Wellness

8 Ways to Improve Your Immune System Naturally

Anyone who suffers from hayfever will be as qualified as possible to attest to having a healthy and robust immune system. If you’ve got a seasonal allergy to the pollen of plants and grass, you’ll be well aware of your immune system going to work. Of course it’s not pleasant as you sneeze heartily and repeatedly and your eyes water incessantly, but it’s still good to know what your body is guarded against invaders and will dispatch histamines at a moment’s notice when a transgressor is detected.

Rather a shame that those pollen particles are a false alarm, but the immune system’s taking no chances!

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For the rest of us, you’re probably not going to be aware every time you’ve got neutrophils on the march taking on bacteria, viruses, and the like but they go into action pretty darn often. Having a healthy immune system is very important for every human, and there’s natural ways you can improve the function of your immune system. Let’s have a look at them.

While there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function, there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that making the following diet / lifestyle choices can help you have improved immunity, with the diet changes being particularly highly recommended by Sherri Danrin, a naturopathic doctor specializing in immunology and a regular contributor at YesWellness

 

1. Eat A Diet High In Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains, Plus Low In Saturated Fat

A very telling fact is that scientists have long determined that people who live in poverty and are malnourished as a result are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. This increased susceptibility is a result of micronutrient deficiencies, and in particular not getting enough zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, B6, and Vitamin E. If you have reason to believe you’re deficient in any of these vitamins (click here for an easy quick-reference chart for vitamin deficiency syndromes) you can address them via dietary sources or quality supplements.

 

2. Exercise Regularly

Getting regular vigorous exercise – which means getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat – is so beneficial for improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, controlling body weight AND supercharging your immune system to defend against viruses and disease. A large part of this is due to the fact that it promotes improved blood circulation, which allows cells and the different substance components of the immune system to move through the body freely and complete their job with maximum efficiency.

Important note; do not push yourself too hard when aiming to exercise vigorously. Know your limits of exertion, and if you need to take a break then take one. If you ever feel faint or can’t handle the strain, stop immediately.

 

3. Maintain A Healthy Body Weight

This point is added here immediately following exercise because one promotes the other, and they’re both helpful ways to improve your immune system naturally. And yes, that’s in large part because your circulation will be much improved when your hearts’ not working nearly as hard to pump blood throughout your body as it was before you lost body weight. 

 

4. Control Blood Pressure

The important thing to understand here is that there is a relationship between prolonged stress and high blood pressure (hypertension), which in turn limits your immune system’s ability to product T-cells, which it uses to fight infections. Maintaining a low blood pressure will prevent your adrenal glands from being hyper stimulated and producing too much adrenaline and noradrenaline, which leads to a rather vicious cycle where the weakened immune system promotes more stress, which promotes more hypertension, which promotes further weakening of the immune system.

You get the idea, keeping your blood pressure at healthy levels and regulated is highly advisable here.

 

5. Get Sufficient Quality Sleep

By getting sufficient AND quality sleep, we mean a) getting enough of it (most people need 7 hours a night) and b), making sure you go through all of the 4 stages of sleep. As regards the second point there, the importance of getting through all of these stages is important as the N3 (3rd) stage is where you get your deepest and most restorative sleep and cellular energy is provided to the different systems of the body, including the immune system.

In order to establish a good circadian rhythm and get the best and most thorough sleep, try to establish consistency with the time you go to bed and wake up each day. Sleeping in on the weekends or days off may be appealing, but it’s best not to.

 

6. Drink Alcohol In Moderation and Don’t Smoke

This one will likely be fairly self-explanatory for you. Drinking alcohol heavily damages your liver, and the liver works to filter contaminants out of the body. When that’s not occurring effectively, the buildup of toxins and the like affects your immune system. And most of the many harmful chemical in cigarette smoke work similarly. 

There’s a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t drink excessively or smoke, and this is just one more very valid one like all the other ones.

 

7. Be Proactive in Preventing Infections

This involves being smart and wary of know ways that viruses and pathogens are commonly transmitted to people. Wash your hands frequently, cook meats thoroughly, etc. Being very cleanly will keep you in good stead and boasting a nice tip-top immune system.

 

8. Be Wary of ‘Quick Fix’ Supplements

Many products on store shelves state that they will boost or support immunity, but in reality there really are not ‘quick fixes’ for boosting your immune system via under-the-counter supplements. Further, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or otherwise — isn’t necessarily advisable. To put that in perspective, consider this; athletes who pump blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance run the risk of suffering a stroke. There’s no concrete definition of how many cells or what mix of them allows the immune system to function at its best.

No one likes to have their weekend wasted by the flu, being laid up for a month by mono, or anything of the sort. Your immune system is the last line of defense against all of these misfortunes, so make sure you do all that you can to ensure yours is primed to combat at full force all the time.

11 Insights on Taking a Yoga Training

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Yoga teacher training can and will change your life, and here's why.

Our 200 hour Foundational Teacher Training is just around the corner.  Facilitated by Sarah Zandbeek, this course will guide you to transform your practice and deepen your understanding of philosophy and history of yoga.  Moreover, this course is an invitation to self: self love, self knowledge, self illumination.  The following post is from your teacher, Sarah.

For full details on this offering, head here!

Get in touch: trainings@yogalifestudios.ca

Here's 11 reasons to dive in deep with a yoga teacher training.

Any yoga teacher or human I know that has taken a yoga training has said they believe that this should be a mandatory life program.

 

1) Remoulding Reality: There is so much we don’t know about what we know. Having been raised in a culture that deeply values hierarchy and money, we have been secretly trained to hold rules that might be enslaving us instead of propelling us forward. Our idea of success is buried in things that don’t touch the Soul. Yoga trainings begin to ask more, begging the question again and again, “is that true for you, are these ways of existing true for you?” Some how in some way, something opens and all of a sudden the need to hustle and feel stressed about not having enough transforms into “holy shit, I am so taken care of.”

2) Space Holding: Ever feel like no one ever really quite listens to what you are saying? Their physical ear is there, but they’re not hearing the words or the frequency beneath the words? Well, Yoga Training, helps you to not be that friend. As Teachers, we become guiders in Life, whether we chose that or not. When we begin to look at our lives with a higher resolution microscope, we learn things about life and the way it works and in that, we gain empathy, understanding, and compassion. So, when friends and family come to you, you can actually listen with a tuned in ear to the pains they are speaking of without needing to try and push it away with statements like, “it’s going to be all good, he is a jerk any ways, or you’re going to be fine.” Being able to listen is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your community and humanity.

3) To Live: Yoga training helps you to understand life. In this you gain the courage to really start living it – outside the bounds of who and what someone told you you were suppose to be/do. When we start to observe what the body is experiencing, it becomes a beautiful guide that moves you towards your authentic truth. When we are in line with truth, ease arises, and the dance of life begins underneath our feet.

4) Freedom: I bet you often hear a calling for something more and you have been ignoring it for a while. There is something deep within you that is getting louder and louder, asking you to listen; the Soul’s cry for freedom. Answer that call. The time for change is NOW.

5) Strength and SURRENDER: Learning the pulsation of life can help you move through the tough times with more grace. Unfortunately (fortunately), tough times are an essential part of life and learning; imagine learning from the rough patches in a much less stressful and tumultuous way. Not everything needs to be dealt with head on: yoga can teach us to surrender to that which we can not change and to look a little deeper in order to see the truth of the matter, which is always humbling and filled with powerful teachings.

6) Re-Inhabit Intuition: Living in a society that is mostly based on lies, we have grown to stop trusting our intuition – that which guides us to who we are and our highest purpose. This can lead us to wondering, “what am I doing, what is the point?” Not knowing your purpose can make it really hard to wake up each day, moving through the motions that aren’t moving you. Yoga training helps build Self-trust and confidence to stand up for what you are feeling. It offers a space for others to drop their lies and start moving toward speaking truth and having the strength to say the hardest of things. Moving lies out of the body makes space for deeper movements and more profound moments in life. Life becomes much more juicy!

7) Dissolve Suffering: Suffering exists due to undigested emotional experiences, which tend to inhabit the tissues of the body in the strangest ways. As we practice asana, engage in breath work, and meditate, these stagnancies begin to move. This brings emotions to the forefront, giving us a chance to dissolve past happenings and release them from there grip on our day to day perspective of life.

8) Threshold meets Change: Often, when we reach the edge of something, there is that friction has built and it’s hot, frustrating, and it feels like it might collapse us. We turn around and go back to what we already know and that courageous part of us turtles once again – the cycle ensues. What if we learned to meet these thresholds and had skills to yield through them? We may start to desire these times of great change instead of fear them. Grace may begin to exist as a consistency in our personality.

9) Authentic Self: Who are you? Be that. Scary? Maybe. Impelling? Most definitely. Yoga training can help you begin to move through life guided by what really serves you in all senses: food, relationships, work, and love life. Live in complete accordance to that which you were designed for.

10) Navigation: Yoga training teaches us how to begin chipping away all the built in patterns that we have created over time through our experience in this life. How does one begin to “listen” to the inner guide, to have courage to follow it no matter what, to speak truth even when the voice quivers and the truth is hard. Observing the journey of Yoga in the body-mind-spirit continuum teaches us so much, allowing us to start observing moments in a much more profound way.

11) Life becomes an Offering: Empathy. Through working on your Self, the vastness of what makes you begins to reveal itself. Within that, we start to see that we are all things: crazy, wild, kind, and free. It is only through allowing yourself to experience all of Life’s emotions, that you begin to make space for the uncalculated pathway of others. Each life, each soul is having a different experience than you and your way and learnings may not be their way. Once this is realized, there is space for you to not attach to their experience but rather joyously (and sometimes frustrating) observe them as they unfurl, at their own special pace, way, and time. Not to be corrected or fixed, only loved through the process. The Ultimate offering.

Sick? Stay home & rest. Why you shouldn't come practice at the studio when you're sick.

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At Yogalife, to reap the full physical and mental benefits of practice, we encourage all our students to come on a regular basis. Yoga has been known to be paramount in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but in recent times, people have been practicing as a means of alleviating the symptoms of every day illnesses. This has been met with some mixed reviews. So the question remains, should you practice while sick?  

From the viewpoint of our studio, our immediate answer is “no”. Our goal is always to provide the best experience possible for our students, so coming to practice while sick compromises that aim. While hot yoga is beneficial for detoxification, the humidity and heat, along with the closeness of clients can accelerate the spread of illness in the room. Pathogens thrive in a hot yoga room, no matter how well we try to maintain the cleanliness of the studio.

 

Consider this: we spend a significant portion of our class forcefully exhaling, and if ill, any airborne pathogens can travel quickly to nearby practitioners who, at the same time, are inhaling deeply. Heat also has the physiological effect of opening up the skin’s pores, further exposing our bodies to the environment, so any physical contact with bacteria or other viruses can result in immediate illness.

 

Practicing hot yoga while sick may also aggravate any symptoms one may be experiencing. In the online article, “Yoga and Your Immune System”, Kreg Weiss explains:

 

“[In yoga] the energy highly needed for your immune system is instead being transferred to the muscles to create movement. This energy is depleted from the body either as mechanical energy (movement) or as heat. This transfer of energy strips the immune system of precious energy resources and begins to limit the immune system’s capacity to produce antibodies.”

 

So while practicing in the heat may temporarily alleviate symptoms, and provide that feel-good high that only Hot Flow can provide, it may be short-lived and, in the process of healing, make things worse.

 

So before practicing at the studio while feeling ill, consider your fellow students and whether it may compromise their yoga experience. Also consider whether the practice will benefit your body. For more information on practicing while sick, read the full article by Kreg Weiss: http://kregweiss.ca/2011/11/11/yoga-and-your-immune-system/.

 

Yoga for Athletes

Yoga for Athletes by guest blogger, Carolyn Fallon.

Throughout most of my life I have been an athlete of some kind – whether it was participating in various sports in school or playing recreationally on different club and intramural teams in and after college. As an avid athlete, I find that there are other aspects that are part of being an athlete than just the physical skill that each particular sport calls for. There is a need for various characteristics personality-wise, but what I find is extremely important no matter what sport I am playing is the need to be fit and in shape in every way possible. As I have (yes, I will admit I have been out of college for a few years…) gotten a bit older, I have come to find that yoga is a great activity that allows me to be fit regardless if I am playing sports still, and also helps me have an edge over all the athletes out there that believe there is no “real use” for yoga!

Of all the workout styles, yoga is the oldest and most comprehensive practice combining weight-bearing exercise, cardiovascular endurance and meditation. Many people associate yoga with general fitness or just for people who “aren’t athletic”, but a growing body of literature on the effects of yoga on athletic training is changing this. Researchers have found a number of unique and positive results that have come from athletes adopting a regular yoga routine.

 

Yoga begins with a focus on increasing self-awareness. It starts with the control of breath. Once the individual has learned the use of different breathing styles effectively, these are incorporated into both static poses and dynamic movements that differ based on the particular school of yoga. Once these beginning aspects of yoga have been mastered, athletes can begin to use yoga to propel themselves past the workout plateau by increasing athletic strength and flexibility, while also protecting themselves from various injuries.

 

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Yoga and Strength There are all kinds of ways that yoga can increase an athlete’s strength, training potential and even their recovery time. Just from the practice of controlling one’s breathing, results have been found in the increased strength of people’s grips. Additionally, as athletes become more practiced in yoga they will begin to move in to more vigorous types of yoga, such as power yoga and ashtanga, which will demand more exertion from them physically, and in turn improve their strength over time. Furthermore, because specific sports tend to emphasize certain muscle groups at the expense of others, yoga allows athletes to increase their core strength (and seriously, who doesn’t want that?!) and ultimately optimize their overall training efficiency!

 

Yoga and Flexibility Athletes have more to worry about than just muscle strength. The tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues of the joints must be trained to handle the extra work of the muscles. Unfortunately, athletes often face the reality of compromised joint health after only one or two decades of training! This problem is largely preventable with the practice of yoga. In fact, many orthopedic surgeons attest that yoga is excellent for strengthening both flexibility and balance. I think we can all agree that these are both pretty important aspects for any type of athlete!

Yoga as Injury Prevention

No matter what sport is involved, the constant movement and exertion that is expected of an athlete’s body can be exhausting. Exercising in general can make one’s legs, back, shoulders, and many other body parts feel sore and tight. Restorative yoga can help athletes to get back to their normal range of motion, which prevents future problems from occurring the next time they are active. Another benefit of yoga in injury prevention is the effect  of increased circulation and reduced swelling which allows athletes to return to normal training without a hitch.

 

Yoga has so much to offer the modern athlete! It combines a body-focused meditation with complete joint and muscle workout, and has proven results that include better muscle coordination, faster recovery times, reduced fatigue due to efficient oxygen use, improvement to long-term joint stability and a reduction in athletic injuries. With so many benefits coming from the practice of yoga, what athlete wouldn’t want to try it out?!

Upward Facing Dog | The Details

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The Low Down on Upward Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or upward facing dog, is a beautiful heart-opener and backbend. Whether enjoyed for a single breath in your flow practice or slowed down and held for a few in a hatha class, this posture offers a deep awakening for the front seam of the body while calling on strength and alignment at the foundation.

The Details

The foundation of upward dog is in the structure of the hands and feet. The sanskrit word “bandha” translates to lock, seal, or closure. During asana (postural) or pranayama (breath work) practice, bandhas help to energetically “lock” in energy and prana (life force), consciously sealing it inside of our bodies so that it can aid us in our practice. Hasta bandha, or "hand lock", stabilizes and roots the hands while drawing energy up the forearms, across the heart and down the collar bones. The outward rotation of the front seam of the shoulders draws the shoulder blades onto the back, inviting the heart to draw open and the collar bones to soften and widen. Bringing our awareness down to the tops of the feet, we aim for a clear grounding here as well. Inner toe mounds, ankles, shins, knees and thighs all draw towards our centre line to create strength and stability. With tops of the thighs and knees lifted, the spine can stretch up out of the waist, resulting in a juicy spine lengthener as well as lower back bend. The lower belly gently lifts to support the spineAs we lift the gaze and continue to lengthen out of the crown, we draw shoulders down the back and breathe into the heart space.

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The Benefits

Upward facing dog not only feels amazing, but it's amazing for us! This posture creates an evenly distributed extension throughout the entire spine, strengthens the wrists and opens the quadriceps and hip flexors. The nature of this shape allows the rib cage to expand, literally creating more room to breathe. Not only does this help to increase lung capacity but the organs of the abdomen get stimulated also. As we typically spend a lot of time hunched forward in our daily lives, upward facing dog helps to improve posture and has even been said to help with depression and fatigue as we expand into the space of the heart.

Edmonton Hot Yoga Community, We Love You!

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The Edmonton hot yoga family is strong

Let's face it, Edmonton has had an interesting summer for weather this year. We've been subject to some scorching hot days, crazy thunder storms and humidity like never before! As yeggers, we know this all over weather is par for the course, so it doesn't shock us over here at Yogalife Studios when we see your shining faces come through the door multiple times a week to get your hot yoga fix. We love providing you humidity addicts with another hour in the heat to stretch out and relax from your day. The Edmonton hot yoga community is unstoppable!  

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Here's a few reasons why WE love hot yoga as much as you do - a reminder to why we continue coming back to our mats even on the hottest, sweatiest days in Edmonton. Check out our full list of yoga benefits here!

Detoxification

All yoga is cleansing, but hot yoga allows our body to flush out toxins through the skin because, well, things get SWEATY! Detoxification year round is important and summer is no exception. Weddings, parties, barbecues and all sorts of other fun, food-and-drink-filled festivities call for a few hot yoga classes a week to keep our systems in balance.

Going Deeper

When we feel safe we feel open; the heat of the hot yoga room warms us to the core and allows us to begin opening up deeper, safely. When our muscles are genuinely warm, we can approach the postures from a safer place. With the body feeling more limber, we can try to go for that bind, or deepen that back bend. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with the willingness our bodies take on in the heat! In the same breath, it is incredibly important to always listen to your body and beware of going past the "edge" of your pose. Know that your body is more open in the heat and respect your boundaries.

Letting Go

The heat of the room can be overwhelming at times, and the amount we sweat can be even more alarming. When we embrace the sweat and settle in with the heat, the practice becomes that much more enjoyable. We are the Edmonton hot yoga community for a reason - we love to sweat and we love being in the heat! If you are newer to the practice, don't stress if you don't let go and love these things right away. It often takes a little while to become comfortable with the inevitabilities of hot yoga - keep coming back to your breath, take breaks, and reach for that water bottle whenever you need! Chances are, you're going to feel amazing at the end of the class, especially if you listen to yourself and take those breaks when you need them. In this practice we not only let go of the "omg it's way too hot" or "wow I'm sweating so much, this is gross" - we let go of needing to be something, or "keeping up", and we embrace exactly where we're at. We let go of the ego, we embrace ourselves.

Thank you for creating this Edmonton hot yoga community, for continuing to make it to your mat to sweat it out, connecting with yourself and everyone in the room. Keep it up!

The Relaxed Yogi Evening Guide

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This pre-snooze routine is the perfect wind down to transition into dreamland.

Settling down in the evening can be a task, especially if the daytime was demanding and your internal pilot is stuck on GO! Often we will come home from a crazy day and make choices that may not be the most mindful; our evening 'routine' may look more like 'fall onto couch until I slink into bed' or 'let the wired-ness from my day spill all over my home time'. With a few simple steps, the evening can be one of the most sacred times for self-care. There's something very comforting about prepping your nest: consciously winding down and reflecting from your day, giving your body a few gentle reminders to soften and release the tensions of hours past and even adding a few gentle herbs to assist the regime.

It is true that our morning routine sets the tone for our day - but our evening sets the tone for our morning! Plus, a good sleep is unparalleled.


It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. – John Steinbeck


 

Step One: Forward Fold

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This is the perfect place to hang out after any sort of day - to find space and quiet the mind. Ground your feet, pour your heart out and breathe. This shape allows your spine to decompress; it sinks you into the structure of your feet and automatically grounds you to the earth. Forward fold calms the mind and quells anxiety as the stress of your day drips off your back. Spend at least a minute here, adding some weight to the pose by grabbing opposite elbows and swaying gently through your spine. Find more details on modifications for this luxurious pose here.  

Step Two: Supported Recline: Gentle Supine Heart Opener

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It's not uncommon for us to spend the majority of our day favouring the frontline - a nice way of saying rounding forward or hunching. Freeing up our heartspace before bed is not only relaxing and restoring to the body but helps us land from our day mentally and emotionally as well. This is generally best achieved by using a firm bolster, but you can create the same effect with pillows or rolled up blankets if that's what is available. Place your prop at the base of your spine and lay back, resting your head at the top or even letting it drape off the end if your neck agrees. Drape your arms open in a T and relax your legs in a butterfly shape, extended straight or with props underneath your knees for extra support. Breath is your masseuse here - focus entirely on the rhythm of your inhale and exhale as a means to soften you entirely. Enjoy the gentle stretch of your inhale and the full release of your exhale, giving into the shape that your body melts to. Hold your shape for at least 3 minutes, staying anywhere up to 20 if you're loving it! Learn more about yin yoga postures here.  

Step Three: Meditation

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Our poses always prep us to sit quietly, and although these last two shapes are most certainly meditative, it is always nice to continue with the cultivated silence and seal off your day. With spine softened and heart opened, connected to breath and intention of relaxation set, sitting for even 5-10 minutes is a natural step in your evening routine. Remember, it's ok if your busy mind has followed you into your evening, you are simply taking the steps to wind down, whatever that means for you. Come back to the intntion of relaxation and continue to indulge in your breath for as long as you can. Check out our "Busy Person's Guide to Meditation" for more tips towards your seated practice.  

Don't forget the tea!

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Anything herbal will be soothing and relaxing to accompany your evening routine, but if you're looking for an extra (un)boost, try a blend with valerian root, passionflower herb and lemon balm leaf.   Share your favourite evening routines with us! We'd love to hear what winds you down. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or never hesitate to say hello, caitlin@yogalifestudios.ca.

Namaste and sweet dreams! xo

Living Balanced, Living Fully

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Living balanced is the key to living fully

At Yogalife Studios the question "what does living fully mean to you" comes up frequently in our discussions. When we boil down everything that we're passionate about - health, fitness, family, friends, art, creating, breathing, music, travel, career, reading, writing, cooking... - it all ties into the "live fully" lifestyle. There's a difference between living fully and burning yourself out though, the central theme in the following guest post from Allie White. We must live balanced to live fully.

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Allie White, creator of Allie White Wellness, is a Transformational Holistic Health Coach and all-around wealth of knowledge in all things healthy and happy. Her mantra is clear: Helping fun-loving women experience a whole new level of energy, beauty, and confidence so they can create the body and life they love with ease. Read on!

Are you living a balanced lifestyle?

My goal is to help you create a more balanced lifestyle so that you can shine, not just in one area of your life, but in ALL areas of your life! But first, why am I talking about living a more balanced lifestyle?

We spend a lot of time compartmentalizing the various areas of our lives: relationships, career, money, exercise, health… but we all know that if one area is out of whack, our WHOLE life is affected. Imagine making tons of money AND being in a loving, happy marriage BUT you have no time to exercise. Pretty soon you will appreciate your flow of money and love less simply because your body is not getting the exercise it needs to feel alive and energized.

That’s why it’s so important to think of your life as one holistic pie and to make the decision to put your energy into making every piece of that pie as yummy as possible!

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So what would creating a more balanced lifestyle look like? Great question! Creating a more balanced lifestyle would mean taking a really good look at all areas of your life: relationships, career, money, exercise, health, spirituality, creativity…and making decisions about what is and isn’t working in each area. In the area of health, balance might look like clean eating (I’m talking real, whole foods not dieting!), plenty of veggies, eating organic as much as possible, drinking clean water, getting outdoors, plenty of sleep, exercise, meditation, deep breathing, cleansing, smiling more, laughing, more yoga, self care, joy, and gratitude.

Sometimes the reason we stay stuck in unhealthy or unhappy areas of our lives is because it’s easier, in a way, to stay stuck in the familiarity than to find the creativity and energy to make the changes needed to improve our quality of life and move into the unknown.

Change can be scary!

But don’t worry, I am here to help you begin to IMAGINE what your life in balance would look and feel like…you are not alone! But first...

How will I know if my current lifestyle is unbalanced?

● Are you used to getting things done on your own, but could use a little support? ● Do you want to build a healthier relationship to food? ● Do you eat when you are bored, angry, sad, or stressed out? ● Do you want to develop a deeper connection to yourself and others? ● Do you want to be empowered to be your own health expert? ● Do you want to be inspired about healthy cooking? ● Do you want to discover optimal eating for your unique body? ● Do you want more confidence, energy, and self-acceptance? ● Do you want to be challenged in new ways? ● Do you want to be held accountable to show up for yourself?

What do I do now?

Dive deeper into the questions above instead of answering yes or no. Take out your journal and be as honest and detailed as possible. You may be surprised at what emerges that may have previously been unexpressed. Next, make a list of what is working and what is not working for you under each of the following categories: relationships, career, money, exercise, health, spirituality, joy, and creativity.

What does a balanced lifestyle mean to you? What will having more balance in these areas look like for you? How can you create this on your terms? Imagine your dream lifestyle. What does that look like? What would an ideal day look like to you? What do you want more of? How do you want to feel? What’s important about that? Where in life are you settling? What are you no longer willing to tolerate?

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Honesty plays a big part here. Don’t be tempted to create a life based on what you think you should be doing or what other people in your life think you should be doing. What does YOUR dream life look like? Know the difference. Trust your inner wisdom.

The goal here is to feel more fulfilled in all areas of your life. Remember this isn’t about perfection based on expectations it’s about meaningful progress and creating a magnificent life on your terms. A life that allows you to express the best version of who you are.

If you are ready to embrace the best version of your life possible, I'd love to assist and support your journey. Click here to schedule a time to talk with me about the important steps to take to make changes in your lifestyle that will help you CREATE your DREAM life!

To your vibrant health! Allie

Check out Allie's

'Yogi Coffee Guide'

and get in touch with her at

www.alliewhitewellness.com

Yogalife Teacher Feature | Ashlynn Udholm

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We caught up with Yogalife instructor Ashlynn Udholm to learn a little bit more about this mainly south studio yogi. Ashlynn joined the teaching crew at Yogalife back in July of 2015 and snuggled right into the family! Her practice and training includes an awesome variety - the softer side of yoga, nidra and yin, and the fire that accompanies rocket yoga or hot flow.

"To me, yoga is all encompassing. It is the way you think, act and breath; with that, yoga is ever evolving. Every time I step on my mat is a new journey, a totally different experience."

- Ashlynn

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

The quote that is inspiring me the most right now is by Tyler Knott Gregson:

"Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim."

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I think it is so relevant to anyone who maybe feels a bit lost in the wake of the world. And a wonderful reminder to live in the now.

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

I have been loving practicing to anything sweet and lyrical like Ben Howard and Jack Johnson. London Grammar and Purity Ring are always go to bands for playlists. But lately Garth Stevenson and Ólafur Arnalds have been my go to's for yin practices.

Your favourite books: yogi-inspired, fiction, whatever!

Oh my gosh. 'Furiously Happy' by Jenny Lawson is a must read. If you have known, loved, or maybe you even are someone who has dealt with mental illness, this is the most honest, funny, and down to earth books I have ever read. It shines a light on mental illness in the coolest way.

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

I love, and always have loved Sayulita in Mexico. But Josh and I recently traveled to El Tunco, in El Salvador and it has the same magic feel. And Dublin, Ireland - if you haven't gone yet, I entirely urge you to go.

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What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

Tacos.

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

It always seems to shift. For a while it was arm balances as a whole, then it was back bending, right now it's handstands. But I am so loving hip-focused yin practices right now.

What is your favourite festival to attend?

I'm a really big fan of Folk Fest. I love the atmosphere and the cute little folk-loving families. But T in the Park in Scotland is a riot and Osheaga is also a must see.

Who inspires you?

My parents. And my sisters. They are the strongest, most encouraging people you'll ever meet.

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What is the best concert you've ever been to?

Florence and the Machine will forever and always be my favourite but July talk puts on the best kind of party vibe. Dan Mangan is so super sweet also!

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

I love reading, hot baths and restorative yoga practices. Mmmm so good.

Where's the next place you want to travel?

There is always a cool quote that comes to me saying, "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." But the top of that list definitely includes India, Greece and Brazil.

Share one of your life goals.

To live for at least a year in a new country. I would love to immerse myself so fully somewhere that it becomes like home.

Strike up a conversation with Ashlynn the next time you see her before or after class - she's a real gem!

Click here to meet another Yogalife instructor.

So Fresh | Basil Strawberry Lemonade

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Freshen up with this simple Basil Strawberry Lemonade

It's summer and fresh, tasty drinks are essential. What's fresher than lemon? Maybe lemon and strawberry. What's tastier than strawberry and lemon? Lemon, strawberry and basil, of course!

Making infused lemonade is what we like to call "easy fancy", especially when thrown in a wine glass. Even fancier? Sparkling water! For our variation we chose orange Perrier, which may have broken the fancy meter. Be careful, but DO try this at home.

Basil Strawberry Lemonade

Fresh Basil

Strawberries, sliced (ours were frozen for extra chill)

Fresh squeezed lemon

Water, sparkling or still

Variety is the spice of life; perhaps you add some agave syrup, coconut water, mint, blueberries... the possibilities are endless. Enjoy fresh, light drinks all summer long!

It's Better Together: a story of friendship

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Yoga and Friendship

At a recent photo shoot for the upcoming quarter at Yogalife Studios, our photographer/writer/instructor, Caitlin Varrin, brought along her friend Tasha to the south studio to hang out and enjoy the afternoon - snap some photos, have some laughs. This was the place they met - Yogalife Studios South - both no strangers to hanging out together in that tea lounge. We got to talking about how their friendship grew from Yogalife and thought it would be a nice story to share! Please enjoy this write-up from our student Tasha Molly, Yogalifer and friend.

Yoga has changed my life in more ways than one. It's helped keep me sane; it's been an outlet for emotions I didn't even know I had; it's taught me to slow down and enjoy the little things in life - because if you blink, they'll pass you by without you even noticing.

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Yes, yoga has taught me to wake up and smell the roses, but one of the most important things it has brought me is the most beautiful people: one of my nearest and dearest friends in the form of a pint-sized but also larger than life, dancing jumping bean with brown hair, glasses and huge beautiful eyes that see through all the junk. Caitlin. I wouldn't trade that friendship for anything - it's priceless.

Rewind 5 years ago. I had been going to Yogalife South for about 6 months. I walk into my regular 8:30 hot flow class, lay down on my mat and close my eyes. A few minutes later I hear this girl's voice - "wait a minute, that's not Graham!" (I always get a little wigged out when there's a sub for one of my favourite teachers because sometimes it's not quite the same.)

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But to my surprise, this girl had THE most amazing taste in music and was always cracking jokes, laughing at herself if she stumbled over her sequence. It was just so so easy to be around her and to feel instantly comfortable. Our closing song in savasana was one of my all time favourites by Bon Iver, 'Skinny Love'. As it started to play, I laid there with a huge grin on my face; as soon as I got up, I knew I had to speak to this person. So without even going into the change room, I sprinted out to the tea lounge and there she was, looking like a drowned rat just like me, smiling.

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One huge, sweaty hug later and we both knew that the person standing before us was one that we wanted to keep for life. We would hang out before class, after class and basically whenever we had a spare second. No matter how much we saw each other - or didn't see each other - it was always the same. We never skipped a beat.

The bond that her and I have is palpable - you can touch it, you can see it, you can feel it. We are always there for each other for a good laugh, cry and otherwise. When things aren't going right and neither of us can find the strength and energy to be positive, we are there to pick each other up, to listen, to learn, to grow. We allow the other room to be sad and angry, and then dust the other off to keep on going. There has never been a time where Caitlin hasn't been there to keep me honest and accountable; love me through all of my ups and downs - really high highs and really low lows.

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I feel so grateful every single day that I have been blessed with such an amazing, grounding, hilarious, inspirational and real friend - a partner in crime. I really don't know what I would do without her!

Love you too, Tasha! xo

Get To Know Our Favourite Yoga Jams

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Tunes to make you move

Sometimes there's nothing like an awesome playlist to sink you into your practice. Music can stir emotion, transporting you upward and inward. The style of yoga often reflects the style of music that accompanies; some practices are better left silent, some feel SO good with bangin' tunes. Whether you prefer "yoga" music - mantra inspired and calming - or something a little more unconventional, building your perfect playlist to take you through your practice can be a practice in itself! Here's a few suggestions to get you started. Follow us on Soundcloud as we continue to build our list of favourites!


If you practice at our studios regularly, you've probably heard this beautiful, soothing track floating around the room. We're still waiting for it to get old... we know it won't. Check out everything ever put out by Alina Baraz & Galimatias, you won't be disappointed!

When we heard "Could" last year, we immediately wanted to dance and stretch simultaneously. This is the mark of a good "yoga tune" - one that invokes playfulness and warmth.

Of course this list wouldn't be complete without a DJ Drez tune. Blending rich dub vibes and loving lyrics, any Drez track sounds good in a yoga room.

RY X's "Berlin" is hauntingly beautiful, the perfect addition to savasana or sprinkled into a softer practice. It speaks for itself.

We could go on for days; there's so much good music out there that makes us want to move (or be very, very still)! Are you a music junkie too? Send us your favourites! caitlin@yogalifestudios.ca

4 Poses to Embrace the Radiant Energy of the Full Moon

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The full moon is a time to express, play, create and ignite! At this phase in the lunar cycle we can check in with intentions set at the new moon, summoning the full expansion and expression of these goals. We can stoke the fires of our potential and play with endless possibility. Everything is intensified during a full moon, so creating a calm internal landscape and feeling grounded in your space will help to channel this powerful energy. Today we are sharing 4 poses with variations to ground into your body and earth while embracing the radiance of Luna's sweet energy!

Downward Dog

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A staple in most asana practices, Downward Dog brings us through our whole body. This shape connects us to the earth and the sky as we cultivate a full body stretch and awakening. In your full moon flow, think of grounding your hands through your mat and into the earth to anchor and stabilize you. Breathe into the back of your heart, feel a full expansion through your belly and torso and imagine the energy of the moon bathing over your back and absorbing into your spine.

Playful variations on downward dog can manifest as simple, gentle movement to lifting a leg and finding more space through your side body. Let this expression come from a place of sensation - moving because it feels good. You may choose to flip your dog over into wild thing if you're feeling spicy, shining your heart straight up to the full moon! Make sure you are warm before adding this back bend into the equation.

Bridge, Wheel or Standing Back Bend

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Back bends create space in the front energy line of the body, opening us up to receive in our heart centre. As you come into your pose, feel a deep connection through your roots: the parts of you touching the earth. Again, any variations within this asana will create grounding, connection and expansion, so whether you are pressing into your hands and feet for wheel, your shoulders and feet for bridge, or simply your feet for a standing variation, visualize a strong connection earthward. From here you are drawing your heart towards the sky, absorbing the energy from above through your front body.

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Back bends are energizing as it is, so take time to restore and sit with the sensations of the opening after each round in your practice. Breath is the key tool for expanding deeper within each variation, breathing into the back of your heart so soften and create buoyancy.

Warrior 3 with Half Moon Variation

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Balancing poses allow us to liven up our entire system; we draw energy from the earth and connect with our core to stabilize, we find the meditative "sweet spot" as we gracefully suspend our bodies in space. Warrior 3 channels our visual awareness down into the earth, growing invisible roots from our eyes into the ground. We feel that same awareness radiating up through our back body as if the back of our heart was staring at the moon. It is from this pairing of deep connection both earthbound and to the sky that we can then expand and deepen into the pose.

With hips squared down to the earth we can play around with variations in our arms: arms in a T shape to expand beyond our mat; hands clasped behind our tailbone to bring space to the front of our heart and shoulders. Invite radiant breath to expand and micro adjust in your shape. To transition into half moon pose, reach a hand towards the earth to stabilize, steadying your gaze down first, then invite the opposite hip to stack, opening your pelvis to the long edge of your mat and bringing your arms, shoulders and ribs to stack as well. Gaze may follow towards the moon, continuing to receive the energy from above and within.

Child's Pose

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With the electricity of full moon energy it is important to ground into yourself - to rest and relax. If you are creating a high energy full moon flow, you may choose to invite a nice long child's pose towards the end of your practice as you start to bring the energy down. If you are focusing on a more slow, steadying and grounding practice, you may come to this asana frequently throughout your practice. Feel your breath wash over your back body, ride the natural wave of your spine, and feel that space absorbing the radiant energy of the full moon!

What are your favourite full moon poses? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook, or IRL at Yogalife Studios North or South!

Festival Season Kicks Off With A Pre-Stretch!

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Once Summer hits, there is no lack of amazing events around our city and beyond! Music festivals are growing beyond just music and there is an integration and overlap into many other offerings. Yoga has become a huge part of the festival community, and every year you can find a few Yogalife Studios instructors heading up workshops and related local events.  

Astral Harvest is a celebration of music, art, knowledge, community and the human experience.

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We are just under a month away from Astral Harvest Music and Arts Festival, a 4-day gathering in Driftpile, Alberta that boasts international musical acts, yoga and movement workshops, art, seminars and beyond. This family friendly event is in its 9th season, running from June 30 - July 3. The Astral Harvest crew hosts an assortment of pre-festival events throughout the summer; this year you can find a "Pre-Stretch" series added to that line-up!

"Astral Harvest offers so much more than music - yoga is such a big part of the festival and our community. This year we wanted to showcase this in our pre-festival series to give that part of the festival the same exposure."

- Jordan Smoliak, Festival Director and Founder

With over 100 different "Experience" workshops, ranging from Crochet 101 to Psychedelic Light Meditation, Astral Harvest really has something for everyone. Peruse the full line-up of unique offerings here!

Astral Harvest Pre-Stretch #2

The next event in the pre-festival series is coming up this Friday, June 10 with Caitlin Varrin and Jen Maio at Be Hot Yoga Wellness. The evening kicks off at 7pm with practice casually commencing around 7:20. Expect a live DJ, snacks and treats and the chance to win a weekend pass to Astral Harvest!

-Facebook event link here-

 Astral Harvest Music and Arts Festival 2016 ticket winner!

Astral Harvest Music and Arts Festival 2016 ticket winner!

Find Your Yogalife Instructors at Astral Harvest

Graham Parsons | Laughter Yoga: Re-Igniting Your Joy Circuitry

This workshop is an opportunity to learn how to employ laughter the same way we employ breath in a yoga practice: to enliven, to harmonize, to clarify. Through interactive laughter exercises, we can play off of one another to unearth a plethora of benefits. Laughter sends strong signals of well-being throughout the body & mind, nurturing our respiratory, immune & endocrine systems, to name but a few.

Myrah Penaloza & Robindra Mohar | Align To Your Source: Deep House Nada Yoga

Join Myrah & Robindra for an immersive journey through Kundalini & Sattva Yoga set to the sounds of a Global Journey of Deep House, Tribal and Bedoiun sounds taking you from Alberta to the moon, India and back.

The experience will begin with talks by Myrah & Robindra about aligning your life to the source of your joy. We talk about alignment in the physical practises of yoga for a reason. The body, breath and mind share the same space and when we learn to use the concept of alignment in all areas of our lives we will find ourselves awakening to the life of our dreams much faster than any 5 or 10 year plan you might have.

We will explore the astrology of the time/day that this experience begins together, we will practise activating kundalini yoga kriyas, we will DANCE like no one is watching and we will end the class with a grounding & deeply healing Gong Meditation.  

We are so excited to connect with our community on the dance floor and on our mats/in the grass, under the sunshine and stars. Find tickets to Astral Harvest Season 9

here!

Your Edmonton Yoga Teacher Training Team is Coming from Far and Wide This Fall!

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yogalife yoga teacher trainingWith Yogalife's most recent teacher training group freshly wrapped up we are more excited and inspired than ever to continue curating the best experiences possible.

Our next 200 hour Foundational Teacher Training is kicking off in September; get to know the faculty joining us from around the world behind your next step.

 


www.yogalife.education


Sarah Zandbeek, Main Facilitator Edmonton, Alberta

 

Biography and Intention:

Maybe this sounds odd, but my hope is that people leave the program not ready to teach, but ready to Seek. I want people to graduate with an unrelenting curiosity for Life that is met with a deep contentment for the momentary reality. To not need more than what is available to them now, yet not to become comfortable in one way for too long, as this is the cause of stagnation, which is the cause of mostly all dis-ease.

 

I have learnt that my resistances (mind/body/emotional) come from my opinions of something being right or wrong, which means I have an absolute certainty about something that I have either learned or was programmed to believe as such. These resistances or opinions we hold of how things are “suppose” to be, limit us and create an unimaginable amount of tension in the mind, in the body, and in the heart.

 

So, yoga to me is about freedom and steadiness; it’s about finding the path that allows your self to widen or expand offering you a greater capacity to receive and meet life with.

 


Rumi says, “There are a 1000 ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a 1000 ways to go Home again.”


Yoga training is the start or continuation of finding your way home, back to your true Self.

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In this training we utilize Traditional Hatha techniques: kriya, asana, pranayama, meditation, and yoga philosophy, anatomical and Anusara alignment, Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians, Ayurveda, group discussion and journaling as the tools to dive into Who we are. We will look at the main purpose of yoga asana and how to create sophisticated sequencing to harmonize the body and prevent illness. This is a foundational training, so you will learn all you need to know about how to observe bodies, hold space, and set clear intentions.

 

Our line up of guest teachers this year is out of this world.

 

Check it out…

 

Fall 2016 Guest Teachers list:

 

Stephen Thomas Zurich, Switzerland

Teaching: Technique and alignment, pranayama, mantra, kriya, and mudra

 

Stephen Thomas has been a dedicated student of yoga since 1998. He has practiced, taught and lived in Asia and Europe for the past decade studying various traditions, which he incorporates into a unique yoga practice influenced and made possible by the grace and support of his central teachers.

 

Stephen’s background includes studies in Buddhism, Ayruveda and traditional Hatha yoga in India. In Asia, he continues an in-depth study of traditional Pranayama and Kriya through his master, O.P.Tiwari, which he combines with his love for the Asana practices that stem from his experience with Krishnamacharya’s work and influence on the Ashtanga Vinyasa and Iyengar systems of yoga. He also brings in elements of the Chinese and Tibetan systems where appropriate.

 

Stephen is an avid reader and student Eastern philosophies and a lifelong lover of the arts and music. His ability to re-frame various viewpoints and to simplify things without sacrificing depth and integrity has helped him develop a unique, non-dogmatic but deeply rooted teaching style. His works spans Meditation, Pranayama, Asana and the commitment to seeing the practice off the mat. He uses these methods as tools for health and wellbeing and to support the spiritual pursuit of living life courageously and compassionately from one’s heart.

 

Stephen teaches classes from his base studio in Zurich, Switzerland as well as spending a part of each year traveling as a guest instructor and teaching retreats throughout the world. He also dedicates energy each year to directing Teacher Intensive Trainings and ongoing education and works one-on-one with many students and teachers in his community.

 

Sean Haleen San Francisco, California Teaching: Technique and alignment and Yoga therapeutics

 

Sean Haleen is a celebrated yoga teacher with two decades of consistent yoga practice and nearly a decade of full time teaching experience. His extensive background as a former Anusara teacher and devoted Iyengar student has equipped him to share his love for alignment with the yoga community worldwide. He's taught in over fifteen 200HR and 500HR teacher trainings specializing in therapeutic yoga and bio-mechanics.

 

Sean's love for teaching extends to different populations where he's taught queer youth groups, in recovery centers, high schools, and more. He is never shy to speak in gratitude about his main teachers whom he studies with regularly including Jack Kornfield, Brian Hogencamp, and Desiree Rumbaugh.

 

www.SeanHaleenYoga.com

 

Neil Dalal Edmonton, Alberta Teaching: Philosophy

 

Neil Dalal is Associate Professor of South Asian Philosophy and Religious Thought at the University of Alberta. He holds an MA in East/West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Ph.D. in Asian Cultures and Languages from the University of Texas at Austin where he specialized in Indian philosophy, the history of Indian religions, and Sanskrit. He has spent over four years in India studying Advaita Vedānta, the philosophy of non-duality, with traditional scholars and monks.

 

Neil’s primary research explores the meditative and contemplative practices in classical Yoga philosophies to understand how they employ textual knowledge, memory, and visualization to grasp pure consciousness. He regularly teaches courses on Yoga philosophy, asceticism, Hinduism, and India’s philosophical wisdom texts such as the Upaniṣads and Bhagavadgītā.

 

Neil is the co-editor of Asian Perspectives on Animal Ethics (Routledge Press), co-director of the documentary film Gurukulam (Matson Films), and currently writing a book analyzing the intersection of texts, contemplative practices, and religious experience in Advaita Vedānta.

 

https://uofa.ualberta.ca/integrative-health-institute/scholars/neil-dalal#sthash.I2XN7CKt.dpuf

 

Ian Hayward Edmonton, Alberta Teaching: Ayurveda

 

Ian's first introduction to Vedic knowledge was in 1984 on there commendation of a close friend. At that time he had duodenal ulcers from an unhealthy and stressful lifestyle and the Western health system could only offer medication with undesirable side effects, so he was open to alternatives.

 

Ian was initially instructed in the practice of Vedic mantra meditation and over the next ten years he attended countless Meditation Retreats and Vedic Science Courses at home and abroad.  Eventually, in the summer of 1993, he emerged from the Maharishi Vedic University in Valkenburg, Holland (Deepak Chopra’s training was in the same lineage) fully trained as a Panchakarma therapist offering an extensive range of bodyworks and elimination therapies and as an Ayurvedic Wellness Consultant offering pulse diagnosis and lifestyle solutions.

 

After graduation in 1995 Ian spent the next two years in clinical practice applying these techniques under the supervision of medical doctors in London, England. He mainly treated very sick people and although he saw amazing results, he realized his passion was to prevent rather than cure illness; he also wanted to provide the Ayurvedic therapies in a more relaxing environment.  So for the next three years, with the financial support of some client/investors, he developed the first residential Ayurvedic Centre in the UK, based in a Meditation Academy within a large stately home in a beautiful rural setting.

 

During this time, with the encouragement and guidance of his teachers, Ian adapted the presentation of Vedic knowledge to suit people living in a modern Western society and named this European Ayurveda. This made Vedic knowledge more accessible and self empowering with an emphasis on practical application in everyday life.

 

Brea Johnson Edmonton, Alberta Teaching: Integrative anatomy

 

Brea Johnson has been a yoga teacher and movement educator for well over a decade. With a love for learning and studying the human body she continues her on-going education in yoga, anatomy and biomechanics and is also a certified Restorative Exercise Specialist™ with biomechanic scientist, Katy Bowman. As a teacher and mentor, Brea leads numerous workshops, teacher trainings and retreats along with a private practice helping clients move and feel better. She is known for her warm and engaging teaching style providing a safe foundation of healthy movement while remaining focused in the heart of the yogic teachings. As the popularity of yoga increases along with yoga-related injuries, this approach has made her a much sought-after teacher in the wellness and yoga community.

 

Also joining us will be a few of our in studio teachers: Melissa Perret for Ashtanga and Adjustments, Emily McNichol for prenatal yoga, and Cole Williston.

 

For more information on the experience of a yoga teacher training, check out our blog Yoga Teacher Training: 11 Reasons To Dive In

Yin Yoga? Yes Please!

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The motion of yin and yang generates all things in nature. MEH JIUZHANG & GUO LEI


Finding Balance with Yin Yoga

Balance is a byproduct of yoga, something we bring into our practice intentionally or a natural result of taking time away from busyness and distraction to move inward. We can look at the balance of how we practice, noticing what we are attracted to or shy away from within our yoga. Our body wants to be in a state of balance, both energetically and physically.

 

Balance involves two sides, the yin and the yang. When we are striving to achieve a balanced practice, we must consider both yin and yang yoga of importance. Yang yoga constitutes the majority of the physical practice that happens when we come to our mat. The act of "doing": igniting our fire and actively using our bones and muscles to move through our sequence. Activating our breath and bringing heat and focus to our movements. Yin yoga is the opposite, the "working soft", the gentle experience. With passive shapes and smooth, easy breath, this practice is intended to give all the work over to gravity.

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Yin Yoga Explained

Yin yoga is a passive practice that incorporates long holds to soften, lengthen and cleanse the body. This practice targets the connective tissues of the body, the most abundant and widespread type of tissue in our systems. Its function is primarily to support, anchor and connect various parts of the body and includes ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage and blood to name a few.

Often these connective tissues are referred to as "dry" tissues; yin yoga is intended to lubricate the body and ensure the cleansing and longterm health of the tissues. Everyone can and will benefit from this practice and it is the perfect compliment to any physical activity.

 


“Yin Yoga is simple, but simple does not mean easy.” ― Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga


Along with the physical benefits of yin yoga, the mental and emotional bodies are influenced as well. This practice is one of decluttering the mind and cultivating stillness. Trauma and emotional "stickiness" that builds in the body over acute stresses or past issues begin to organically exit the body as these deep tissues begin to soften and relax. This practice may look easy on the outside, but often yin practitioners will learn that finding this stillness and fully, truly letting go may be the hardest part of yoga. Like any self-work, it takes practice. The body begins to naturally soften and open over time, with patience.

Learn more about Yogalife Studio's yin yoga classes available at north and south.

Chatting Ashtanga With Melissa Perret

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Ashtanga, Floating and the Elusive Seated Jump Through

This week we caught up with Melissa Perret, avid Ashtanga practitioner and instructor at Yogalife Studios.  You may know her from her challenging and rewarding classes at both Yogalife Studios south and north; she brings a passion and intensity that always leaves you happy you came.  This weekend she is co-hosting "Ashtanga, Floating and the Elusive Seated Jump Through" alongside Ricky Brennan at Yogalife Studios North (full workshop details below).     ashtanga yoga downward dog

 

Here's what Melissa shared with us about her relationship to the practice she holds so dearly and the little details that accompany the journey!

 

Ashtanga Yoga: A Quick History

  Ashtanga yoga is one of the few practices we have that is based on a long lineage of tradition and is passed on through parampara...teacher student relationships. There are texts that cite it to be thousands of years old, and we faithful practitioners today try to keep this tradition alive and blossoming.   It is the one practice we have that requires a dedicated practice 6 days a week, which, as I know, can be quite challenging, but if you start to follow the method, as prescribed, come to your mat, breath deeply, used the bandhas and follow the vinyasa count, you will start to notice the most profound changes, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.   ashtanga yoga jump through

Moving Through the Practice

Primary series is know as Yoga Cikitsa, which 'means cleanse of the body'. It is a purification through our breath and asanas. Once we are pure in the the body, it becomes easy to have pure thoughts and emotions!

  The jump through... we do this a lot in Ashtanga. I mean a lot. And it is quite possibly one of the most challenging vinyasa to obtain. This is why it is elusive! But if you find the work in more simple postures, which we will talk about in our workshop, then it becomes a bit easier to catch each time you try.   ashtanga yoga jump through   As I stated earlier, when you stop cheating ...heehee, I use this a lot in my classes...in your regular practice and actually work really hard at seemingly easy movements, then the more challenging aspects that will come later are just that much easier because you have already established a solid foundation. For example, don't swing your leg when you are lunging, learn to use your core and your bandhas. Don't drink water when it is time to do core work in class! You are missing out on vital information, even though it isn't always the most fun.

 


This jump through took me a super long time. And even then I still can barely catch it through an entire practice, but I always try my best. That is all that really matters.


I learned many great techniques from my teacher, David Robson, and his system really helped me, but of course I did some nose dives along the way, went through an awkward time when it did not look pretty at all, but essentially, you let that all go and focus on the work and the process and have fun. And all of a sudden one day it is just happening. The fruits of your labour! Does it matter if you ever can do it? No, but I guarantee you that you can!   ashtanga yoga jump through

 

You have to have faith in everything you do. It may seemingly be impossible at first, just like anything that looks hard, but keep trying and it will come. Trust me, I am not naturally bendy or strong. I was yelled at in India for being a weak one...even given homework to get stronger! But I never gave up. All you have to do is work hard, forget the end product and enjoy the journey. All of a sudden you will forget about obtaining the asanas and realize that the true practice of yoga lies in the calmness in the breath in the face of our challenges. When this is obtained, beauty will start to spark within, and soon yoga is with you at all times:)     ashtanga yoga jump through   Join Ricky and Melissa as they guide you through the fundamentals of a strong, safe vinyasa method, with tools that can help you in all your asana practice.  There will be an emphasis on floating, bandhas and the beautiful jump to seated. Their years of experience can help aid you in what work needs to be put in along the way and how much fun you can have in the meantime!   Leave expectations behind you and just come and have a lot of fun.   Ricky and Melissa are both devout followers of ashtanga yoga and diligently practice 6 days a week.  They both know the trials and tribulations that go into just coming to your mat everyday, facing your fears, your weaknesses, your strengths, everything that is thrown at you.

 


"We have experienced nothing but pure joy from this system and have had barriers start to disappear. Through this workshop we hope that maybe your hurdles will start to fade as well!"


Ashtanga, Floating and the Elusive Seated Jump Through Saturday May 7, 2016 Yogalife Studios North 2:30-5:30pm

register here!

Yogalife Studios Teacher Training: That's a Wrap!

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yogalife teacher trainingYogalife Studios Teacher Training Program: Final Weekend Excitement!

Yogalife Studios is celebrating an amazing group of brand new certified instructors this weekend as they wrap up the latest 200 hour Foundational Teacher Training program. After a ten day intensive at Yogalife Studios North, the group hosted a public class full of friends and family. All their hard work, focus and energy has definitely paid off and the whole room was filled with love and laughter (HEAPS of both!). Sunday marks their final session which we're sure will be followed by a well-deserved rest! As their training comes to a close, they embark on letting the teachings of the past few months settle in as they continue on this journey.

 

We caught up with the group today to capture some of their bursting energy and excitement!

 

yogalife teacher training yogalife teacher training

yogalife teacher training

yogalife teacher training

We are so excited to see what happens next with this incredible group of vibrant humans. You're in the family now!

Interested in taking a teacher training? Check out this blog for more insight. Also, we've just announced our Fall 2016 dates. Head to www.yogalife.education to learn more.

3 Ways to Connect With Nature on Earth Day

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earth day yogi

 

Happy Earth Day!

 

Founded in 1970 by Wisconsin Governor and US Congressman Gaylord Nelson, this day reminds us to respect our mother, the one and only Gaia. Throughout his career, Nelson gave thousands of inspiring speeches to encourage humanity into environmental and political action - to make a difference in our local communities and globally.

 


"Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures." Gaylord Nelson


Our connection with nature inspires us to make these changes. When we bask in her beauty we understand how sacred and important it is to respect her. Perhaps surrounding ourselves with this beauty is the best reminder to make the little changes that lead to the big ones.

 

Today we're sharing three simple ways to feel connected with nature, to celebrate this amazing place we call home, and to inspire the respect and attention the planet deserves.

 

1. Get Outside and Be Present

This one seems pretty obvious but sometimes we forget to be present on our commute or outdoor exercise routine. When we consciously spend time in nature we feel the breeze, take in the textures, hear the offerings around us. Let this become a practice of gratitude and a reminder of just how beautiful it is out there. Take your yoga practice outside, dig in a garden, bring a sketchbook or camera on a walk and let Gaia be your muse.

 

2. Eat Raw

We are what we eat. One way to feel connected with nature is to ingest it! Enjoying an entirely raw meal allows us to soak in the full nutrients of our food without any interruption. Play around with the flavours and colours of nature in your dish and pour thanks into every bite.

 

3. Guided Earth-Focused Meditation

Going on an inward journey is a beautiful way to create a healing intention for something bigger. Try one of these guided meditations to reconnect with the planet, mindfully sending your love and energy out into it.

 

Enjoy Earth Day celebrations in your community and let the inspiration from this one day spill into the rest.  

Mythos: A Springtime Fair

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It's time to welcome back the sun and invite in the warmth of spring, together.

Spring has definitely arrived and the community is abuzz with amazing pop-up events and offerings. We are so excited for Mythos: A Springtime Fair, headed up by our own Keia Dreger. This FREE one-day event is taking place next Thursday, April 21 at Alberta Avenue Community League to celebrate the connection with our community through shared intentional space.

 

Check out the schedule below, including Yogalife instructors Caitlin Varrin and Graham Parsons.

 

View the Facebook Event for more details and updates!

 

MYTHOS: A SPRINGTIME FAIR

Music, Art, Local Vendor Village and All Day Workshops! Free All Ages Community Event! Prop Jam OutsidE (Weather Permitting)

 

SCHEDULE OF OFFERINGS

Mythos Springtime Fair

A Note From Keia: Please bring a yoga mat or something comfortable to sit on for the workshops, especially if you do plan to practice yoga! If you are going to join the drum circle, bring a drum or a rattle! There will be free tea and coffee as well. If you'd like some please make sure you BRING YOUR OWN MUG. We also encourage you to bring a journal so you can record everything you learned! And put on your Thursday best as Amber Cleasby will be taking beautiful photographs during the day as well as you may catch us filming for a compilation video of the day for us all to remember :) Spring themed costumes or tribal warrior attire is always acceptable!

 

Feat Local Edmonton Music:

 

Joel Ross: Yoga Set: Hand Pan Drum

 

Collectivision Collectivision has been getting wyrd. Inspired by the West Coast Bass Music scene, & blackened deathcore… Jeffrey likes to bring an eclectic experience to the dance floor. Being a member of the United Bass Kollective for over two years, performing at Astral Harvest for the past two years, & Zion Noiz last year have inspired Collectivision to hone in on music production. Keep your eyes peeled for his debut album :)

https://soundcloud.com/collectivision

 

BEFAIRE

Befaire (Brendan Fair) is a DJ/Producer originating from Edmonton ,AB with a real flavour for House & Techno music. Since 2012 the lad's been picking up steam in outré style, playing numerous events, parties & gatherings alike. Showing great promise in his own productions, expect to hear some deep groovy sonances arriving in the near future. His sound gathers influence from the likes of Frits Wentink, Fold, David August, Atjazz to name a few. He is genuinely stoked to share this experience with you & prepare to have your truffles ruffled. https://soundcloud.com/befairemusic

 

FastWolf

Downtempo delights produced by local talent Benoit! https://soundcloud.com/fastwolf

Looking forward to connecting with everyone in our lovely community next week.