET 
TO BLISS AND BEATZ DEUX (valued at $60!)

A huge thanks goes out again to Kal Barteski 
who designed our I am a Prairie Yogi + There's no place like Om concepts.
Thanks to Prana Vida Style for creating beautiful handmade Prairie Paisley Yoga Tights.

Tanks $36 (s,m,l)
(raven)

Hoodie Dress $78 (O/S - fits medium)
(crimson)

Zip Up Hoodie $90 (m,l)
(salt + pepper)

Find much more in our online store!

See more at: http://prairie-yogi.myshopify.com/

5 Nov 2013

MOGA: YOGA IN SUPPORT OF MO BROS


The tradition of Movember began ten years ago in the land down under with 30 Mo Bros trying to raise awareness for men's health issues in Australia. The community has since grown to a worldwide movement and the power of the mustache is changing the face of men's health with over 1.1 million registered Mo's and $146.6 million raised in 2012.

Prairie Yogi is proud to to be a part of the movement to create an even bigger year in 2013, where we raise not only money across the prairies but also awareness for how to prevent men's health issues with the Move initiative (watch the video below for more info).


Physical activity is the best way to prevent health issues and increase mental health among men. The best way to prevent cancer, stress, and anxiety in is through daily exercise, and we want to inspire the men out there to get on the mat and get moving for their health.

We are teaming up with our friends at lululemon athletica polo park and Yoga Public to build and support our community with a series of MOGA karma yoga classes. Join us at these donation based yoga classes where all levels of yogi are welcome.

Come out to support the men in your life and bring the boys with you: your dad, your brother, and your main squeeze could all use some good stretches and deep breaths for a great cause.

MOGA EVENTS

November 6th (kick off) - 6pm @ The Metropolitan Event Centre
November 13th - 8:30pm to 9:45 Hot Yin @ Yoga Public
November 20th - 8:30pm to 9:45 Hot Yin @ Yoga Public
November 27th (wind-up)- 8pm - 9pm @ Manitoba Hydro Place
This last class is a wrap up class! 
Join us at this celebration of the stache! We'll be serving Prairie Yogi tea and treats, and there will be a moustache photo booth along with great give-aways. Sign up for the wrap up class here.

On top of these four MOGA nights, 100% of the Karma donations collected from Yoga Public's karma classes this month will go to the Movember charity foundation in support of men's health in Canada.

From the Movember Canada Website:
New research is showing that sitting and inactivity are linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and depression. Our bodies are designed to move; when we sit for extended periods it causes your body to shut down at the metabolic level. When your muscles (especially certain leg muscles) aren't moving, your circulation slows, using less of your blood sugar and burning less fat.


- In 2013, more deaths will be attributed to physical inactivity (5.3 million) than smoking (5 million).* 
- Men who sit more than six hours a day have an 18% increased risk of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day
- Today's 10 year olds are the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.*

THIS is why we have to take action and get our Mo's moving!

4 Nov 2013

SAVANNAH JOY - PRAIRIE YOGI OF THE MONTH NOVEMBER 2013



Meet Savannah Joy, your Prairie Yogi of the Month for November 2013. Savannah is the creative soul behind the Bliss + Beatz music and yoga events in Winnipeg, Canada.  We shot her video in this prairie yogi's neighbourhood of St-Boniface at colourful hummingbird graffiti wall (behind Café Postal) and the location of the next set of Bliss and Beatz event, Fort Gibraltar. Join us and Savannah at this historic location Sunday, November 17th for Bliss and Beatz Deux: choose from  Yang Yin or Soul Power yoga and music classes. 

A certified sivananda yoga and JOGA instructor, you can experience Savannah's classes at Yoga Public or in her private home studio, but to see her passion for yoga and music come alive, you have to experience Bliss and Beatz. 

Big love to our Prairie Yogi of the Month sponsor 99.1 Fresh FM.http://www.prairieyogimagazine.com/2013/10/bliss-beatz-deux.html

1 Nov 2013

PRAIRIE YOGI'S YOGA + SPA WEEKEND AT THE FORT GARRY HOTEL



It was no ordinary occasion, therefore it called for an extraordinary celebration. 

To ring in Prairie Yogi founder's 30th birthday (which happened to be her champagne birthday) we wanted to do something really special. After thoughts of a celebration beyond the city limits, we decided to opt for something closer to home, keeping with the belief that we don't always need to travel outside of the prairies for a great experience.

We were looking to incorporate elements of pampering, wellness, and fun into this special celebration and found all that we hoped for right in downtown Winnipeg at the Fort Garry Hotel's Yoga + Spa weekend getaway. Our staycaytion began at Yoga Public, where we got to enjoy a special class taught by guest teacheMichelle Kronenberg of California. We checked into our rooms (and robes) at the Fort Garry and headed up to the tenth floor for a self-admisitered hammam treatment, champagne and appetizers at the luxurious Ten Spa.

Watch the highlights of our wonderful weekend with great friends, family, and lots of smiles and laughs!

Interested in doing something luxurious for a special occasion, or no reason at all?  Go to www.fortgarryhotel.com to book your Yoga Spa Weekend Getaway Package.