yogalife

Restorative Yoga: Reset for 2018

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For many people, the final month before the conclusion of the year can be one of the busiest, most stressful of the year. Despite the joyful advertisements, the influx of holiday movies, and the cheery music in the mall, December and January comes with its share of challenges. It’s a non-stop push from the very beginning right up to New Years’ Eve, where we’re constantly on the go.

It’s a non-stop push from the very beginning right up to New Years’ Eve, where we’re constantly on the go.

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If we’re not shopping to find the perfect gifts, or organizing quality time with our loved ones, we may be working shifts where multiple colleagues are on vacation, or enduring the challenge that is the retail business during those dreaded sale weeks. At the conclusion of all of this, we come into the New Year, perhaps dreading the credit card bill that will come reflecting the previous months indulgences, and gift giving. Add to this mix that we’re basically doing all this during the weeks where we get the least daylight, it’s no wonder that our bodies would be craving a reset of some sort after all is said and done.


Often, media bombards the New Year with advertisements encouraging people to hit the gym hard to make up for the previous years indulgences. We are by no means opposed to people taking on a healthier, active lifestyle as part of their New Years resolution, but we do think that it’s important to examine the other end of the spectrum as well.

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When we’re coming out of the chaos of the previous year, while we think this is the prime time to make up for lost time by engaging in intense exercise practices, we also think it’s time to try and unwind from that stressful period and release that tension through gentler activities. 

Another is restorative yoga. Restorative yoga works on the basis that our body will benefit from passive, but gentle supported stretches that are held for an extended period of time. This allows the body time to reset by allowing for a soft tissue stretch that is gentle, but aligned using props, or even the wall for support. Below are 5 restorative yoga poses that are sure to benefit anyone looking for a way to relax, but also reap the benefits of a good stretch. Hold each posture for 5 to 7 minutes each.


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Child's Pose

Child's pose in any form is a great way to gently stretch into tight glutes, tight shoulders, and a tight lower back. We like this version, with the arms resting gently at either side, forehead to the ground. If the range in your hips isn't there to bring your bottom towards your feet, place a bolster, or firm pillow under the chest to elevate the upper body. 

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Reclining Hero Pose

For a gentle way to stretch into tight hip flexors, reclining hero pose, especially with a bolster or pillows under the length of the spine to decrease the depth of the posture, is an excellent way to tackle both the iliopsoas complex and the quadriceps muscles simultaneously. 

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Reclining Bound Angle 

Reclining bound angle pose, or reclined butterfly pose is an excellent way to gently stretch into tight adductor muscles of the groin. If your knees do not reach the ground when parted, foam blocks under the thighs just above the knees allows for this posture to maintain a passive nature, while still achieving a stretch. 

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Frog Pose

Another method of stretching into tight adductors is through frog pose which allows gravity to gently push the pelvis between the thighs. If the chest does not reach the ground comfortably, a bolster under the chest, aligned with the length of the torso allows this pose to be more passive.

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Happy Baby Pose

Finally, to get a simultaneous stretch into the adductor muscles of the thighs, as well as the hamstrings, which can be adjusted based on how much you straighten your knees, Happy Baby Pose is an excellent stretch to re-align the pelvis. Modify by grasping the outside edge of the feet if your hips are naturally more open. Peace fingers around the big toes is a modified version for those of us with tighter hips. 

If you're interested in taking a guided Restore and Renew class, please check our class schedule for available times. Below is a link to our information page on Restore and Renew:

MONTHLY BEATS • More Sunny Days Please

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
— Plato

It's Edmonton. We get it. Snow comes yet again. Here's to some sunny days and hot weather soon. 

I've put together a little list of upbeat tunes to keep your mood up and get that booty shaking. Upbeat, meant for you to get up and dance, dance the snow away. 

 

Featured Yogi || Gabi Weaver

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Gabi - PRINT-3  

Gabi joined the Yogalife Studios family in November 2014. She's brought along an awesome, bright energy and a unique skillset with her training in therapeutic yoga. Her classes are fun, energetic, and informative. You can check out her class schedule here and read more about her therapeutic yoga classes here.

 


 

How did you get your yogic start?  Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

I took my first Yoga classes in Vancouver from a pretty woman named Susan, in 1997. I took the class at the advice of the personal trainer at the gym where I went to work out. The class was in a beautiful spare room, and luckily, Susan was an excellent teacher, so I kept going. From the very first class, I knew I wanted to become a Yoga teacher. I felt the power of yoga coursing through my veins, my heart, my soul. The great tragedy of this moment was that I was in my mid-twenties, had a lot of student loan debt, and was just starting my career in Marketing. I knew that yoga would be in my future, but at that time, I could not afford to pursue it. It was difficult to find yoga classes, never mind a teacher training. Thankfully, that has all changed. Almost 10 years after my first Yoga class, in 2006, I became a Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. It was a life-changing moment in every way. I do not know of any other job that could bring me as much joy and contentment and gratitude. I absolutely LOVE teaching Yoga, and I love everything about our field. I think it is the best job in the world!!

 

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

My own beliefs about life are to: “Treat everyone you meet with love and respect, we are all equal.” “Be humble, be kind, be open, be soft, be sincere”. “Make goals, write them down, and never, ever give up.” “Do less, live more, breathe, stop and smell the roses.” “The way you treat those closest to you, says everything about you.” “ When you start living your truest life, the people and circumstances to help you make your goals and dreams come true will magically appear. “ Learn from your mistakes and past, only you can decide to treat them as lessons, and the reasons for your success, rather than reasons for your failure.”

And some famous quotes that have inspired me:

“If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.” Mother Theresa “The meaning of Life is to find your gift. The Purpose of Life is to give it away”. African Proverb “Live as if you were to die tomorrow” Learn as though you were to live forever” Mahatma Ghandi

 

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

I love to practice to great music, and my tastes run all over the place- world music, Afro-cuban, Latin jazz, Bohemian ethnic music, Canadian alternative, instrumental, singer/songwriter,etc. One of my secret disappointments is not being a musician myself. I must content myself with being able to make a great playlist, and being able to use music to inspire, energize, and relax students in my Yoga classes. That said, I think the best yoga practice is when there is no music, but the steady and sweet sound of my own Ujjayi breath.

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

I read voraciously, and always have. I like to read about Yoga, Travel, Cooking, Nutrition, Food, Farming, and Healing. I tend to choose books that are funny, wise, and inspiring. I enjoy memoirs, some of my favorites were Mahatma Ghandi, The Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela. I have read some great Yoga memoirs: Yoga Bitch, by Susan Morrison, May I be Happy, by Cyndi Lee, Warrior Pose, by Brad Willis, Do your OM thing, by Rebecca Pacheco, Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, by Stephen Cope, and Hell-Bent, by Benjamin Lorr.

 

Tell us about your first teacher training.

I was lucky enough to study with a true Yoga master, Karen Claffey, in Montreal. She had certifications in practically everything, and was very wise, thoughtful, and supportive. She taught us more than just yoga, but a way of life, as she lived and breathed the teachings and philosophies of Yoga. It was a life-changing experience, and I feel very blessed to have had Karen as my first teacher.

 

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

Every year, I travel to Sivananda Ashram, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It is very different from staying in a resort. It is incredibly beautiful, and rustic. I go alone, stay in a tent, connect to nature, meet amazing new people who become life-long friends and enjoy the healthiest vegetarian food. I take programs and spend my days learning. Everyone at the ashram must attend the two daily Satsangs, which are made up of meditation, Kirtan, (group singing in Sanskrit) and presentations from the many visiting program teachers and spiritual leaders at the ashram. Our days start at 5:30 am, and are busy until 10pm. I always make time for a couple of daily swims in the breathtakingly clear turquoise ocean, and walks on the pristine fine white sand beaches. My yearly trips to the ashram are completely rejuvenating, nourishing and life-changing, both mentally and spiritually.

 

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

I am a huge foodie, and love to cook many ethnic foods that require hunting for exotic spices and ingredients. I love Vietnamese, African, Japanese, Brazilian, Indian, Mediterranean, French, Turkish, Lebanese, and Czech cooking. My meals can best be described as simple, very fresh, well-seasoned, very tasty and healthy. I could easily be a Chef, if my own Mom (herself a European-trained Chef) did not constantly dissuade me from a life of cruel hours and intense pressure.

 

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What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

I have been lucky enough to have formed some strong and very honest friendships with some of my yoga students. Many of my students have hugged me and told me that I had changed their lives. I am grateful to be able to teach Yoga therapeutically for people in recovery in treatment centers and people suffering from eating disorders, severe PTSD, and intense anxiety and depression. I have been lucky enough to have influenced many people on their path in life. Each of these experiences has taught me about the real meaning of life, how to love, how to forgive, how to heal, how to overcome great tragedy, and become all that you are capable of.

 

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

I could never just pick one! But, I do love inversions, and I’m pretty sure I spent more time upside down than right side up as a child.

 

Who inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere, in my closest family and friends, complete strangers, and even in a bad situation, I try and see what I am meant to learn from it. I think it is so important to live consciously, mindfully, and to surround yourself with inspiring influences and people, and to constantly step outside your comfort zone and grow into the person you are meant to be.

 

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

Hmmm…that’s a tough one. There are so many wonderful and talented teachers. I would have loved to have studied with the great masters of Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabi Jois. However, I would love to study with Kathryn Budig, and Kino Macgregor. They have qualities as teachers that I greatly admire. Tenacity, kindness, honesty, acceptance, humor and how to be humble. I would also love to study with some well-known Therapeutic Yoga teachers, Bo Forbes, Amy Weintraub, Timothy McCall, and Kelly McGonigal, among many others.

 

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

Jake Bugg, who is an almost unknown but very gifted and dynamic singer/songwriter from the U.K.

 

Where's the next place you want to travel?

Hawaii!!

 

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Yoga, meditation and pranayama has always been my way to heal, whether it is body, mind or spirit.

 

Share one of your life goals.

To consistently make the goals and choices that will lead me to living the life that I have always dreamed of. To live consciously, simply, and from the heart.

5 reasons to get your kid(s) into yoga

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edmonton kids yoga Yoga is for everyone, which is why we are so excited to offer a five day teen yoga camp from July 27-31. Join Nicole from Blue Mango Children’s Yoga for a week of yoga movements, discussions on anatomy, visualization, journaling, jewelry making, smoothing drinking, art creating, and most importantly, laughing out loud with new friends.

This camp is designed for youth aged 10-15. This camp will teach you about body image, safe risk taking, trust in self and one another, strengthening courage, goal planning and the art of dreaming big.

 


“Yoga totally transformed me, and I just want to pay it forward and speak to the youth in a way they are going to understand.”

- MC Yogi on why he is a firm believer of spreading yoga to children


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Here's our top 5 reasons for getting children involved in this amazing journey:

 

1. Improves concentration: When your child gets used to the physical practice (asana or poses), they automatically improve their concentration skills. Your child learns how to sit still in one place and focus on what’s important as opposed to letting their mind wander and be distracted easily. This will help them at school, concentrate better, and achieve better grades.

 

2. Increases flexibility and balance: Yoga helps improve flexibility and balance and tones their muscles too. It makes them stronger and less likely to suffer sprains and fractures through accidental falls.

 

3. Improves general well-being: Kids who practice yoga regularly feel good about themselves and are healthier and happier than those who don’t. They feel both mentally and physically rejuvenated after a yoga session and this improves their mental and physical health.

 

4. Boosts confidence: When your child is able to display great agility and flexibility, it does wonders for their confidence. Their improved performance at school also helps boost their popularity and their self assurance. They become more poised and start to believe in their abilities. This feeling provides them with the adrenaline they need to achieve success in all their endeavours.

 

5. Relaxes their minds: Even kids are subject to a great deal of stress these days because of their workload at school and the high expectations that their parents/teachers have for them. They are pushed to be achievers at every single point of their lives, and when they fail, they take it to heart and become depressed. Yoga helps them relax and de-stress when they feel upset or depressed. It soothes their frayed minds and helps them get back to a normal mental state.

 

Kids are more flexible and agile than adults, so the earlier you get kids started on to yoga, the more benefits they gain.

 

About Nicole:

Nicole is passionate about teaching yoga to children/teens and cultivating play with in her classes. She has been working with young children in various capacities for ten years. With her extensive knowledge in early childhood development and her passion for yoga, her classes are educational, active, fun and relaxing. Nicole has indepth training with Next Generation Yoga and Yoga In My School and is currently working towards her Registered Children's Yoga Teacher credentials (RCYT). Nicole loves teaching yoga to children as much as she loves learning from her curious students.

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Yogalife Studios North | Nicole Owczarczyk July 27- July 31: 1:00- 4:00 pm Ages 10-15 $165 for 1 yogi and $300 for 2 Register Here!


Inner Glow Nutrition Recipe || Raw 'Tuna' Salad

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Kristin Fraser, the guru behind Inner Glow Nutrition, is back with another delicious recipe, perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!  

tuna salad wrap

 

Summer is here and it’s time for renewed commitment to your health. Winter comfort food cravings start to subside and fresh, lighter foods are where it’s at. A perfect recipe to add to your mix is the sunflower “tuna” salad below. Perfect for topping on rice crackers, cucumber slices or lettuce wraps with the recommended goodies. Go to http://www.innerglownutrition.ca/something-to-chew-on to read up on more health benefits of sunflower seeds and be sure to check out this month's Chew Tube Video as well! Just 2 minutes! http://www.innerglownutrition.ca/chew-tube


Raw "Tuna" Salad Wrap

Serves 2


 

This Delicious faux “Tuna Salad” is a huge hit. Enjoy on top of crackers, (rice crackers or raw), with just cucumber slices or as a wrap as per below. 2 Cups Sunflower Seeds, soaked 12-24hrs 1/2 Cup pickle Juice (Bubbies Brand is best for some fermented goodness!) ¼ Cup Lemon Juice ½ Cup White Onion, minced ½ Cup Celery, minced ¼ Cup Red Pepper, minced ¼ Cup Parsley, minced ¼ Cup Dill, minced 2 Tbsp Dulse Flakes (or ground fresh dulse) *Optional toppings: vegan mayo, cucumber, tomatoes, pickles, sprouts

 

1. Process sunflower seeds with pickle juice and lemon juice. 2. Mix in remaining Ingredients. 3. Place in Wrap of choice: Collards, lettuce or sprouted grain tortilla with fresh sliced cucumber, vegan mayo if desired, fresh pickles, chopped fresh cherry tomatoes, mixed sprout mix.


Send us your favourite recipes to be featured on the blog!

Core Cleanse with Sarah Zandbeek

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The following post comes from Sarah Zandbeek, our friendly neighbourhood yogi, acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine magician.  Join Sarah this weekend for Core Cleanse, a two part-offering involving conversation and asana to understand and cleanse your digestive system more deeply.

 


Digestion, the actual breaking down of a whole into its parts so that the pure can be extracted and incorporated into the body and the impure can be expelled.

 


 

We tend to think of digestion as a physical act of our food being broken down and made into usable energy (ATP) for the body, which it is; however, we tend to forget that we are digesting everything all the time.  We digest emotions, reactions, life events, basically anything that is brought in to the body from the external and is internalized needs to be digested.

 

When we don’t slow down enough to allow the body to shift into our parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest, we not only literally put our active food digestive system to halt, we don’t digest life’s events either, both of which get stored in the body in different ways, shapes, and forms, eventually bunging the body up and cause a reaction.

 

Typically IBS, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, indigestion, epigastric discomfort, etc are our digestive tract issues; emotionally we see a restless or dull mind, anxiety, and even depression from lack of glucose able to go to the brain.

 

How to cure digestive woes? It is a life style.  It is NOT a momentary diet, though these can be helpful to get the digestive system back on track.  If we want to truly nourish our health, it is through our food and it is over our entire life span from the moment we choose to be healthy to the moment we pass on.

 

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It is healthy living, it is choosing to love yourself so much that you only want to put good things into your temple/vessel/body.

 

People change their diets when they are pregnant so that the baby has a chance to come out healthy, but why do we ourselves not want to be healthy?  Marketing?  Corporations tell us otherwise?  If you are truly wanting to uplift your digestion, you must uplift your Self first, so  eating healthy comes from a place of truth and yearning for well being, not from a place that wants to be skinny so that other people will think you are perfect.

 

It is meditating so your mind is clear and free of desire, it is avoiding rag mags, tv, and general advertising that makes you think you need to be anything more than your truest self.

 

At the core of your being, you want to live a fruitful, healthy, happy life and I can guarantee you, that truth does not say ” I want McDonald’s.”

 

Amen, Namaste, Om Sarah Z

 


CORE CLEANSE:

The Conversation || Saturday, January 31 || 2:30pm The Practice || Sunday, February 2 || 3:30pm register here


Mommy & Me

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The morning sickness, achy lower back, and fatigue of pregnancy have passed. But for new mamas, a whole other different set of physical conditions often accompanies the bliss of loving your little creation. Luckily, yoga can help address the most common concerns after having your little one. And moms aren't the only ones who can benefit from yoga; a few basic moves for the wee one can make your infant more comfortable and calm.

 


Mommy & Me with Dawn McCorry Yogalife Studios South || January 12-February 23, 1:30-2:30, register here Yogalife Studios North || January 14-February 18, 1:15-2:15, register here


 

Kari Edwards at MindBodyGreen offers these tips for new yogi mamas:

 

1. Focus on breathing.

In the first few weeks after birth your body needs time to recover so the best thing you can do is put your asana practice aside and focus on pranayama and meditation. When you're feeding your baby or in need of a boost after a long sleepless night, practice breathing deep into your belly long and slow through your nose.

Close your eyes and focus on the feeling of the breath as it moves in and out of your body. Even if you only manage one deep breath, your body and mind will thank you. Do this as often as you need throughout the day and it will help focus and calm your mind and enjoy these special early moments.

 

2. Ease into your practice with forward bends.

Provided you are recovering well and had a normal birth, beginning to include a few forward bends around two weeks or so post birth can help to compress your belly and aid in returning your uterus to its pre-pregnancy position. Check with your midwife if it's OK before you begin.

Sit with your legs together straight out in front of you. (You can lie your baby on your legs or beside you if you wish.) Bend forward from the hips, remembering not to push yourself, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths here.

 

3. Before you begin to include asana in your daily yoga practice, wait until six weeks postnatal or until you have the OK from your doctor or midwife.

If your baby allows you to put her down, you can begin with a few rounds (or just one round) of Sun Salutations to get your body moving and stretching again. Include chest and shoulder stretches such as eagle arms to stretch out a sore back from holding the baby and nursing. If your baby just needs to be held, you can practice a few gentle lunges or some standing hip rotations while you soothe your baby.

If you are feeling steady, you can include balancing asana like tree pose while you hold your baby but remember to take things slow and not to push yourself.

The key to transitioning from a prenatal to a post natal yoga practice is to take things slow. Listen to what your body needs as it changes and remember that you don’t need to be on the mat for a 60-minute period to benefit from yoga. Little bite-sized bits of yoga in your day will help to keep you calm and centered and to enjoy the many benefits of yoga.

 

 

Foundation Friday || Ujjayi Breath

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  

Find the balance of fierce grace with this essential yogic breath.

 


Foundation Friday || Ujjayi Breath


Ujjayi Breath Pranayama

"Ud" = moving upward, "Jaya" = conquest, victory fire breath, victorious breath, ocean breath

 

“Remember the connection between breath and movement: every movement comes out of breath. Rather than moving with and following the breath, the breath should initiate the movement. Practicing this way, we will be moved by the breath like the autumn wind picking up leaves.”

- Gregor Maehle

 

Ujjayi breath is a pranayama technique that allows you to focus and calm the mind.  Often coupled with asana, this breath will guide you deeper into poses, steady your intention and allow you to experience your yoga more fully.  In your practice, breath is regarded as the teacher; how you move and where you go is paralleled with the rhythm of your breath.  Ujjayi breath is strong, fierce, warming - your pranayamic partner to bring you out of fear, anxiety, or judgement.  Just as the intensity of your practice fluctuates, so does your breath.  You may choose to use this fiery breath throughout your practice, or switch it up with a more gentle nostril breath like sama vritti to adjust the tone of the moment.

* note that Ujjayi pranayama involves breath retention and Ujjayi breath is the steady rhythm, sans retention

 

Benefits of Ujjayi Breath

 

  • increases focus
  • calms the mind
  • builds concentration
  • creates internal heat
  • increases oxygenation
  • tones the lungs
  • facilitates the flow of prana
  • builds energy throughout practice
  • clears toxins
  • creates awareness, especially within transitions of asanas
How do you get there?

 

Ujjayi breath is done through the nose, travelling down deep into the belly and filling up the rib cage.  A hissing or "wave-like" sound is created upon exhale through the constriction of the back of the throat.  Breath is slowed by the diaphragm and by this constriction, resulting in an audible exhale.  The length of inhale and exhale is even and smooth, and intensity of this breath may increase in conjunction with the intensity of asana.  You may liken Ujjayi breathing to fogging up a mirror with your breath with the mouth closed.  Again, intensity can fluctuate but the principle of restricting the back of the throat is key.

 

 

 

 

Foundation Friday | Prenatal Yoga

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  Today we're sharing tips on prenatal yoga.  

Our post today comes from Emily NcNicoll (who you may remember from Monday), our prenatal-passionate yogalifer. This piece was written specifically for teachers and is equally important for an expecting yogi to understand the limits of her body and practice.

 


 Pregnancy in Yoga by Emily McNicoll


 

Although it can be intimidating to have a pregnant lady walk into your class, it is a wonderful chance to serve a woman that is going through a lot of change and would likely appreciate your support. Remember that knowledge is power and keeping educated with simple guidelines can make a big difference to your teaching experience and the way in which you serve your community.

 

Just like asking people about injuries, being informed about a pregnant woman in class is important. A simple “If you’re pregnant, come have a chat with me before class starts” is a good way to let a woman know she is seen and cared for by her teacher. Also, talking with front desk staff at the studio can be a good way to stay informed. Knowing the basic do’s and don’ts about practicing yoga while pregnant is a great way to build confidence as a teacher and a great service to all potential students.

 


Things to keep in mind and at heart:


Pregnant women produce high levels of a hormone called Relaxin. One of the roles that this hormone has is allowing for the ligaments around the pelvis to relax therefore allowing the bones of the pelvis to shift for childbirth. In terms of any exercise that involves stretching, it is very important for a pregnant woman to stay away from acute sensation in her joints (i.e knees) as Relaxin can make her ligaments and tendons more susceptible to injuries than a person who is not pregnant. My advice to the woman is to engage firm foundation of hands and feet (hasta and pada bhanda,) avoid hyperextension, and ease away from any painful sensations.

 

Pregnancy tends to induce heat in the body as it is literally working to grow life. With this in mind, encouraging woman to ask the teacher to cool down the room when she is feeling too hot is really important. A cooler room is often a relief to a pregnant woman as her internal temperature is high. I often bring a sweater when I teach prenatal so all the woman can remain comfortable, myself included!

 

Just like paying close attention to painful sensations and her own temperature, encouraging a pregnant woman to set her own pace and listen to her body is important. Teaching modified postures first and then offering more challenging variations is a great way to allow a woman to empower herself with choice. One day she meets her mat she may be up for a lot of physical challenge and the next day it could be different. This is why as a teacher being educated in modifications and prop use is really important.

 

When a woman asks about other classes that she can attend, going through a studios schedule with her and advising her of a few “don’ts” is really important. Here are the things she should know when exploring her yoga practice:

 

Always talk to the teacher before class to inform them of the pregnancy.

 

No hot or warm yoga. As explained above, a pregnant womans body temperature is on the rise. It is important not to aggravate this further. Also, pregnancy is thought to be a good time to introvert and build the bodies energy. Hot yoga can easily exhaust energy reserves which are needed for childbirth and being a mother. This is another great reason to encourage a woman to go at her own pace as only she will truly know what she’s feeling and her own personal needs.

 

No core yoga. A little bit of core engagement is encouraged (like 20-25% of her capacity) as it helps to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor and support her spine and hips. A core yoga class would not be recommended.

 

No arm balances. Unless a woman already has a strong inversions practice, staying away from arm balances is a safe bet. The risk of her falling out of the posture must be considered. Keeping her and her child safe is obviously important. Likewise when doing one legged balancing postures. Pregnant woman should be encouraged to use a wall when getting into and out of the poses with the option to play with taking hands off the wall. Some women find their balance to be way different when they are pregnant and the wall is there for her safety.

 

No deep twists. Gentle twists are a great way to lengthen and restore the spine but deeper twists with core engagement are a great way to encourage elimination. Keeping a soft lower belly and lots of room for the uterus is important.

 


A couple other things to consider:


The feet in forward folds should be a little wider than hip distance apart. In the beginning stages of pregnancy it will leave space for the womb and with in the later stages it will be the best way to accommodate the babies growth.

 

In the second and third trimester laying flat on her back is not recommended. The baby can put pressure on the mothers aorta (a main artery) and cause loss of blood flow to the brain and heart. Modifying reclined postures like savasana with bolsters is a good way to keep her more upright. You can also recommend resting on the LEFT side with a bolster between the thighs and one under her head. The left side is important due to the position of the aorta.

 

Know your oils! Some essential oils can cause uterine contractions. If you’re using oils in class be aware of the contraindications and when in doubt, don’t use them.


If you're interested in prenatal classes at Yogalife Studios, please get in touch with us at info@yogalifestudios.ca or by calling either of the studios.

Our next round of prenatal yoga classes start December 4th at Yogalife Studios South with Sara Cueva and December 5th at Yogalife Studios North with Emily McNicoll.

 

Body Talk

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Body Talk: Are You Listening?


Self study happens on many levels.  Each cell in our body shares our human experience; love resonates in our every fibre, as does shame, guilt, fear and anger.  You may hear the hips referred to as the "emotional junk drawer of the body" or notice that certain parts of your body ache more with certain stresses.  Humans store emotional experiences in their bodies and a yoga practice is a way to not only study these imprints, but to release them.

 

Alanna Kaivalya at MindBodyGreen shares the following:

 

"What we hold in our bodies as tightness translates into what we hold in our bodies as energetic stress and tension. For example, most of us recognize that someone with a hunched upper back has more than just shoulder and chest tightness, they also may have depression, sadness or fear. Other portions of the body store specific kinds of energetic tension that are exhibited as tightness and inflexibility.

 

Energetically speaking, our hips are where we store the emotional stress caused by a lack of creativity, difficult intimate relationships and the coinciding emotional roller-coasters. The hips are the energetic location of the second chakra, which is ruled by emotions, creativity and intimacy. Life stressors in these areas become lodged in the hips, resulting in difficulty opening up - both literally and metaphorically."

 

 

If you're looking to deepen the way you release in your yoga practice, we have the perfect offering coming up on November 22 at Yogalife Studios South.

 


Yin, Partner Massage & Self-Healing with Sara Cueva


 

Join Sara Cueva for a three hour workshop designed to educate you on the various methods to incorporate a more well rounded approach to your existing yoga practice. This workshop will include a short discussion on the relevance of, and importance of exploring, fascial release. Sara will guide you through the various techniques used to incorporate instrument assisted fascial release into your body to ensure the proper flow of nutrients within, followed by techniques for partner yoga massage, and will complete this nourishing journey with a yin practice to focus on the connective tissue of the body. This workshop will involve hands on work, so come with a friend, partner, or spouse, OR ensure you are comfortable touching and being touched by someone you may not know. This workshop is open to all levels (no prior yoga experience is required).

 

Register here!

 

Foundation Friday: Swadhyaya

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  Today we are sharing a teaching from Pantanjali's classic yoga sutras, Swadhyaya or self-study.  

 


Foundation Friday: Swadhyaya, Self-Study


Swadhyaya, the 4th Niyama Sva | Self Adhyaya | investigation or inquiry

 

“Study, when it is developed to the highest degree, brings one close to higher forces that promote understanding of the most complex.”

 -The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 11.44

 

Swadhyaya is one of the five Niyamas (daily observances) presented in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  These practices are the foundation of a yogic life; the system of the Niyamas lend to simplifying clutter and observing/attaining stillness.  Pantanjali teaches that these practices progress your spiritual life on the basis that everything you need is inward.  What one looks for is already there.  These 5 observances are a system meant to work in harmony rather than isolation.

 

 

Patanjali also notes that this Niyama involves the study of the ancient scriptures pertaining to Yoga (The Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).  These teachings are used to assist us in engaging in life spiritually through self-inquiry.  As we meditate and contemplate our own life's lessons - our thoughts, emotions, reactions - we begin to learn about our true Self.  Reflecting on our own flaws, patterns and stories rather than those of others gives us the opportunity to grow, allowing our mistakes to become lessons.  In your life and within your yoga practice, look at yourself with the same discernment you use with others.  As if you are watching your life on film, notice what happens with your sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts and breath; feel empowered through your process of self-study.

 

The Five Niyamas

 

The first Niyama: Saucha

Saucha is cleanliness which involves keeping your body clean inside and out.  This includes eating the right food, decluttering your environment, communicating with clean and clear words as well as purification of the mind.

 

The second Niyama: Santosha

Santosha or contentment is the practice of being content with having enough in life.

 

The third Niyama: Tapas

Tapas is the practice of austerity or self discipline. This is a practice for simplifying your life, removing all the unnecessary things that do not serve you. It is a way of reflecting the external into the internal to refine your needs.  The interference of thoughts and emotions can prevent us from seeing our inner stillness.

 

The fourth Niyama: Swadhyaya

The observance of Self allows you freedom to step into your highest form through truth and discernment.

 

The fifth Niyama: Pranidhana

This practice allows us to surrender to the divine or higher reality.  Yoga is a spiritual practice but not a religion - the science and vehicle that enables us to understand our own beliefs better.

Acro Yoga Fundamentals

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Meet Luc Felicidade, Gaiatri Yoga Training grad and acro yoga LOVER, amongst other things! Luc is joining us at Yogalife Studios South to offer Acro Yoga Fundamentals, a playful workshop to learn the basics of acro yoga. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills and deepen the ones you may already have.

 

 

In AcroYoga Fundamentals, not only will you learn the 7 fundamentals of AcroYoga, you will learn how to safely practice at home with friends. AcroYoga Fundamentals will take the foundations of yoga into the air in a fun and playful way. This interactive workshop will include foundational postures including therapeutics.

 

 

If you have been thinking about giving AcroYoga a try, this is your chance.

All levels of yoga and fitness are encouraged to attend as you explore partner yoga poses and take flight in AcroYoga!

No partner required. Only a desire to have fun with others in your community.

If you are registering with a partner, there is a discount!

 


Acro Yoga Fundamentals Yogalife Studios South November 8, 2014 2:30-5pm register here!


 

Rock Your Bliss!

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Are You Ready To Rock Your Bliss Edmonton?


www.rockyourblissmovement.com/

Rock Your Bliss debuts in Edmonton on OCTOBER 3rd at Yogalife Studios South. It is a co-designed program — one part yoga and one part life coaching — where retreaters will discover how to “live a radical life rooted in choice, personal power, and sweat” using yoga, goal-setting, music, and laughter.

 


“Come in vulnerable,” LaRue says. “Be ready to show your underbelly, sing karaoke, and drink margaritas!” The goal is for retreaters to leave the workshop feeling empowered, sweaty, connected, ambitious, blissful, and maybe a little tipsy. They should come expecting “everything and nothing,” Carr says.


 

So, what does it mean to “Rock Your Bliss,” and where did such a concept derive? The movement is actually in its infancy. Carr and LaRue met through various work at lululemon athletica. While on a Wanderlust trip in February 2013, Carr, a life coach, and LaRue, a yoga instructor, found themselves sitting on a beach discussing the serendipitous relationship between their two fields. A week later, while back home in Venice Beach, Rock Your Bliss was born, and it’s been on a fast track ever since. In February 2014, Carr and LaRue took 22 yogis to Mexico for an “insanely magical” retreat.

 

However, while on a mission to help others unleash their potential, these two blisscrafting trailblazers have been on a self-discovery mission of their own, all fueled by their travels, encounters, and experiences. For LaRue, creating Rock Your Bliss has helped her discover her own vulnerability. “Learning to speak your truths so it doesn’t build up is the most important thing [to do] while collaborating with another person,” she says. “You have to hold yourself more accountable. You have to show up even when you don’t feel like it.”

 

For Carr, Rock Your Bliss has been about developing trust. “The art of collaboration is like being in a relationship,” Carr says. “It’s all about unraveling your ego and admitting that you can’t do everything yourself. We created this business in such a rapid way, so it was a huge leap of faith to learn how to open my mind and body to trusting Mary Beth. We leaned on each other, and it all just happened beautifully.”

Read more here: http://whirlmagazine.com/ready-rock-bliss-pittsburgh/

 


Rock Your Bliss || Yogalife Studios South || Friday, October 3, 7-9pm register here!


 

Getting Grounded in California

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Enjoying malasana at the beach in Ferndale, California.  Check out the rest of my #happyhips photos at www.instagram.com/ceeevs  


Yogalifer in the Field: Caitlin Varrin


Hi Friends!

Caitlin here, sharing some love from the road.  I'm on my second annual gallivant through California and loving every minute.  It's nice to feel home somewhere when you're far away from your own.  Last year I spent 3 months traversing this vast state and this year is shaping up to be a similar adventure.  What I love most about California is the opportunity here for me to reconnect and ground.  After an action-packed summer including 4 music festivals and the Gaiatri 200 hour teacher training, it's been really important for me to let my knowledge land and be still-ish.  Although my little travelling family does opt for many hikes and day trips, I have my personal time every day to go inward and get quiet with the trees. Heaven.

 

 

My home base is just outside of Eureka in the northern part of the state.  I am in the redwood forest; the trees in my backyard are 200-300 years old and I've hugged ones as old as 2400!  Sitting under these giants is a truly humbling experience; I revel in their majesty.  I've really been enjoying incorporating them in my photos for the Instagram challenge that Yogalife Studios is hosting right now with the lovely Sara Cueva! This place is oh so photogenic and inspiring!  We arrived here in the first week of September after having the best time imaginable at Burning Man in Nevada (that's a whole other article of photogenic and inspiring) and just returned 'home' from some California exploration.

 

 

One of our day trips included the most westerly point of the USA, a tiny community called Ferndale. California has a few little jut-outs along the coast and Ferndale exists on one.  You could say I'm truly west coast right now!  I fell in love with this town immediately; we originally went to check out the beach but got distracted by the most charming Victorian homes of all colours and extravagances... also the hyperbole of yard sales that graced their lawns!  Literally 32 sales in 4 blocks!  If you know me personally you know this is another indicator of heaven.  Some of my stellar finds include a $1 copy of Carolyn Myss' 'Anatomy of the Spirit', a wicked $2 denim jacket and a FREE meditation cushion.  After our tromp around town we did finally hit the beach with our new treasures in tow.  Nothing beats a good read and stretch on the beach!

 

 

I've been to California a bunch of times now and each time I like to cover new ground.  The next leg of our jaunt took us through Sierra County, back into desert-like heat, beautiful lakes and forests.  This was a nice switch-up from Eureka which is almost chilly (hold your YEG comments)!  This area was home to the California Gold Rush and you can still find tiny flecks of gold in the Yuba River (we're rich!).  This is one of the least-populated places in California and we truly enjoyed the pace they were working with.  We spoke with the locals to find the best camping spot and headed through Plumas National Forest to arrive at Goose Lake.  We were the only people there.  Again, heaven.  Camping with a fire-ban means lots of rock-tossing into the lake and really early bedtimes.  Extra chill.

 

 

There is something so special about experiencing different communities and chatting with the humans that live there.  When I first started teaching yoga at a variety of studios, this was one of my favourite things - dipping into communities, seeing how it's done, getting to know people from all over the city... connecting.  You can learn a lot by watching, asking a few questions and listening.  Best part?  You don't even have to leave home to do it.

 

So after exploring this new-to-us part of California we finally we looped back to the coast to my favourite place ever: San Francisco.  I know that my travels will take me to some amazing places in life but for now, 100%, this is my place.  We only stayed for one day and went and saw some epic music.  We'll be back for more at Halloween as it's only 4 hours south of Eureka and again, THE BEST.  The drive up the California coastline is as stunning as you can imagine!  We stopped at this place called Area 101, a sort-of spiritual clubhouse-looking place.  The main building donned amazing murals and beautiful statues of various deities.  There was grassy space with a tipi and a huge statue of Buddha.  So beautiful.  I've done this drive a few times now and have never stopped here.  Now I know to always stop.

 

 

My travels are scooping me home for a few weeks and then back to meet up with my family here and chase summer a little longer.  I plan to teach a workshop at a festival in Southern California that is dear to my heart and continue getting upside down and backwards in the trees.  I have a stack of books to read, an even bigger stack of magazines to collage with, and a bunch of uncharted forest waiting.  Not to mention 38772 more treks to San Fran to really get my heart bursting.

I'll see you in the hot room for a few weeks starting September 30th.  Sending ALL THE LOVE!

xo

Caitlin

 

 

 

 

Lindsey's Final Words

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Lindsey's final classes were on Saturday, September 6, 2014. As a parting gift to the studio, she wished to share a few final thoughts on her experience here as a Yogalife instructor.

Teaching at Yogalife was the reason I decided to quit my job and do yoga full time, which was the best decision I ever made.  Over the years not only have I grown so much as a student, a teacher, and a person, but I was blessed in watching the massive growth of our community.

Seeing familiar faces in my classes, and witnessing the amazing progression of each student reminded me everyday how lucky I am to be a yoga teacher.  

I received so much joy from being at the studio that I never wanted to leave!  I used to joke that I spent more time at Yogalife then I did at home, which wasn't much of a joke as it was absolutely true! (The couches are quite comfortable to sleep on really.)

There are so many great experiences that I will take with me as I transition into the next chapter of my life.

The friendships I made within the community, practicing and learning from the incredible teachers, ridiculousness and laughter with the amazing front desk staff, my forever loyal PUD crew, and so many more fantastic memories, that I will cherish for lifetimes.

The last 4 years have been beyond a rewarding experience for me.  

I truly feel that the energy and teachings that I offered, have been given back to me in exponential amounts by the students and community at Yogalife.

It has been a gift and a blessing to get to know each and every one of you, and I do hope that our paths will cross again.  

With infinite love and gratitude.

Lindsey

Festival City: Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

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Festival City: Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival


FRINGE: not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme (aka something you want to check out!!!)

 

This year marks the 33rd Edmonton International Fringe Festival, an 11-day event anchored in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona district.  The Fringe showcases a variety of independent theatre performances from more than 1,200 local, national and international artists.  Purchase a program guide from these retailers to plan out your Fringe experience.  Many shows sell out, so buy your tickets in advance!

 

Along with the Festival’s diverse theatre offerings, the festival features an abundance of outdoor fun.  The offerings are comprised of theatre performances, indoor and outdoor shows, street performers and buskers, vendors and beer gardens.  Check out the full line-up of festival events here!

 

A street performer entertaining Edmontonians gathered in Old Strathcona.

 

Bring your little ones to Kidsfringe, a fun and FREE area for ‘little fringers’ ages 0 – 12 and their caregivers found on the North end of the Fringe site. Experience plays, music, storytelling and more on the KidStage, hear a story at the Book Nook or get creative at the Craft Corner!

 

 

Let us know your Fringe highlights!  Know someone performing?  Favourite venue?  We'd love to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Happy Fringing!  

Edmonton Folk Music Festival

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Hundreds of festival-goers grace the Gallagher Park hillside, creating this iconic view that is EFMF.  Image used from festivalseekers.com

Festival City: Edmonton Folk Music Festival

www.edmontonfolkfest.org

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival (EFMF or Folk Fest for the veterans) is a four-day outdoor music event held the second weekend of August annually since 1980.  Though named a "folk music" festival, EFMF boasts a ton of different acts and genres.  You can find Celtic, bluegrass, blues, gospel, roots, and worldbeat acts performing on the multiple stages, through the day and into the evening. Staged in Gallagher Park in the Cloverdale community, Folk Fest is truly one of the largest highlights of the Edmonton festival collection.

The 2014 line-up is looking stellar.  Acts include Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Blue Rodeo, and Michael Franti & Spearhead.  Find the full performer roster here!

The festival gates open at 4:30 PM on Thursday & Friday and 9:30 AM Saturday & Sunday.  During the daytime hours of the festival, there are six active stages hosting workshops and concerts with one stage devoted solely to children's entertainment.  Face painting, street performers and roving acts are just some of the treats you'll find in between the stages.  This festival is so kid-friendly they have put free entry in place for festival-goers 11 and under.  There are dozens of food vendors, ranging from carnival fare to vegetarian and world cuisine.  The green onion cakes and elephant ears are two EMFM classics!  A large tent houses craftspeople and there is a CD tent where the performers' albums can be purchased.

"Like most festivals, the experience needs to be lived to understand why this festival continues to be one of the premier music events in Canada. The Folk Fest manages to create an atmosphere that goes beyond the music, into an experience in itself. The entire production—from the setting, of the stages, to the volunteer staff that keep it going, and even the festival goers themselves—generates a feeling we look forward to experiencing again and again." - festivalseekers.com

Are you going to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival this year?  Send us your pictures and stories for a festival recap!  info@yogalifestudios.ca

Foundation Friday: Drishti

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Zoran's drishti aids in his balance and concentration.


Foundation Friday: Drishti or Gazing Point


Drishti (meaning: "full seeing", vision, point of view, intelligence or wisdom)

Pratyahara: sense withdrawal

Dharana: concentration

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"The eyes play a predominant part in the practice of asanas." - BKS Iyengar


Drishti, or focused gaze, is a means for developing concentrated intention. It relates to the fifth limb of yoga concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb dharana relating to concentration.  There are a total of 9 drishtis and each yoga asana is associated with one.  There are many yoga systems that use this practice and differences regarding which are used for specific asanas, but drishti is mainly part of the Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga traditions.

 

Why do we practice drishti?

 

Focusing your gaze as specific points allows your concentration and intention to flow in a circular manner.  The gaze first comes from within and is then directed outward to a specific point.  This intense focus creates an energy that is reflected back into your body to hold your concentration.  This allows the 'looking' to reflect inward, creating a withdrawal of the outward senses and a connection to Self.  The directed gaze also gives the mind a focused visual stimulus; wherever your eyes go your mind will follow.  Drishti allows the mind to be singularly focussed and balances our internal and external practice.  In a visually addictive world, our attention is like currency.  Spend it wisely!

 

Drishti may help...

 

  • concentration
  • inner connection
  • posture alignment
  • meditation
  • cleansing the mind
How is it done?

 

Though the gaze is fixed on an external point, the true meaning of drishti is meant to direct our focus to the subtle aspects of our practice.  We may become more aware of our breath, mind, and internal workings of our body simply by creating this circular focus.  In general, let your gaze move in the direction of your stretch.  Prana follows the direction of your gaze.
Yoga Journal states the following:

In Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose), for instance, we gaze at the nose tip: Nasagrai Drishti. In meditation and in Matsyasana (Fish Pose), we gaze toward the Ajna Chakra, the third eye: Naitrayohmadya (also called Broomadhya) Drishti. In Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), we use Nabi Chakra Drishti, gazing at the navel. We use Hastagrai Drishti, gazing at the hand, in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). In most seated forward bends, we gaze at the big toes: Pahayoragrai Drishti. When we twist to the left or right in seated spinal twists, we gaze as far as we can in the direction of the twist, using Parsva Drishti. In Urdhva Hastasana, the first movement of the Sun Salutation, we gaze up at the thumbs, using Angusta Ma Dyai Drishti. In Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I), we use Urdhva Drishti, gazing up to infinity. In every asana, the prescribed drishti assists concentration, aids movement, and helps orient the pranic (energetic) body.

 

In some cases, an improper drishti can actually be harmful, like shoulderstand where the head should not turn to look left or right.  Keep this in mind when working with drishti in your practice.

 

Let the drishti be your guide in to the unseen, to your source, your truth.  Allow the flow of your gaze bring you into your true balance and nature.

 

 

 

Guest Post: Inner Glow Nutrition

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We are ecstatic to have Inner Glow guru Kristine Fraser back on the blog with awesome information and a delicious new recipe.  Read on!

 

A little bit about Kristine:

 

Kristine Fraser is a Professional Engineer turned Holistic Nutritionist. A corporate wellness speaker and consultant on natural health, she conducts 8 week "Get Your Glow" challenges in collaboration with corporations and yoga studios, offers one on one coaching, cooking classes, and retreats.


Inner Glow Nutrition

www.innerglownutrition. ca


Your Life Changing Supplement!

 

Well it may not be what’s trending on twitter right now, but it is certainly coming to the forefront of more people’s nutritional conversations, as it should. Truly, a missing link for many of our current ailments, such as bloating, fatigue, a weakened immune system, ridding the body of excess belly fat and one major symptom in particular: brain fog... check out www.innerglownutrition.ca/something-to-chew-on to read more!

 

AND! The best way to get your coffee: Monkey Style! These freezer packs are great to premake in the freezer and make your grab and go morning “monkey coffee” Try with a few variations outlined below.

 

Chocolate Monkey Coffee

 

 


For your pre-made smoothie packs... 1 banana 4 ice cubes 2 Tbsp of almond butter 3/4 tsp each cinnamon and vanilla 4-5 dates 2 -3 Tbsp raw cacao.


 

Brew pot of coffee and leave in refrigerator in a glass mason jar with a cute white lid. When ready to make blend 1/2 cup cold coffee, 1/2 cup almond milk (or your own variation), contents of frozen smoothie pack and any extra cacao or sweetener to your liking. Coconut water, protein powders and greens would fit in nicely as well. ENJOY!

 

Make your version and hashtag #innerglownutrition to be featured on instagram!