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Yoga AND Sailing? Yes please!

28 Oct

I’m so happy to announce that I will be co-leading the first retreat hosted by Viveka Yoga, my home away from home in Lachine. From March 10th-17th 2015, The wonderful Marlène Graveline-Leduc and I will be sailing away with a group of sailors/yogis to explore the Exumas in the Bahamas. Marlène and I will be offering 2 yoga classes per day, on different beaches in the Exumas. We will also be offering vegan food and cooking workshops, meditation sessions, and the chance to connect to a powerful community while sailing the open seas!

If you are interested in joining this adventure and becoming part of this community, please get in touch! Spots are extremely limited!

Poster

I see so many parallels between yoga and sailing – living in the moment, letting go of control, listening to your intuition. Living on a sailboat for 7 days will also be an incredible experience in sangha (community) as we share food, share space, and share bathrooms…! I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to share my passions with a group of people in such an exotic locale, and I’m also looking forward to a little digital detoxing. Disconnecting from social media and emails, and connecting to the ocean and sandy beaches will definitely be welcome!

Let’s escape winter together! Mark your calendars for March 10th-17th 2015, and get in touch with us to reserve a spot!

 

 

 

“Good morning, Good morning, it’s great to see you too!”

12 Aug

“Good morning, Good morning, to YOU!”

For the past couple of months, I have been practicing a morning ritual that really sets the tone for my day. It helps me create intention, harness positive thoughts and energies, and makes me feel prepared to go out into the world and leave my mark. I love it so much that I felt compelled to put it on “paper” (aka my little blog) and share it with you all.

My alarm rouses me at 7AM, and I roll out of bed, straight onto my meditation bolster. Inspired by a meditation I did on Yogaglo with Amy Ippoliti, I meditate for 15 minutes, preparing my meditation timer for 5 minute intervals. For the first 5 minutes, I meditate on gratitude, and write down 3-4 things I am grateful for on that morning. For the next 5 minutes, I practice ujjayi pranayama, or victorious breath. You begin by closing the back of your throat just enough to make an audible sound with your breath, not unlike the sound of the ocean… or Darth Vader. Many have likened it to making the sound “HA”, but with your mouth closed. This breath stimulates me, wakes me up, and opens my lungs for the day ahead. It also helps me soften any tight areas from my sleep. The last 5 minutes I dedicate to sitting in silence with a quiet, mindful breath, observing my breath as it flows through the body.

Once I complete my 15-minute sit, I am ready to fuel my body. I make my way to the kitchen and pour a HUGE glass of water to replenish and hydrate my body after 8 hours of sleep. As I’m sipping my water, I prepare my favorite breakfast, a big green juice. My favorite recipe these days is sweet, grassy, and delicious.

You will need:

1 apple

1 cucumber

A couple of stems of kale

A couple of stems of spinach

A couple of stems of romaine

1 carrot

½ a lemon

Throw everything in your juicer, and enjoy!

These mindful actions make me feel nourished in body and spirit and prepared to face the world with a positive attitude. They make me feel like I am tapping into my inner happiness, greeting the day softly and with lots of gratitude and love.

What are your favorite morning rituals? Share in the comments below!

Breakouts are so 10 years ago.

30 Jul

A couple of months ago, I decided to nix my old skin routine and try a different line of facial cleansing products. My old products (to remain nameless) were just not cutting it. As a yogi who teaches in heated rooms and sweats a lot, AND a self-proclaimed face-toucher and -rubber, I tend to break out. I’ve noticed that my breakouts center around the places where I lean my head on my hands, and the parts of my chin that I lean on the floor or my mat while practicing yoga. The previous skin regimen I had was making matters worse, making my face feel simultaneously oily and dry. It felt like a confused teen in the midst of an identity crisis. However, I loved the products because they were vegan and cruelty-free, and easily available in Montreal. They were also inexpensive. I decided to expand my search to online retailers, but kept my pre-requisites to the products being vegan, cruelty-free and budget friendly. During one of my internet searches, I stumbled upon Just The Goods, a company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their products are natural, vegan, certified cruelty-free, and Canadian, so I decided to give them a whirl.

On my first purchase, I bought the cleanser, toner and moisturizer for sensitive skin. Milena, the sweet owner, also threw in a sample of the spot treatment and a foot scrub for me to try. The price of each bottle ranged from 5-9$. (YES, you heard me right, 5-9$ per bottle…!! Even more budget-friendly than I had hoped!) On my first evening, I washed my face with the cleanser, toned with the toner, and used the spot treatment on problem areas. My first impression was the incredibly soft, natural smell of the products. They smell and feel very fresh. My skin felt clean, not weighed down, and very light. For as long as I can remember, cleansers have made my skin feel taut. Not this one! On my first morning, I woke up to visible improvement in problem areas. I washed, toned and moisturized, and applied a light coat of pressed powder. It was love at first (and second) wash.

I kept using the sensitive skin line for about a month. My skin became healthy and looked fresh. Any flaky zones I used to have to deal with went away completely, and the color of my skin went from blotchy to uniform. However, the breakouts continued. I decided to switch to the acne-prone skin line, and bought a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. And then the magic happened. My breakouts began to diminish and my skin began to clear. I’ve been using Just the Goods for a couple of months now, and I absolutely adore these products. Now, I only get breakouts if I have been touching my face a lot (which I have been making a conscious effort to stop doing!!).

Check out Milena’s awesome Canadian company at www.justthegoods.net. If you’re in the market for natural, vegan beauty products, they’re a must-try!

Janu-freakin-ary

21 Jan

Hello January. It’s cold. My feet get cold when I try to wear cool spring boots. I’m dreaming of sun, sandy beaches and heat. In the midst of this cold front, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to stay present with winter. I’ve been finding my mind drifting to summer plans, vacations and wishes of flip flops every time I stop to think.

Amidst these feelings, I have been integrating more mindfulness into my daily life by taking the time to enjoy the warm comfort of a hot cup of tea, cuddling in jogging pants and woolly socks, and trying my hardest to become friends with the cold by any means possible. I’ve also become so grateful for the heat of my yoga practice, in a hot room or otherwise. There’s nothing like the feeling of coming out of the cold and into a room heated to 40 degrees to warm you up from the core all the way to the fingers and toes. I also noticed that the minute I enter periods of high stress or challenges, my meditation practice really takes a beating. When I need it the most, I turn away from my daily sit, coming up with excuses not to quiet my mind. This realization coincides perfectly with a new meditation challenge I just signed up for on Tuja Wellness. If you know me, you know my “type A” personality loves a good structured challenge, so I jumped at the chance to join. One of my first yoga teachers, an inspirational and wonderful Montreal-based yoga teacher named Dawn Mauricio, is facilitating the challenge along with a handful of wellness experts. My intention when I signed up is to use this challenge to reintegrate a daily meditation practice to my routine. Check out the challenge here, and join! Let’s do it together!

In other news, my immune system took a beating this Holiday season as everyone around me was all virus-y. I managed to come out of the Holidays with “only” a throat infection, which I fought valiantly with lots of hot water with lemon, ginger, and oil of oregano. (THANK YOU, ERICA, FOR THIS MIRACLE OIL. FOR REAL – MIRACLE WORKER.) These past weeks, I’ve been building my immune system back up with a daily green smoothie, lots of garlic and ginger, and a warm glass of water with lemon to start the day. My favorite smoothie of the moment is a tart combo of greens and fruit. I’m loving it!

Green Kiss smoothie

1 cup coconut water (or more, depending on how good your blender is…)

½ an avocado

1 cup frozen or fresh mango

Juice of 1 lemon (or peel the lemon and throw it in for extra tartness)

1 large handful of kale

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

A squirt of agave nectar (optional)

Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend!

The avocado gives the smoothie a little fat, so it keeps me full longer! It also makes the consistency soooo creamy. I don’t add agave, because I like my smoothies tart, but if you’re not into that type of thing, add some sweetener! The cool thing about green smoothies is you can mix and match lots of different combos. If you don’t have kale, sub for spinach! If you don’t have mango, throw in pineapple! I like using coconut water as a base because it is super hydrating, but you can try your favorite non-dairy milk or just plain water if you are running low on supplies. Having a green smoothie for breakfast gives me so much energy, and also gives me a healthy dose of greens to start the day. If you’re new to green smoothies, start small. Add lots of fruit, and just a little bunch of greens. As your taste buds adjust, start lowering your ratio of fruit, and increasing your ratio of greens. The greener, the better!

Day 21 – Challenge: COMPLETE!!!

1 Oct

Well friends, the challenge is over. I’m happy to say that my hair looks and feels great! The greasy phase is over, and surprisingly, i’m going to stick with the baking soda and ACV indefinetly! Throughout the challenge, i encountered some pros and cons to the method –

PROS:

1. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Wow, baking soda is cheap. Like, for real, this method costs next to nothing. Starving student? Strapped for cash? Lost your money at the track? This is the method for you.

2. Frequency of washes. I washed my hair every 4 days, which i loved.

3. Smell. My hair was odorless. Weirdly, it seemed that odors didn’t cling to my hair. Previously, when i was using regular shampoo, if i would make indian food or go to a particularily sweaty yoga class, my hair would smell bad. Now, it seems like my hair smells neutral all the time. (I’ve asked for a second opinion on this one, and i swear it’s true!!!)

4. Moisture rich hair! My hair never felt dry, itchy of flaky. On the contrary, it feels thick, soft and clean all the time!

CONS:

1. Worst con of all time: no lather. It’s really hard to figure out if i got all the parts of my scalp with the baking soda because there is no lather to tell me every spot has been hit. It’s a little annoying…!

2. Odorless. This is a pro as well as con. I kind of a little teensy bit miss the smell of shampoo in my hair.

3. By day 4, my hair looks dirty. It’s a really extreme transition. Day 3 – i’m looking awesome. Day 4 – i’m looking like a hobo.

The cons do not detract me enough to stop this method, as i really feel like my hair and scalp are healthier. I love the fact that my switch from commercial hair products to natural products diminishes my reliance on processed products packed with yucky chemicals. Baking soda and ACV are also naturally cruelty-free and vegan, so yay to that!

Challenge – SUCCESS!!!

No Shampoo Week 1 – Undecided…

17 Sep

… and what a busy week 1 it’s been. I did not think the timing of this challenge through, as i had an event on Sunday where doing my hair was necessary, and I have 3 birthday events next week that require clean-ish hair as well… Woops.

Since the beginning of the challenge, i have washed my hair twice. I’m aiming to wash it every 4 days. I’m at day 4 today, and I’ve got to say it’s feeling pretty greasy. I’m so looking forward to washing it tonight. I knew this would happen, as all the blogs I’ve read about this method mention that 1-2 week period at the start where your hair goes through a sort of detox – readjusting to natural cleanser and lack of chemicals. However, the first three days after washing my hair were glorious! My hair has never felt so healthy, and never looked so vibrant! I washed it on Friday night, air dried it, and straightened it on Saturday morning and Sunday morning for events. It looked GREAT! I didn’t need any hair styling products to get it to stay in place, and it felt clean and light. So the preliminary verdict this early in the challenge is: awesome hair for days 1 through 3, greasy hair on day 4. Hopefully, my hair will re-adjust soon so day 4 can be just as glorious!

In other news, i can confidently state that my hair stops smelling of apple cider vinegar the minute it starts to air dry. (Thank god.) I’ve read posts where people suggest to put essential oils in the ACV mixture to mask the smell, but I’m cool with the straight up mix. I’m just hardcore like that, you know?

I’ve read that avocado is very good for your scalp and hair, so I’ve been incorporating it into my morning smoothie. My current obsession is the following mix – it’s so good!

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water

1/2 of an avocado

2-3 stems of kale (keep the stems on if your blender can handle it – they’re packed with nutrients)

1/2 cup-1 cup of frozen or fresh mango

1 tbsp chia or flax or hemp seeds

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

Throw into your blender and blend!

The avocado brings a creaminess to the smoothie that I’m loving! If you find the smoothie too tart, throw in a squeeze or 2 of agave nectar!

“Good Morning!” Granola Bars

9 Apr

Hello, little blog – I have neglected you! I just noticed my last post dated back to October 2011! Ugh.

Let’s get back into the swing of blogging with a killer breakfast recipe! VEGAN GRANOLA BARS! EEEEK!

(Adapted from: http://www.blogher.com/recipe-vegan-granola-bars )

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of puffed brown rice cereal (I use Nature’s path brand, it has no added anythings!)

1 cup quick cooking oats

2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds or hemp seeds

1 tsp ginger (optional)

½ cup ground / crushed nuts (we use cashews, but any nuts will do. I tried it with almonds and it was delish. Just make sure they’re unsalted nuts.)

¼ cup of pure maple syrup

2 tbsp water

½ cup natural peanut butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix puffed rice, oats, flax/hemp and nuts in a big bowl.

On the stove top, melt peanut butter, maple syrup and water on medium heat. Stir constantly until the peanut butter has melted and looks incorporated into the maple syrup. Once you have a creamy, smooth consistency, take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour the creamy mixture into the granola mixture and mix well. It gets super sticky, so I mix with my hands to get the dry fully incorporated into the wet. Once everything is mixed, pat into a baking dish or muffin tins. Pat really firmly so the granola will condense and take the shape of the tin. If you don’t pat firmly, it will crumble when you unmold or cut. Cover the dish / tin and refrigerate. Give them a night to harden in the fridge before you try to cut or unmold.

This recipe makes approx. 10 muffin molds or 1 8×8 baking dish. They’re optimally good for 1 week refrigerated, then they start to go hard. They’re still edible, but more crumbly. (the perfect consistency to crumble over fruit!) The fiancé likes vegan chocolate chips in his – if that’s your thing, add the chocolate with the dry ingredients.

These granola bars sustain me until lunch – they’re packed with healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods. If i have both on hand, i like to put 1 tbsp flax and 1 tbsp hemp instead of one or the other. Both flax and hemp are great vegan sources of omega 3s!