28 Feb 2014

PHOTO RECAP OF YANDARA YTT IN BAJA

It's crazy to think that in a just few short weeks, a have infinitely deepened my yoga practice, made life long friendships, unearthed personal revelations, and become certified to teach vinyasa yoga - and learned how to do so straight from the heart.

I could say a million things about my experience at the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja California Sur, Mexico... But since a picture is worth a thousand words... I'll let them do the talking.
Class time smiles :)
The time class stopped to watch a family of whales frolicking in the Ocean
Our first class accommodations
Hammock enlightenment
Community meals
Cactus arms

Bird's eye view of the beauty of the Yandara property
  

Personal reflections in nature

Lunchtime breaks at the beach
Our graduating class
Footprints forever etched in my heart.

If you have ever thought of completing your own 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I highly recommend Yandara, be sure to check them out. Namaste.

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.

24 Feb 2014

SWAMIJI'S 5 STEPS TO BRING ALIGNMENT INTO YOUR LIFE



Written by Carley Van Osch for Sivananda AshramYoga Camp

“Go to the West. People are waiting.”

These were the instructions Swami Sivananda gave his disciple, Swami Vishnudevananda. With this, Swami Vishnu left his native of India in 1957 to spread the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta through Western culture. Swamiji observed that Westerners had material comforts unfathomable in his village upbringing, yet were still longing for something… unfulfilled. This led to the establishment of the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Montreal in 1959. Eventually his practical program based on the synthesis of yoga caught on like wildfire, and Centers and Ashrams began popping up in countries worldwide. Still fearing for the fate of humanity in its volatile state, Swamiji created the True World Order. His first act was to develop the Yoga Teacher’s Training Course in 1969; one of the first of it’s kind. The well rounded training included influences from each of the four paths of yoga: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga, suited to meet each disposition. The course spread rapidly throughout the globe, and Swamiji began boundary breaking peace missions, propelling his dream for external peace through inner peace.



How to achieve this peace? Swamiji’s simple 5-step recipe, aimed to bring alignment into our lives. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for with yoga? A little balance, a little clarity, a little bit of a break from the everyday chaos that becomes our lives.

It begins with proper exercise. Asanas to stretch out each limb and muscle group, the perfect physical challenge for every age and ability. Keeping your practice invigorating, challenging, and stimulating through trying new postures, longer holds, more advanced variations. In yoga, there’s always room to go further.

Proper breathing: introducing pranayamas to quiet the mind, expand lung capacity, balance the hemispheres of the brain. Start with Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma, graduate to more advanced pranayamas once you have been practicing for an adequate time.

Proper relaxation: laying quietly in Savansana after practice, consciously releasing tension limb by limb. Being aware of the feeling of each body part, and releasing any strain in turn. Sorry Yogis, sitting on the couch scrolling social media is not the body-mind relaxation we’re going for…

Proper diet: listening to what your body needs instead of what your mind says you “should”. Some days the chocolate cake, some days the kale salad. Eat what makes you feel good, mentally and physically.

Finally, most importantly, most elusively, positive thinking and meditation. Sitting down to meditate, even if it begins with 5 minutes a night, yet tenaciously building your practice bit by bit. Bringing your concentration to a chosen focal point, inhaling and exhaling rhythmically, mentally repeating a mantra. Each time your mind drifts off, gently, forgivingly, returning it to the mantra, the focus point, the breath. With this, training your will power to control what is allowed to enter your psyche. Catching those destructive thoughts when they pass through, and consciously choosing not to dwell, but to observe and release them. This simplest of powers will cause an enormous shift in your perspective.

It all comes down to this: as Swami Vishnu put it:
“The spiritual investigation of life’s purposes requires a keen intellect and a strong will; these are the products of a healthy body and mind.”

20 Feb 2014

BIG SKY BRUNCH + YOGA


Salute the sun on Sunday, March 30th! A blissful yoga class and delicious brunch will be held at the Skyview Ballroom at The Marlborough Hotel. Join us for a celebration of community, friendship (bring your bestie!), great food and the upcoming spring equinox. Yes, we said spring. It's coming... trust.

EARLY BIRD PRICING ENDS MARCH 15TH

Get your tickets here! We can't wait to see your smiling faces again soon! 

19 Feb 2014

UNION: PARTNER YOGA RECAP


A big thanks to all sixty Prairie Yogis that gathered at Union Sound Hall on Monday night for UNION: Partner Yoga. Andrea Robin guided the practice while Danielle Loewen assisted. Sheena Groeb delighted us with her beautiful live music, too. 

Afterwards, we feasted on A Little Pizza Heaven vegetarian pizza and sipped A Place in the Sun fair trade wine. Vita Health provided health bars for all of our Prairie Yogis to take home and 99.1 Fresh FM gave every yogi a water bottle! We also gave away a $100 gift card to Hermanos and two tickets to our next Prairie Yogi event!



12 Feb 2014

PARTNER YOGA: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE


Most yogis may be familiar with couples yoga and acro yoga even if they themselves have never practiced either, yet very few are aware of partner yoga. After witnessing the exchanging of energy, the deepening of intimacy and the broadening of communication in my couples yoga classes, I was determined to increase my understanding of this special interaction. I discovered partner yoga while looking to certify in couples yoga. Little did I know how much it would open my mind & heart.


I consider partner yoga to be the mother of its two more popular offspring. Couples yoga is practiced exclusively by those in an intimate relationship and acro yoga involved beautiful and intricate forms of balancing with another person or more. Partner yoga is about connection. A connection to one’s partner and to the Earth, a feeling of simultaneously being grounded and an uplifting of your heart & spirit. You can practice partner yoga with a friend, your child, family member or (my favorite) a stranger. Both of you need to come to the mat with a willingness to try something new, to communicate with another person in a new way and to free yourself from any preconceived notions of how you are supposed to behave within the boundaries of a human interaction.

Within the safe confines of partner yoga, we learn ways to safely touch another person with compassion explore new dimensions of non-sexual intimacy, thus allowing ourselves and others to trust, surrender and form a greater sense of community. It creates an opportunity for us to transform the way we look at others and ourselves, while having fun and fostering a greater sense of love in our world.

From a purely physical standpoint, partner yoga allows us to deepen our practice and explore familiar asanas in new ways. Physical touch is very healing to the body and soul when offered in a safe, platonic way. I have heard the term “therapeutic” used by one of my partners after a session. Having someone to act as a support, foundation and a guide, allows you to surrender to the practice in ways you are unable to do on your own. You can yield into the blissful feelings that accompany a supported Matsyasana (Fish) while your partner sinks deeper into Balasana (Child’s Pose).

I see and feel the energy in a room change greatly during the course of a session. The embarrassed, shy looks and movements give away to laughter, hugs and encouragement. Invisible walls collapse, hearts open and smiles widen. No yoga experience is necessary to practice partner yoga. All levels of experience are welcome.

It is an honour and a blessing that I am able to share Partner Yoga with my Winnipeg Sangha. I hope to see you out at Union Sound Hall on Feb 17th!

Namaste.

Andrea Robin is a Winnipeg born and bred Yoga instructor who loves helping people to heal themselves through yoga. In her spare time, she coordinates the Winnipeg Chapter of The Power of Movement, Canada’s largest yoga fundraiser.

10 Feb 2014

A BEGINNERS' GUIDE TO MEDITATION

Photos submitted by Prairie Yogi Rachelle Taylor while in
Mexico at Yandara Yoga, immersing herself in her yoga teacher training.
 
-Written by Noah Krol-

The task of calming or engaging your mind to attain ultimate world peace can seem a little daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Over thousands and thousands of years in every region of the globe, various types of meditative practices have been going on, and all with common interest: a union of our body and mind with God/ The Supreme/ Grace.

Imagine your body and mind as a wild horse wanting to run wild and free. However if you try to control it or break it, my guess is you'll get trampleded. So how do you begin the process of Meditation?

TIPS FOR SET UP
- Have enough props and find a comfortable seat, weather it be crossed legged or on the heels.
- Keep your meditation space tidy, but leave your props set up to serve as a constant invitation.
- Create an alter, with all that inspires your life, so that when you sit that's what you're taking in.
- Be relaxed in your seated position and allow the breath to flow as freely as you can.

Meditation must be approached with both a humble softness as well as the firm discipline to keep coming back to your bolster. It is both the process of "letting go" of the min that doesn't serve your highest Self, as well as engaging your mind in habits of thought and attitude that serve the brightness of life. I am going to offer you a simple process to build a home meditation practice, a practice where discipline is built out the simple joy of the breath.

Meditation is an affirmation of life, more particularly, your life; so treat it as such. Start with a minute, a simple minute (use a time) to sit tall and enjoy the breath. Allow this minute to be dedicated entirely to the breath. Other thoughts will arise, so when you notice yourself thinking of straying from the breath, simply come back to a sense of enjoyment and gratitude for the breath. Even if some days feel like you're faking it, keep opening to the potential joy. Feel as though this is the only minute you have to truly savour the fullness of life.

Every few days, add another minute with no rush to get to a certain time. Instead, allow the feelings of being totally absorbed in the breath, with gratitude and joy to be the markers of success. Time will take care of itself as the joy compels you to sit longer.

Siting for 50-60 minutes is not meditating if mind and body are agitated. True meditation arises from being completely absorbed with the grace of being. The more you feel this emerging blissful consciousness, the more relaxed, open and alive the body, mind and breath will be. I encourage you to build your practice out the sustenance and fullness of grace rather than by trying to restrict its movement. Every thought, every feeling, is the flow of grace moving through us. Simply direct it back to the eternal source; it only takes a minute.

As this breathe and Mantra are practiced, we begin to be are of our intrinsic connection of being both the animated and the animator, as well as the consciousness that holds the space of the mitness. Said another way, we are the stage and the director of a play, its actors and its audience.


MEDITATIONS
On an inhale, mentally say AHAM
(I am This)
As the breath is drawn in with this Mantra it feels as though the whole world, everything in creation is everything that we are.

On the exhale, mentally say IDAM
(This is I)
As the breath is released with this Mantra it feels as though the world as we see it is a product of our own projections.



Noah Krol 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.

7 Feb 2014

PRAIRIE YOGI GREEN JUICE


Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko


My new obsession: green juice. I realize that it's a bit of a trend at the moment- but I've discovered the reason why: it lives up to everything it promises. Radiant skin, better digestion, increased daily nutrient intake, and a better sense of overall wellness- at least that's what I've experienced. Green juice has added a kick to my morning yoga and meditation routine. It's been over a month since I've jumped on the big green wagon and today I've decided I can't not share with you.

It looks weird, tastes awesome and the clean up is a breeze (I hate dishes). By drinking this first thing in the morning, you knock back a major dose of super foods and nutrients that deliver glowing skin, a healthy digestive system, and a sharp mind. Recently, I've picked up Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko, a book that discusses green smoothie nutrition that includes scientific data, testimonials and general information about incorporating green juice into your life. The author includes recipes too.

Here is what I generally start my morning with, however the great thing about green juice is that you can modify the recipe using whatever fresh ingredients you have in your kitchen. I also like to add things, like ginger for example, if I'm feeling under the weather. This concoction is cool, refreshing, and also surprisingly filling. 

Prairie Yogi Green Juice
3 cups of water
a handful baby kale
2 stalks of celery
1/3 cucumber
1 kiwi
1 apple
fresh squeezed juices of a lemon, lime and orange

Directions
Using a blender (we like the Blendtec), mix all of the ingredients together on high. 

Try to drink this every morning and you'll notice the benefits quite quickly! CHEERS!

Armed with her camera, Monique Pantel finds purpose and passion in telling stories creatively through photography and video. Pantel is a creative soul, serial optimist and co-owner of Prairie Yogi Inc. Having lived both in Winnipeg and Brandon, Pantel has been enamoured with the beauty of the prairies for much of her life. This love for the Canadian prairies has taken a bigger expression through Prairie Yogi Inc., a digital media property and brand that celebrates yoga in the heart of Canada.
A dedicated yogi for over 10 years, Pantel finds focus and connection through her yoga practice. 

4 Feb 2014

UNPLUGGED


After almost a decade of dreaming about it, I am about to cross a huge goal off my bucket list by completing my yoga teacher training certification and begin my journey as a yoga instructor. The options for how and where I could study were literally endless. My love of sunshine and the ocean drew me to a tropical destination, and I've always known that I loved the creative aspect of Vinyasa yoga. Through a referral from fellow Prairie Yogi Becky Watson, I decided that the Yandara Yoga Institute in Mexico was where I'd begin my journey as a yoga teacher. A couple of things immediately concerned me about Yandara: the tent accommodations. and the vegetarian diet. But I figured these would be good for me, a carnivorous city girl, and add to the experience. It was only after registering for my three week, 200 hour teacher training that I was informed about the scariest part of this journey (nope, not the scorpions).... Yandara, about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, is off the grid and completely solar powered, therefore there is no internet, no cell service, and no computers are allowed on campus. The phone is there for emergencies only. All students are required to unplug during the course of the training. I'm an online marketer, running Prairie Yogi is a life of being completely plugged in. I am always online. My computer is one of the first things I see every morning, after my partner and my iPhone. The idea of having to turn off and unplug is absolutely terrifying. Which is why I know it's essential to the journey: it's a lesson in letting go and connecting – plugging in – to something greater. Sitting in the Vancouver airport, only 30 minutes left of connectivity before I embark on this soulful journey, I begin to panic. Check my email one last time, send one more text and another, update my Facebook status, download one more song to my ipod. I look at my phone to see what time it is... Do I have time for a quick Instagram? And so I'm out. Hasta luego – can't wait to share my experiences with you upon my return to connectivity. Could you go three weeks without your phone, the internet, and your computer? Join Rachelle in her Yandara Yoga Institute experience and try to unplug for a full 24 hours.

3 Feb 2014

PRAIRIE YOGI OF THE MONTH - FEBRUARY 2014 - ANDREA ROBIN



Meet Andrea Robin. Robin is passionate about partner yoga and helping to heal people through a yoga practice. A yoga teacher in Winnipeg, Canada, Robin also lends her talents to great organizations like The Power of Movement and great experiences like the upcoming Prairie Yogi event (UNION: A Partner Yoga Event)!

To experience partner yoga, come and join us on Monday, February 17th from 6-8pm at Union Sound Hall for UNION: A Partner Yoga event. We've got fair trade wine, delicious pizza courtesy of A Little Pizza Heaven and nutritious snacks thanks to Vita Health. Purchase your tickets here.


Please continue to vote for your Prairie Yogi of the Month! We love hearing your recommendations and feedback. We also LOVE telling stories and featuring amazing yogis doing wonderful things in the prairie community. And just a reminder that Prairie Yogis of the Month do not have to be yoga teachers! If you have someone in mind you would like to see featured as your Prairie Yogi of the Month, email us at prairieyogi@gmail.com!