30 Jan 2015

WINTER SUN GRANOLA BARS

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

My favourite Winnipeg winter days are crisp and bright: the snow is fresh and crunchy underfoot, the trees draw sharp profiles against a cloudless blue sky overhead.  Seeing the bright white and blue landscape makes me feel like I'm sitting in front of a blank piece of paper; it is a time to reflect, time to anticipate, time to simply be.  However, these sunny days are also the coldest, and all I have to say about that is to echo what a wise Alaskan once told me: "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes."  Enough said.

To best enjoy this time of year, it is important to take care of one's body, mind and spirit.  Ayurveda (the traditional healing method originating in India) advises that in winter, we nourish ourselves with warm and cooked foods, bundle up properly, and spend time with our loved ones.  So invite some friends over for breakfast, and make this granola bar recipe together!  Better yet, make a little extra to stuff in your pockets and enjoy during a walk on the frozen river.

Winter Sun Granola Bars

While there are endless variations and replacements to be made in a granola bar recipe, the following choices were settled upon due to Ayurvedic principles that suggest we eat according to the seasons.  We will be serving these granola bars at the Om Nom Nourish workshop on Saturday February 7th, but in the meantime, try them out for yourself!

This recipe uses sunflower seeds and sunflower butter, which were obvious choices due to their very punny attributes (sun!).  Moreover, sunflower seeds are very nourishing and good for all the Doshas.  Black sesame seeds were included as they contain high amounts of solar energy (which we could all use more of during short winter days), and like sunflower seeds, are very rejuvenating.  Millet and amaranth are gluten-free ancient grains that are high in protein and fibre, and along with oats, they are calming and strengthening foods that can soothe the winter blues away.  Both raisins and cinnamon improve digestion, and cinnamon helps to warm the body - a very welcome attribute in winter.  Brown rice syrup and maple syrup have relatively low glycemic indexes (meaning they do not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other sweeteners), and more importantly, having a little sweetness in your diet will make you a little sweeter (wink!).
makes 12 bars

1-1/2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
1-1/4 cups millet puffs
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unroasted, unsalted
1/8 cup black sesame seeds
1 tbsp amaranth seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Meanwhile, in a small pot, gently heat the syrups and seed butter, stirring with a spatula.  When it has warmed and loosened up, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.  The mixture will be very sticky.

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

Scrape it all into a 9x12" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Spread it out evenly and with slightly wet fingers or a rolling pin, smoosh the mixture down so it is well packed (this will help it stick together).  Bake in a preheated 300 F oven for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool completely before cutting.  There is also the option to not bake the bars and stick the mixture into the freezer to firm up!  A short visit of 10 minutes in the freezer should do, and then the bars can be cut.  I prefer the toasty flavour of the baked version, and cooked foods are more appropriate for this time of year - plus, turning the oven on in the winter makes the house warm and cozy, which is an added bonus.

Ayurveda Recipe, Adrienne Shum, Winter Sun, Prairie Yogi, Ayurveda Winter Self Care, Granola bar recipe

About Adrienne:
Adrienne Shum is an Ayurvedic counsellor and yoga instructor in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  When she isn't practising and teaching yoga and Kirtan, she is usually found in her kitchen making something good to eat.  To find out more about Adrienne, please visit: www.adrienneshum.com.


20 Jan 2015

Build your Personal Practice


Words by Heather Gorder Pantel
Thank you for sharing your practice.  Namaste.

I start at the end in order to develop the beginning: the personal practice.

One of the things that drew me to yoga teacher training was the prospect of deepening my own practice… even though my practice was basically nonexistent aside from a few reps of a sun salutation now and again.  Many of us yogis don’t maintain a personal practice, because it can seem complicated and demanding.  I personally didn’t know what to do for a daily practice or how to guide myself through postures and I depended on a studio class (like a lot of others do out there!) to fulfill sixty minutes of yoga and accomplish a full flow.  

It would be wonderful to be able to attend a studio class every day, but a lot of us yogis out there don’t have the time, cash, or convenience of a nearby studio to maintain this.  If we are lucky enough to have a studio practice what do we do on vacations or Sundays or holidays? 

Start slow

A gentle integration is an essential warm up for more complicated and demanding postures later in your series.  Yoga is extremely dynamic exercise that can place great demands on muscles and joints and it can be only after an injury do we truly recognize the value of slow, steady, and comprehensive warm ups.

Take as long as you like

It is a mistake to trap ourselves into the idea that we must fulfill sixty minutes, that we must get up at 6 am, that we must yada yada yada.  Ten breaths in child’s pose might be what we need today.  Tomorrow might be something more.  The important thing is to breathe and stretch and keep loving yoga.

Now I really mean it, thank you for sharing your practice.  Building a personal practice is extremely rewarding and adds an anytime, anywhere yoga freedom to our lives.

**

About Heather Gorder Pantel

I grew up in Saskatchewan at the edge of the boreal forest with a view of the rolling prairies and I have a great love of this landscape and a desire to write about it.  I have also lived and practiced photography throughout western Canada, I have trained in ceramics in the Kootenays, and completed yoga teacher training in Colorado. My husband and our collection of animals are seeking now a forever home with that same great view I knew as a kid where we can live, love, and practice yoga close to nature.
Examples of my pottery can be seen at www.potteryforthepoeople.com


13 Jan 2015

CHAKRA FLOW II: SVADHISTHANA

Chakra flow, rachelle taylor yoga, yoga for healing, water element, svadhisthana chakra

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.  ~Carol Welc
h
 
The chakras, wheels of swirling energy in the subtle body, have become a buzzword in the yoga world. These seven energy centres have inspired jewelry, art, yoga classes, and music. But what are they? And how do they apply to your body + health?
In this series, we will delve into the seven main chakras of the energetic body, one at a time, to bring you to a deeper understanding of your energetic body. Through awareness, meditation, and exercises this ancient Tantric yogic wisdom can be used, in conjunction with your yoga practice, to recognize and work through blockages within the body. The release of these blocks encourages a sweet flow of energy that promotes holistic physical and mental health.

Last week went to the root of the energetic body, Muladhara and grounded down into the physical self. This week, we journey upwards into Svadhisthana, the second chakra, located in the upper part of the sacrum, just below the navel. The element this chakra is water, and the colour of this energy is orange. Its basic right is to feel and have pleasure.

The second chakra develops between the ages of 2-3 years old till about 6 years old, the point in our lives when we begin to separate from our tribe and begin to interact with others outside of our family. This chakra deals with our relationships, creativity, joyfulness, and pleasure. Its main issue/block is guilt.

Physically, this chakra is connected to the hips, groins, and reproductive organs. Svadhisthana's purpose is movement, joy, and connection.

Picture yourself at 5 years old, running through a park on a warm sunny day. You're not running to get anywhere, or to achieve anything in particular, you're simply running (with arms flailing about - without a care for how you look or what others think of you) because it feels good. That's svadhisthana. 

Asanas to balance Svadistana

Chakra flow, rachelle taylor yoga, yoga for healing, water element, svadhisthana chakra

- Dancers pose (N
atarajasana)
-Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
- Revolved Triangle (Pavritta Trikonasana)

*When practicing these poses, find a flowing element. Visualize yourself as flowing like water, creating fluid movement between the beath and each pose. While in the pose/meditation, picture a sweet, beautiful sunset.



Learn more about the chakras through asana + meditation with Prairie Yogi's Chakra Flow, a 7-week yoga series starting this Wednesday January 7th at 210-70 Albert Street taught by Rachelle Taylor. 6:30-7:30pm. $15 drop in or $77 for all 7 sessions. Purchase your pass online or drop in.


12 Jan 2015

LIVE THE HEALTHY LIFE - PRAIRIE NATURALS RECIPE + GIVEAWAY

Sponsored content by Prairie Naturals
To live a healthy life is a common resolution for the new year. But what does living the healthy life mean to you?

For us at Prairie Yogi it means a daily dose of movement (on the mat, in the pool, or on the pavement) and giving our bodies the fuel it needs to support that activity. And of course, when possible, we like to provide nourishment for our bodies with real, healthy food and supplements.

When you begin living your intention of living healthy, looking at food labels in the grocery store can be an alarming awakening. It seems like everything (even health foods) is chalk-full of things you don't want to put into a healthy body: GMOs, high sugar, fillers (that can contain gluten and animal by-products) corn starch, etc...

Thankfully there is a Canadian company, Prairie Naturals, who wants to make having a healthy lifestyle a little easier. Their range of products can be used by vegans, vegetarians, gluten intolerant, and people with digestive issues. This family owned business avoids putting preservatives or anything artificial into their products.  All their products use non-GMO ingredients, and have no additives, sugars, starches, or anything else that can block absorption. Everyone can find a product to suit their needs/dietary restriction to incorporate into their healthy lifestyle.

"Live the Healthy Life" is an empowering reminder to us all that our choices matter. We have the power to decide to live in a way that embraces our health and wellness. It also reminds us that living a truly healthy life includes living a more earth-friendly, ecologically sound life. And it makes us mindful of our responsibility to support and enhance the well-being of others; not only our immediate friends and family, but people all around the world." -Robert Pierce, Prairie Naturals President. 
These Organic Seeds Chocolate Truffle Rolls are tasty, easy to make, and perfect fuel for the yogi on-the-go.
Organic seeds chocolate truffle roll, prairie naturals, healthy snack,
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5 Jan 2015

CHAKRA FLOW I - Muladhara

The chakras, wheels of swirling energy in the subtle body, have become a bit of a buzzword in the yoga world. These seven energy centres have inspired jewelry, art, yoga classes, and music. But what are they? And how do they apply to your body + health?
In this series, we will delve into the seven main chakras of the energetic body, one at a time, to bring you to a deeper understanding of your energetic body. Through awareness, meditation, and exercises this ancient Tantric yogic wisdom can be used, in conjunction with your yoga practice, to recognize and work through blockages within the body. The release of these blocks encourages a sweet flow of energy that promotes holistic physical and mental health.
We begin at the root of it all with Muladhara, the root chakra. This wheel of swirling red energy is located at the base of the spine, is connected to the earth element, and deals psychologically with survival and our physical identity.
"The mighty oak was once just a nut that stood its ground."
When working with the root chakra, we work with grounding principles, growing strong roots and connecting with the earth.
Psychologically, this chakra develops early on in our lives (from the 2nd trimester in the womb to 2-3 years old) and the deals with security, the connection to your tribe/family. Its basic right is be to here and to have. Its main issue/block is fear.

In the physical body, Muladhara deals with the lower extremities of the body. On the mat, we offer grounding into the lower body, connecting into the legs and feet.

You must first ground to begin on your path of growth.  It is only with strong roots that we can rise up energetically towards the divinity of the higher chakras. 

Asanas to stimulate Muladhara

Images by Cynthia Bettencourt photography

-Mountain (Tadasana)
-Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
-Tree (Vrksasana)

*When practicing these poses, focus on grounding through all four corners of your feet. Visualize root growing downwards into the earth.
**For best results, practice these poses outside, barefoot, to truly connect with the earth element.


Muladhara mantras to use in your meditation / yoga practice
"The earth supports me and meets my needs."
"It is safe for me to be here."
"I love my body and trust its wisdom."

Yogi, Prairie Yogi, Rachelle Taylor, rachelle taylor yoga, Cayman Islands, Bliss Yoga Cayman, Yoga + Sup, IN the moment, Intention, Bliss
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy spirit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty and bliss around the globe only to return home to Winnipeg where she created Prairie Yogi Inc. +  Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for yoga, epic experiences, and community. A vinyasa yoga instructor (200 RYT), eternal student, rookie meditator, and inspirational speaker on the topic of living your passion, Rachelle brings her enthusiasm, light and authenticity to her vinyasa yoga teachings.