29 Jun 2015


Goddess of Chill, Lynette Suchar, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Festival Canada, Yin Yoga, Slow it Down, I am a Prairie Yogi,
words by Lynette Suchar
It came out of nowhere, the name Goddess of Chill. I was only trying to set a light tone for the second half of the workshop. But it stuck.  I have come to realize how important the pause is, the space between. We rush around all the time, all day, all week, all year, no matter who we are or what we do for a living. Our fast-paced culture has deemed success as be more, do more, have more, move more, buy more. There is an ongoing dialogue on how technology, which was intended to allow us more free time instead has made us busier, always available, always on. I am not knocking down technology. I am on Instagram, showing off photos as often as the rest. But, I believe it is time to embrace the space between. It is time to also pause. To know it is okay to stop for a moment and to leap over our fears of missing out.

Goddess of Chill, Lynette Suchar, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Festival Canada, Yin Yoga, Slow it Down, I am a Prairie Yogi,
This realization of the importance of pausing in the space between, of letting go of needing to be busy, to be productive, of not worrying if we miss out on something, is reflected in my teaching more and more, which is why I love teaching restorative and yin yoga. As you move about your never-ending day, give yourself permission to slow your stride down to look up and notice the way the blue sky is peeking through the fluttering purple lilacs; pause for a moment in your yoga practice to feel the way your foot squishes into the mat and the way your breath swirls around your body as you exhale.

My Goddess of Chill workshop at Prairie Love Festival is perfectly situated at the very beginning of day two, the space between a busy first day spent inverting, dancing, and blissing out, and an exciting second day. This little class gives you the opportunity to get up early, reset your nervous system, fill up your well, and start fresh.

Sit, breathe, rest, get to know the place within that is craving calm. Notice how that pause is an essential tool for a balanced and healthy life.

26 Jun 2015


#PrairieLoveFestival, alex mazerolle, hustle + flow, yoga playlist, Yoga Festival, Manitoba Events
words + playlist by Alex Mazerolle
Music has always played a huge role in my life from a very young age.  One of my earliest memories is of my mother holding me as a baby and dancing around the house to Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier or my father playing Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain on his guitar.

I was put in dance at the age of 3 and ended my career at 21. Throughout those years I probably danced to almost every genre of music, which created a very strong appreciation for song production, writing and the over all mood a song can create.

The song always dictated the movement, the theme and the vibe. When I started teaching yoga, the lineage I came from didn’t play music. So I taught without music for years and I always felt like a piece of me was missing. Once I branched out and started to really create my own sequencing and style, curating playlists for class became an obsession. I would spend hours making the perfect mix for a power vinyasa class, every couple songs reflecting the flow, the core work or the softer and subtler moments.

To me, music is essential. It’s the soundtrack to every moment of our lives. It celebrates, it lightens and it breathes. Music makes me feel. Music says the words I can’t say. Music opens me up, inspires me and most of all moves me.

Sample Playlist:

A balance between new stuff, throwbacks and feel goods, always smooth enough for any yoga flow, dinner party or road trip:

Experience Alex's signature Hustle + Flow yoga & music experience at Prairie Love Festival. Earlybird tickets on sale now - scoop yours up before prices rise July 1st!

23 Jun 2015

Once upon a time... A Blissology Fairy Tale

words by Rachelle Taylor - president, Prairie Yogi Inc.
I'll always remember the day I met Eoin Finn. Monique and I were invited to be on the Wanderlust Festival journal team in Colorado in the summer of 2013. Our first day there was the fourth of July, and unbeknownst to us, it was on this American holiday we'd be thankful for being Canadian.

It was the first afternoon of the international yoga festival of epic proportions, the sun was shining above the mountain peaks, and we were lost. Very lost. We had no clue where to report or who to talk to about our writing assignments, and we spent that afternoon wandering aimlessly through the festival grounds. By a stroke of serendipitous luck, along our search we found our way to the Wanderlust VIP lounge, in the very moment that the festival organizers asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves. Internationally recognized yoga teachers and entrepreneurs took their turn telling the group who they are and where they came from.

When our turn came and went, I secretly hoped that no one was listening to our underwhelming introductions and realize we didn't belong. Once the introductions were over, a handsome surfer dude walked over.

"Hey, you guys are from Canada, cool! I'm Canadian too! My name is Eoin."

He looked familiar... I asked him if he was the guy from the yoga DVDs I sold back when I worked at lululemon. Yep, that was him. Turns out that this Canadian ex-pat was now a California yogi surfer who's been starring in yoga DVDs since before I knew what dogward dog was.
This was the beginning of our friendship with Mr Blissology himself, Eoin Finn.

That weekend in Copper Mountain, we had the opportunity to interview Eoin and find out about the foundations of Blissology yoga, and take in a few of his inspiring classes (including an arm balancing workshop where I successfully stuck pincha mayurasana for the very first time!) It was also on this weekend that we decided that we wanted to create a similar wellness experience in the prairies upon our return home, and that we would call it Prairie Love.

I knew that we had to get Eoin on board for Prairie Love's inaugural year. I texted or emailed him weekly for the months to follow, usually with no response. One day, he informed me that he'd be in Winnipeg on an upcoming tour and we could meet to discuss. In that meeting, he regretfully informed me that he had already been asked to headline a festival at the Joshua Tree in California that same weekend - although he hadn't committed yet. As we parted ways, I figured I had to give it one last effort. (In not one of my proudest moments) I begged him to be a part of the magic of this idea, pleading "We're just two girls with a big dream... to make something awesome happen for the Prairie Yogi community. And we need you to help us get it off the ground."

Two weeks later, he texted me "I'm in!" I swear I happy-danced around my living room for an hour.

And the prairie yogi community lived happily ever after :) Over 300 participants attended the first ever yoga festival in the land of big skies and big hearts, and so many got to practice with the one & only Eoin Finn, who brought his California surfer vibes to the prairies with Superflow: surf inspired yoga & his nature appreciation shrine to his signature Earth. Body. Yoga. workshop.

Reposted from @Blissology on Instagram
We're so excited to have Eoin headline Prairie Love festival once again this year, it wouldn't be the same without him.

This time around, he's sharing four workshops with our community, and bringing something extra special with him: his family! Eoin's yogini wife, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn,will be sharing her auyrvedic inspired teachings with two dynamic workshops. And this yoga power couple are also bringing a little bundle of bliss, their son Ananda, along for the celebration.

Luckily there are plenty of family friendly activities to keep the whole family flowing, moving, and grooving all weekend long at FortWhyte Alive!

Experience's Eoin signature brand of ocean inspired Blissology at Prairie Love Festival. Earlybird tickets on sale now! Get yours before prices rise July 1st!

22 Jun 2015


7 crystals for your toolkit, Rogue Wood Blog

words + images by Vanessa Kunderman of RogueWoodBlog.com


A crystal toolkit is the little box, bag or area you keep your crystals. Crystals like to have a home, whether that is permanently on a window ledge, as a paperweight in your office or in a great pair of earrings. But since we might have smaller stones that we use for different things like satchels, medicine bags, dream pillows, etc, it's good to keep them all in a place so you don't lose them. I recommend having a toolkit that is easy to find so you can quickly go to it whenever you're practicing something sacred or magical.


Everyone needs protection, whether that is from psychic attack (those negative vibes people can send our way), ourselves or even the unknown. Amethyst is really a "good for everything" stone and it has some of the strongest protective qualities out of the numerous crystals out there. While it is multi-functional, it's great to name as the Protector in your toolkit, so that every time you see its purple gleam, you feel its protective qualities washing over you. You can pluck this crystal out of your toolkit and take it with you whenever you're needing that extra dose of protection - or even if you're having bad dreams.
Your toolkit needs a protecting agent, a crystal that acts as the little soldier for your spiritual life and your Self.


Clear Quartz is a unique stone that can be programmed to serve us how we see fit. Whether we need extra help with focus for a tough series of exams, strength for the delivery room, or even clarity when making a tough decision, this crystal has the ability to hold programming that is later washed away with cleansing, ready for new use. You can program this crystal by setting your intention into it via holding it between your palms and visualizing the crystal turning bright pink as you tell it its purpose for the day (or whatever length of time you need it programmed for). Tuck it back in your toolkit when you're done.
Your toolkit needs a charger or programmer when you're first beginning - Clear Quartz can be programmed to help you in a specific area that can change and adapt as you do.


At risk of sounding like I belong in a Beatles song, the journey of spirituality has a lot to do with love. We're weighted down in a world filled with hate, fear and animosity. So much of our illnesses are derived for the burdensome stress we're filled with, forcing us to be exceptionally hard on ourselves. Rose Quartz needs to be in your toolkit because it promotes all kinds of loves, especially self-love, encouraging us to be easier on ourselves so we can blossom into the best version of who we were meant to me.
Your toolkit needs a love amplifier because in order to do your best possible work on this planet, for yourself and your loved ones, we need to let go of the toxic negativity that slows us down.


One common ailment in spirituality is not being properly grounded. As your awareness progresses, you also become more aware of not being "yourself" or in alignment with what you're trying to get done - and that can be big picture or from day-to-day. Whether we aren't feeling "connected" or we are too flighty and "up in the air," we need a stone that can help us stay focused and grounded. Smoky Quartz is great to use in conjunction with meditation or to help us stay connected to our purposes and missions as humans.
Your toolkit needs a grounding stone to help you stay focused and centred so you can continue to grow and flourish without getting distracted.


Obsidians are powerful crystals. They repel bad vibrations and suck negativity into their black cores. Any black stone will work, but I suggest Obsidian as your negativity absorber because of the different varieties it comes in and its other properties, like working very quickly. Just as Amethyst will protect and Smoky Quartz will ground, Obsidian is important to help YOU stay positive and to reign in positivity around you. It keeps the bad guys and all their bad wishes at bay, so you can focus on the most important thing: you.
Your toolkit needs a negativity absorber to help stay positive and healthy.


Carnelian has the ability to cleanse the stones it is stored with, meaning the other five crystals in your toolkit won't be worse for the wear after multiple uses (like that programmable Clear Quartz!). And while you should still find amethod to cleanse your stones by, having a cleansing stone is great for building your toolkit so you don't have to remember this little cleansing tidbit as religiously. Carnelian also anchors you in the present, which will help with grounding and growing in spirituality. Thanks to its colour and high energy vibration, its clean vibration will keep you motivated.
Your toolkit needs a cleansing stone for your Self and your other crystals! Cleanliness is a good habit to get into and your crystals will appreciate it, just like they appreciate having an identified home: the toolkit.


Full disclosure: I believe Citrine needs to be in every toolkit because it is such a catalyst for positive growth and abundance. It draws so much good to its owner that if you had to only buy one crystal, this would be a good one to start with. It's a prosperity stone and does wonders for your aura, keeping you clean and clear so you can enact change.
Your toolkit needs Citrine as a changemaker stone to give you that bright jolt required for big leaps forward into the realms of healthy living.

Building a crystal toolkit is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of crystals without overwhelming yourself. Since there are so many crystals out there that can fall under these categories, I encourage you to find crystals that work for you, so long as they hold the seven properties mentioned above. When you're ready, you can stretch your legs with more crystals, but starting slow is a great way to begin.

Want to learn more about using crystals? Join Vanessa Kunderman of RogueWood at Prairie Love Festival, she'll be hosting two crystal workshops: Crystals 101 + Crystals @ H'OM

15 Jun 2015

Yoga: Aligning with the Natural Cycles of Life

New Moon Goddess Gathering, Corey Lakusiak, Prairie Yogi, Cycles of life, Yoga, Meditation, Nature,
words by Corey Lakusiak
“The world of nature exists within a larger pattern of cycles, such as day and night and the passing of the seasons. The seasons do not push one another; neither do clouds race the wind across the sky; all things happen in good time; everything has a time to rise, and a time to fall. Whatever rises, falls, and whatever falls shall rise again; that is the principle of cycles.” 
-Dan Millman

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the outdoors. There is something so magical about spending hours on end hiking through the forest, paddleboarding on the lake, or simply sitting on the beach, feet buried in the sand, watching the world go by. It is in these moments that I feel most deeply connected to myself and to Nature. From this perspective it is easy to see the natural cycles of life and to know my place within them.

But living a modern life means to find a balance between spending time in the solitude of nature and engaging with the hustle and bustle of daily life. Besides being a nature lover, I am also a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, student, home-maker, artist, community leader, and yoga studio owner. These rolls are the ones that keep me connected to my friends, family and community and they give my life a real sense of passion and purpose.

So how does one strike the balance between Nature and modern living? For me, the balance is found in practice. Each time that I step onto the mat is an opportunity for me to reconnect with myself and to tap into my natural rhythms. I approach my practice as an opportunity to get to know myself from the inside out...like taking myself on a date. The natural cycle of the breath draws my awareness deep inside to a place that I can only access when in practice. Years of dedicated studentship have allowed me to learn how to move beyond the outer layers of my physical body so that I may cross the inner threshold to a place where I feel rooted in my being and connected to life itself.

Over the years, this inner gateway has become the portal to aligning not only with my ‘Self’, but with Nature. Yoga helps me to see the bigger picture and my connection to it. It is from this place that I am able to appreciate the cyclical nature of my life; the ups and downs and ins and outs of day-to-day living. By aligning with these natural cycles, I am able to see that Nature has the same cyclical way of being; sunrises and sunsets, the waxing and the moon, and the changing of the seasons.

When I am in practice, I feel like I am in the flow of life. But when I am out of practice, I feel out of balance with myself and Nature, and tend to struggle in all aspects of life.

Sometimes, realigning is just a matter of recommitting to my asana or meditation practice, but this does not always work. There are times when my practice feels ‘dry’ and I have a hard time reconnecting with the juiciness of life. In these times, I know that the key for me is being in Nature; submerging myself into the forest, taking a long paddle across the lake, or just sitting on the beach and quite simply becoming a witness to the bigger picture.

I am looking forward to sharing my experience of learning to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of life at the ‘New Moon Goddess Gathering’ at Prairie Love Festival during September 12th's New Moon. Surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature and steeped in the potent darkness of the New Moon, I will share yogic practices that will stretch and open your body, assist in drawing your awareness deep inside and helping you to realign with the natural cycle of life.

12 Jun 2015

Is life better buzzed?

Erica Blitz, Prairie Love Festival, #lifeisbetterbuzzed, peaceful warriors + magical messengers, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, benefits of meditation, yoga festival canada,
by Erica Blitz
Erica Blitz, Prairie Love Festival, #lifeisbetterbuzzed, peaceful warriors + magical messengers, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, benefits of meditation, yoga festival canada,
Zip! Zing! Shazam! I love a good buzz. Especially from coffee! 

As much as the serenity of nature is an absolute necessity, I love the hum of big cities. London calling! Berlin, jah! Hello Dubai! The people, the culture, the creativity, the diversity … bring.it.on!

I’m crazy for dynamic energy, the current of chaos and how it all flows together; unity through diversity. No wonder this urban metabolism translates into my practice: dancing with the breath, traveling/pulsing in and out of poses in creative transformations and transitions (oh, the world of transitions and how they demand us to move!).

While so many power yogis simply want their asanas kicked into great shape, I ventured to yoga with the intention of breathing a little easier. I sought out courage in warrior poses, stability in Vrksasana (Tree Pose), freedom in backbends and peace in Savasana. However, my mind would race about everything that I need to accomplish before the end of the day and throughout the week silently reminding myself to call my Mom, to pick up toilet paper on the way home, remember to get my bestie her birthday gift ... Stop it, I would tell myself. Concentrate on your breath. It's speeding up. Slow down. Inhale. One. Two. Three. Exhale.Three. Two. One. Positive thoughts. Why can't you do that? Blessings! Count them! Think happy thoughts. Fresh air on a warm summer morning. My wedding day. Go there. Now!

Eventually, as years of practice went by, I discovered a tiny corner of yogi in me when I realized something unusual happening. My life was transforming: a sense of balance, creativity and joy began to infuse every day – even if was a fleeting moment. I realized that while the pace of life was fast the pace of my practice didn’t need to be. In fact, it served me more to slow it down. If we don’t know the silence of the body, how are we to understand the silence of the mind?

While it’s no surprise to see #lifeisbetterbuzzed feeding through my Instagram photos of various adventures and coffee bars (ok, and maybe a few wine bars, too), I’ve learned that the magical manifestations of my outer life and accomplishing all of my heart’s desires are birthed from from an inner calm. There is beauty in brevity AND there is magic in meditation. 

The purpose of meditation is to step boldly into reality, to become more skilled at the art of living. Meditation shows us that we are much stronger and much more vast than our passing thoughts and feelings. And to gain this strength, we are required to soften. Yep, that’s right: through softness is where we find our strength.

Nothing that happens is to be ignored. Everything requires attention and mindfulness. And sometimes, this means slowing down, breathing deeper. and listening to the magical messages that surface in those mystical moments. When we busy ourselves with the rush of the world, we miss things - the important things: being present with the person in from of us, noticing the blossoming bud on the tree outside the window, the beautiful colours of a sunset. Even Ferris Bueller reminded us that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Join Serena Postel and I for a slow, deep flow at the Peaceful Warriors + Magical Messengers workshop at Prairie Love Festival. Together, we will create the space where you can stop and look around … on the inside. I invite you to meet yourselves exactly where you are, to release yourselves, to love yourselves. You will dig deep and cultivate your warriorship by slowing down and breathing deeper. 

When we breathe, we feel more. This practice is an invitation to feel, to listen, to find stillness in the pulse of the practice. Through the simple rituals of listening, being still, and becoming quiet we are better able to formulate clarity. That clarity, amplifies our capacity to seek and speak the truth, to soften our fears, remind us of our highest and to live our best life. 

“For the warrior, the experiences of a sacred and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness.”
~Chogyam Trungpa

9 Jun 2015

The 5 Reasons You (Mistakenly) Feel Marketing and Money Compromise What You Really Value About Teaching Yoga

#PrairieLoveFestival, Beth Martens, Femmepreneur, Women in Business, Money + Yoga, Teaching Yoga, The business of teaching yoga
Words by Beth Martens, creator of Femme-preneur
As a business, money and archetype mentor for women who went to India eight times and taught yoga for over a decade, I now teach simple steps for marketing and embracing money in an authentic voice so you can turn your practice into your abundant life’s work. To do this, you first have to be clear about why you might not doing it in the first place, so you create from a clean slate and explore the range of what is magically possible when you have clarity.

Here are the five reasons you may feel you are compromising your values when you market your services and aim for greater financial freedom, so you can begin the journey of finding satisfying abundance in the business side of your yoga practice.

1. You unconsciously hold limiting beliefs about the value of your life’s work and are stuck comparing yourself with other yoga teachers. 

You rock at what you do, you’ve trained, you’ve practiced, your work is healing and enlightening, and you make a big difference in the life of those you serve.

But when it comes down to it you still struggle with comparing your value, your pricing and your service with others, and feel insecure about what you have to offer because you hold stories in your unconscious about what you can’t do..

2. You think of marketing and money as necessary evils.

Money is a loaded subject, like sex (which is a closely related topic!). And it has a tonne of moral projections from society in general, especially the spiritual community.

But even within you, you have inner conflicts over ‘bottom line’ stuff that seems to have nothing to do with your love for yoga and spirituality.

3. You don’t think of yourself as an entrepreneur or business.

Many yoga teachers haven’t learned to see how the scope of their teachings is severely limited by rejecting business as a spiritual path. Just imagine how many more people you could serve if you were more abundant?

4. You haven’t learned to define yourself by the results you get for your students. 

We live in a culture that says, “what do you want to be when you grow up? A “this” or a “that?” And then when you decide, you automatically become the competitor of every other person who chooses the same as you.

So, if you learn to see you have unique brilliance, and get unique results for your students and clients, then with the right strategic plan you can easily have an abundant business that is one of a kind.

5. To include all of who you really are, you feel like you’re going in every direction.

When you discover you are not just a yoga teacher, or a yoga studio owner, or a yoga therapist - truth be told you have a number of interests, passions, seemingly unrelated skills and trainings - then it makes you miserable trying to fit yourself into one category. And to include more or even all of you, all you get multiple-business-personality disorder.

Even if you can’t see how to do it, you can be highly valued for not just your yoga, but your whole self, your whole life’s work. As I saw, from what I was told was my death bed from cancer in 2002, being valued is actually each one’s destiny. Even if you have no idea how to do it, you can be of the highest service and have a distinctly spiritual experience doing it all, including the marketing and the money.

#PrairieLoveFestival, Beth Martens, Femmepreneur, Women in Business, Money + Yoga, Teaching Yoga, The business of teaching yoga

If you’re curious what loving marketing looks like in your special service or business, please join me for my Femme-preneur in Action workshop at Prairie Love Festival, September 13th at Fort Whyte Alive, or visit my website www.bethmartens.com 

3 Jun 2015

Yoga + Activism = Social Change

Heather evans, Journeys on the Mat, Yoga + Activism, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, peaceful warrior
Words by Heather Evans
When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
- Audre Lorde

Yoga:  To yoke.  Union.
Activism:  Action to invoke social change.

“Yoga activism” has become de rigueur in yoga communities as of late and is a trend we should all be on board with!  I love that so many companies, studios, schools, teachers, and students are uniting their passion for our planet both on and off the mat!  

Yoga activism is the process of creating community centred around healing through movement, breath work, mediation and social change.  For example, a yoga teacher might use yoga to create outreach programs in communities that might not otherwise have access.  Another example might be a gathering of those who practice yoga to meditate and raise money for a specific cause.

Becoming an activist requires us to examine ourselves and do some deep personal work.  Yoga can give you the insights you need through asana, meditation, and pranayama - all things that encourage you to connect to your body, soul, breath, and mind.  In turn, by connecting there, we have the ability to tap into our passion, turning that into fuel for activism.

I would suggest that in order to begin this work of self-examination, we must first ask ourselves some questions!  We must constantly examine our places of privilege and experiences in order to better understand how we can create positive and lasting social change.

Heather evans, Journeys on the Mat, Yoga + Activism, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, peaceful warrior

The next time you come to your mat, I encourage you to take a moment in meditation and consider one, some, or all of the following questions.  As you consider these questions, notice how your body and breath respond.  Does your breath become faster or more shallow?  Deeper and longer?  Do you perhaps feel tension, anxiety, or excited?  Maybe you feel calm, peace, or something else entirely. Notice your responses and simply observe them without judgement. 

  • What lights me up?  What gives my life meaning and doesn’t run out?
  • Where are my spaces of privilege?  In other words, what don’t I consciously have to think about in my daily life (my gender or sexual orientation, my race or religion, the amount of money in my bank account, my personal safety, physical accessibility, and so on).
  • How do I listen?  How do I react when someone has a different opinion from my own?
  • What am I willing to give up in order to support justice and well-being for others and for our planet?  What am I not willing to give up?
  • What spaces currently exist where I can explore my area of activism or passion (clubs, networks, online spaces)?
  • What is holding me back from becoming involved - internally and/or externally?
  • What gives me strength?  What things inspire me?  Who motivates me?

Yoga can support our activism by allowing us the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual space to connect with ourselves and to examine those things that light our fires.  It also provides us with self-care methods as we evolve into ever-more aware activists.  By taking care of ourselves, we empower ourselves to be there in better ways for others and for those causes about which we care deeply.

Join Heather at Prairie Love Festival September 12 + 13th at Fort Whyte Alive to practice yoga + activism in unison in her inspired workshop Yoga + Activism = Social Change.

Heather evans, Journeys on the Mat, Yoga + Activism, Prairie Love Festival, Yoga Girl, Prairie Yogi, peaceful warrior
Heather Evans, MS, RYT-200 is the Founder of and Motivation Maven at Journeys on the Mat. She is a passionate teacher who is inspired by everyday moments of bravery and is fiercely dedicated to social justice and equality.  In her classes, there is a deep emphasis on breath, playfulness, and personal empowerment. Her mission is to break boundaries and connect people to the moment and their deeper selves in shared spaces of inspiration and support.

1 Jun 2015

What’s it Aum about?

Adrienne Shum, prairie love festival, kirtan, bhakti yoga, Aum, OM, Yoga, Prairie Yogi,
Words by Adrienne Shum // Photos by David Quiring
If you go to enough yoga classes, sooner or later you will probably be asked by the teacher to chant, “Aum” (also known as Om).  If my own experience is relatable to others, you will be obedient enough to go along with it, but quietly wonder what it means and what the point of it all is.

The practice of yoga is a study of dichotomy: the word “yoga” is often translated from Sanskrit to “union,” or the bringing together of two parts.  We tend to begin our yoga journey with a physical practice of asanas (postures) and breath work; with those tangible aspects we uncover and connect to deeper layers of ourselves: the fluctuations of our minds, and the roller-coaster of our emotions.  We may discover that those thoughts and emotions cause us grief.  Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or emotions like jealousy and fear limit us and cloud our internal vision.  Expectations we have on ourselves or situations may be unfulfilled, leaving us feeling empty and disappointed.  Through the practice of yoga, we recognize our patterns and learn to accept ourselves as we are, and to accept others as they are as well.  As we unite body, breath and mind, we learn to make peace with ourselves and others.

Amidst all the downward dogs and forward folds, there might be some chanting of “Aum.”  This is a glimpse into one of many possible paths that ultimately lead us to a place of deeper surrender and compassion.  When we chant Aum, we are able to clean the body, mind and spirit, thereby reawakening our connection to the most truthful, innermost part of ourselves.  The vibration of the sacred syllable Aum shakes off the dust covering our hearts and minds so that we can love with more clarity, honesty and fearlessness.  Aum is made up three syllables: “A” symbolizes speech, “U” symbolizes mind, and “M” symbolizes breath of life.  All together, Aum is the symbol of serenity, divinity and universality.  

The practice of Kirtan is an aspect of the yoga practice that is focused on spiritual and emotional healing.  Through the call-and-response chanting of Aum and other mantras, we devote ourselves to uncovering Isvara, or pure awareness - that place inside that is unconditioned, unbound, and unlimited.  

As wonderful as it is to feel strong and flexible in our bodies, let us also feel strong and flexible in our hearts and minds.  Let us have the dedication to move towards greater compassion and deeper connection to others.  Let us take care of ourselves in body, mind and spirit, and may we inspire others to do the same.  

Adrienne Shum, prairie love festival, kirtan, bhakti yoga, Aum, OM, Yoga, Prairie Yogi,
Practise Kirtan with Adrienne at Prairie Love Festival on Sunday, September 13th (18:00-19:30)!  To listen to Adrienne’s live Kirtan album, please visit: www.adrienneshum.bandcamp.com.  To find out more about Adrienne, visit: www.adrienneshum.com.  For further reading on Aum and yoga, consider BKS Iyengar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.