Staff Adventures & Journeys

5 Drinks to Warm Your Soul This Holiday Season

I’m not sure about you, but 90% of the reason I can handle the wintertime is because I absolutely adore cozying up to a nice log fire place, wrapped in a fuzzy Costco blanket, holding a hot cup of something steamy.

Not being much of an advocate for chain cafes, I’ve cruised through the Edmontonian café scene and am reporting back to you with some of the best (and original) hot cups of heaven for you to try next time you’re craving a little more than a standard coffee.


Café Mosaics

10844 82 Avenue NW | https://www.cafemosaics.com

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Mellow Yellow.

Choosing just one drink from Café Mosaics may have been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a while, but thankfully, I’m a bit biased in favour of turmeric.

Imagine pumpkin spice, but natural, good for you, and not drowning in sugar. This spiced turmeric latte is going to make you swear off of Starbucks when you taste the kick this latte leaves you with.


Woodrack Café

 7603 109 Street NW | https://www.thewoodrackcafe.com

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White Hot Earl Latte.

This was arguably the best original drink I’ve come across on my Edmonton exploration. This is a lavender London Fog combined with a white hot chocolate; each flavour being extremely delicate and ever-so subtle.

The only downside to most of the gorgeously crafted drinks out there is you really feel like you can’t have more than one. This, however, I reckon I could consume a bathtubs worth in a sitting and still feel pretty proud about my day.


Mandolin Books & Coffee Co.

6419 112 Avenue NW | mandolinbooks.com

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Red Symphony.

A red rooibos tea with white hot chocolate, topped with honey and whip cream.

I’m sorry, what? Whoever created this beautiful concoction must have a sweet tooth as big as YEG itself. Normally sweets are just not my forte (I’m more of a Salt & Vinegar chips kind of girl), but I could not be more than happy that I’ve stumbled upon it. Its perfectly creamy consistency pulling different yet complementing flavours in from every direction made each sip taste like Christmas without feeling like my teeth were about to rot away.


Remedy Café

Multiple Locations | remedycafe.ca

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Almond Kashmire Chai.

Let’s admit it: You can’t have a “Top 5 Hot Drinks” blog post and not include a chai off of Remedy’s list. Although the standard chai is equally as to die for, the kasmire chai just adds that touch of extra love and  delicacy with its added ground pistachios and rose petals that take this hot drink from spicy to smooth and florally.

My tip: change your standard 2% milk out for almond milk to make your chai add some more of those delightful nutty flavours.


Bru Coffee + Beer House

11965 Jasper Avenue | www.brucoffeeandbeerhouse.com

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha.

Bru uses 64% extra-bitter Guayaquil cocoa for all of their chocolate based drinks, and when it hits your lips, you will feel a wave of respect and gratefulness for it take over your body. Keep in mind all of the benefits dark chocolate: . You’re doing your body a favour by ordering this.

PS. Did I mention that that it comes with a candy cane and/or mini marshmallows, served in a Christmas mug? As if you couldn’t love a drink more.

Kristin is Making Moves!

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raw food chef edmonton Kristin Fraser with Inner Glow Nutrition has been guest-posting with us since March of last year. Her mantra around food is simple: "At Inner Glow Nutrition we believe that health is not only about food, but about feeling good mentally, physically and emotionally."

A staple in the raw food catering and nutrition scene, Kristin has delivered hundreds of amazing meals, workshops, and recipes to our community and many. Now it's time for her to embark on the next leg of life's adventure as she sets off in just a few short weeks to Dubai!

Kristin shares on her Facebook page:


I'm officially MOVING TO DUBAI my friends! Selling all and starting new ...continuing to do all that I love in a bigger way. I've worked on a raw menu design for a Cold Pressed Juice Company over there and will be setting up their new raw kitchen, doing events, speaking, workshops, retreats and corporate wellness too....working with an incredible team. (I'll update you with more info soon!) ... Feeling super grateful to my mentors, family, friends, old and new, clients and my love who keep believing in me, and supporting these crazy ventures that make me feel like the luckiest girl alive.


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We are thrilled that Kristin will still be offering guest posts and recipes from afar, so stay tuned to see what she dishes out next!

Stay up to date on her offerings and adventures at www.innerglownutrition.ca

From everyone in the YEG community and all the Yogalifers, best of luck Kristin! The world is about to get a lot tastier!

Beautiful Words from Dean Tumibay

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The following is a beautiful message from long-time Yogalifer, Dean Tumibay.  For me personally, Dean made my transition into the media team so easy; he was always there to field my millions of questions and frustrations over technology... there to lend a hand wherever he could.  Dean will ALWAYS be a Yogalifer and we are ecstatic to see him grow into his career.  Best of luck, thank you for all your hard work, support and silliness!

You are a true gem Dean.


 

I came to Yogalife a week after it opened, April 2010, in the hopes of finding a yoga studio nearby that I could complete a self-induced 30-day yoga challenge with my cousin, Michelle. I had done hot yoga before, and heard about these 30-day challenges at other studios, but never committed to one. I decided to give Yogalife a shot.

 


Just like many of you, I was first blown away by the sheer beauty of the space.


 

Polished white floors, warm tones, large windows, complimentary tea – what more could one want in a space? With bright smiles, the two owners greeted me at the front desk. They warmed up to me even more when I explained that I was doing a personal 30-day-challenge before they even had established an official one for their studio.

 

My cousin and I became familiar faces in this space, chatting constantly about what we loved and in some cases, hated strongly disliked about classes. Near the end of my challenge, I found myself sitting in the lounge, alone, quietly reading a magazine when one of the owners approached me. With a bright smile on his face, he asked if I’d be interested in a position at the studio. I was elated and within a week of submitting my resume, I was behind the front desk of Yogalife Studios South.

 


At the time, I didn’t realize how accepting this offer would define 4 years of my life.


 

Yogalife became a second home to me. In this space, I laughed until my stomach hurt, held warrior 2 until my legs burned, cursed under my breath during a tough core sequence, danced to the greatest hits of the 90s while the rest of you were in class, played a didgeridoo, unclogged a toilet and folded a million towels. It was perfect.

 

Yogalife provided me an opportunity to let my creative juices flow, after being stagnant for a number of years, getting caught in the regimented schedule of being a University student. I became a part of the media team, shot many of the videos on the Yogalife blog, and made a point to expose our amazing crew on a deeper level to our beloved clients.

 

 

Though it was my home, Yogalife exposed me to a world in Edmonton that I had no idea existed despite having been here all my life. The wonderful individuals I met in different communities outside our own enriched my life and opened my mind to so many alternative practices.

As my employment here came to a close, I began to observe all the beautiful things that I’d miss when that faithful day came, where I’d walk through the doors as an employee for the last time and hand over my key to Caren, the studio owner. I embraced the bright sunshine in the empty lounge, softened by the frosted windows, the smell of my favorite tea brewing, the warm air of the Sun studio, the bright hallway lights, the cat pictures on our computer desktops, and most importantly the anticipation when clients and instructors would walk through the front doors.

 

Many of you came in, often stressed from work or school, but walked out with a smile on your face, responding to my question, “How was your class?” with an exasperated “A-ma-zing…”

Beautiful.

 

I always dreamt of a job like those you see on T.V. The places where everyone knows your name (go ahead, sing the Cheers theme song), where those same people are genuinely interested in the on-goings of your life, and just happy to share space with you, even if just for a brief moment.

Yogalife was exactly that.

 

It was my goal to get to know as many of your names as possible, and if I ever fumbled with a pronunciation, please accept this as my apology. I am grateful for every interaction I’ve had with each and every one of you. I loved knowing your stories, celebrating your successes, and being present as your yoga practice grew. I loved that because of you, Yogalife became a place I could go when I needed to escape any stresses I ever experienced.

 

To the amazing instructors and GSRs I’ve met, you have become such an important part of my life, inspiring me in ways that I could never fully express in words. I’m grateful to call many of you friends, and look forward to where this next step in this journey takes us.

 


I walk away from this studio, holding dear to me the sweet memories of serving this community, and wish all of you nothing but love.


 

The absolute highest in me honours the highest in you and bows to it.

 

Namaste.

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

Taylor Nystad: On Completing the Ironman

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Before completing her shifts at the studio, we just had to get one last story from Taylor regarding a major accomplishment in her life, completing the Ironman Triathlon. Taylor gives us a detailed account of what it's like to be in one of the most esteemed triathlons in the world. Congratulations Taylor!


 

4am:

My alarm goes off, but it wasn’t necessary as I had maybe slept for 30 minutes total since 9pm the night prior. Cue the anxiety attack. Everyone is now awake and getting ready. Me, on the other hand, am crying and considering handing in my timing chip. At this point I’m too afraid to race, I don’t feel ready. I force myself to eat something but I think I might vomit.

 

6am:

We’ve finally reached Alta Lake via the shuttle busses. There are athletes everywhere in the transition area. I feel a little better but still want to bawl my eyes out every few minutes. We get our bikes ready and put our wetsuits on. It’s time to say goodbye to our friends and family as we head to the lake to warm up.

 

6:55am:

It is 5 minutes to the swim start. Everyone is floating in the water. I then realize I have misunderstood the swim course and am at the front of the line. In reality I wanted to be near the middle as I am an average swimmer.

 

There are people everywhere, so there’s no chance for me to move farther back.

 

The swim:

The cannon goes off and instinctively I start swimming. I am literally in a human washing machine; there are people everywhere. I’m getting kicked, pulled, grabbed, and shoved. I know I have to stand my ground or else people will swim over me. The course is a two-lap rectangle, so I know I just have to endure this until the first turn. Once there, I decide to swim on the outside of the course. I know it might slow me down, but it’s a better alternative to swimming in the flurry of people. I end up swimming 4.5km, and am 10 minutes slower than what I originally wanted.

 

Swim to Bike transition:

Everyone is running out of the water to his or her transition bags but I decide to walk. In the swim I didn’t use my legs so I’m still feeling a little shaky. I grab my bag and make it to the change tent.

 

Let me just say now that the volunteers for this event are absolutely amazing.

 

A volunteer finds me and helps me with whatever I need. Trying to put on compression socks out of the swim was probably a bad idea. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much difficulty putting socks on. I get the rest of my gear on and run out to find my bike. Volunteers lather my arms with sunscreen.

 

Now it’s off to bike 180km.

 

Bike Km 1, Alta Lake to Callaghan:

There are cyclists everywhere. This was my first triathlon and cycling event so I was for the most part, unaware of what was in store. I pass people, and people pass me. The first portion of the course was mostly downhill which gave me enough time to settle into the new demands that my body was putting on me. I started off easy on my nutrition, waiting for my body to adjust.

 

Km 25 Callaghan- Whistler:

This was the first real climb of the race. 12km uphill to the top of Olympic village where the ski jumping venue is. But what goes up must come down. I had biked this portion once before in May so I knew what to expect.

What I didn’t know was how my body would fare going 180km. The farthest I had biked before in training was 100km, once.

 

I went with the philosophy of taking it one hill at a time, and to not push myself too hard.

 

I made it up Callaghan at a good pace. Going downhill Callaghan was a nice break for the legs. Once at the bottom of Callaghan was the climb back up to Whistler. This wasn’t too hard as you had some downhill moments to rest. I made sure to maintain my nutrition plan: 2 gels, 1 bottle of electrolytes every hour. If I had any inkling of a muscle cramp or GI issues, I took a sodium capsule right away.

 

Whistler to Pemberton:

Biking through Whistler was the first time I saw my friends and family since leaving Alta lake. You only see them for a few seconds, but it gives you a boost of energy. At this point I was three hours into the bike and was on track for my goal time. Whistler to Pemberton was essentially all downhill with the exception of a few small climbs. 1500ft drop in elevation to be exact. This was once again an opportunity to rest the legs to prepare for the 80km you had left once you reached Pemberton.

 

Pemberton Out and Back:

I finally received my special needs bag. Mine had an endurance drink, dried mangos, ibuprofen, sodium capsules, gels and skittles. You’re probably questioning the skittle part, but if I was in serious risk of bonking, I needed a rapid sugar dose. Skittles do the trick. I took everything from my special needs bag and put it wherever I could on my bike.

 

Once you leave Pemberton there is a 25km out and back of dead flat road in the valley.

 

This was the most boring part of the course. That turn around point could not come soon enough. I knew I had to fuel and pace properly on this portion because the last 30km of the bike was the most difficult. I wanted to bike at my original goal pace, but I knew if I pushed too hard, the rest of the bike would be a suffer-grind fest. It felt as though a hundred people passed me. I just had to remind myself that I was doing my own race and I was on pace to make the cut-off.

 

Pemberton to Whistler:

I have been dreading this all day. I had done this portion of the course back in May, and let’s just say it went less than ideal, as in I had to walk up a few hills. There was one last aid station before the climb so I stocked up on everything that I could. I had saved a few espresso gels from the special needs bag. These gels would be my saving grace: just enough of a caffeine boost to keep you going when there’s no fuel in the tank. I went into the climb saying I would take it one hill at a time, just as I had done earlier. Everyone who passed me in Pemberton, I caught up to.

 

It was 32 degrees and there was no shade. People were dropping like flies.

 

There were people on the side of the road, walking, vomiting, and a select few receiving medical help. My legs felt good and I knew to just take it easy. I ended up staying with a few other cyclists. We all talked to help distract us from the constant stream of hills that never seemed to end. I kept drinking as much fluid as I could. At one point even my water was so hot that drinking it made me feel uncomfortable. I just knew I had to keep going.

Reaching the final aid station was like finding water in the middle of the desert.

 

I knew I only had 10km to go and that the end was near. I just kept biking but by this point I felt like I was going to bonk. I ate whatever fuel I had left and popped sodium pills like they were candy. I finally saw my family back into Whistler. I had made the bike course before the cut off; I was ecstatic.

 

Bike to run transition:

I don’t think I have ever been so excited to get off of a bike in my entire life. If you ever want a free bike you should wait by the athletes at the end of the bike course on an Ironman.

 

After being on that bike for 180km you don’t want to see it ever again.

 

The volunteer who relieves you of that bike is an absolute savior. I get into the women’s change tent to switch to my run gear. Once again the volunteers are incredible and help you with whatever you need. I change my gear and head out onto the course.

 

Run Km 1-21:

I get out onto the run course and am surprisingly jogging. Well, more like shuffling. My jog pace was a fast speed walk at best.

 

I had 7 hours to do the run, but I forgot to put ibuprofen and sodium in my bike to run bag and I needed it badly.

 

I wouldn’t get any of those items until the halfway point, in my special needs bag. I just knew I couldn’t stop moving. At every aid station I drank pepsi or chicken broth for sodium and ate a gel. There were people everywhere on the course cheering you on which helped.

 

Km 22-41:

I finally have my sodium and ibuprofen, which helped immensely. Every step I took pounded into my knees. I knew I had done some damage but I wasn’t exactly sure to what extent. I had done the first half in just over 3 hours so I knew the odds were in my favor to finish. I had just less than four hours to do a half marathon.

 

They were going to have to pull me off the course before I would willingly quit.

 

By KM 30 my dad had caught up to me (he was also racing).  We sped walk the last 10ish km and ran on every downhill. We were close to the finish line and could hear the music and crowds going wild. We were so close but it all felt so far away.

 

The finish line:

We had finally made it into the village area. I tried to jog but I could barely sustain it, even with everyone cheering me on. I made the last turn and there it was, the finish line. Suddenly any pain in my body had disappeared. After over 16 hours I had finally made it to the runway of the finish line.

 

Everyone was cheering for me.

 

One person stuck out their hand to high five me, and the next thing I knew everyone was doing the same. Running down that finish shoot was Euphoric, a culmination of raw emotion and exhaustion. Cameras are flashing everywhere to capture your golden moment and the announcer tells everyone your name. I crossed that finish line, and for the first time in over 16.5 hours, I could finally stop moving.

Crossing that finish line is an experience that I will never forget. It makes all the hardships endured completely worth it. I believe that it will be a source of inspiration for the rest of my life; if I can make it through an Ironman, what can’t I do?

 

-Taylor Nystad 

Brandon's Final Words

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Brandon's final classes were today, Saturday, August 16, 2014. He felt compelled to write one last thank-you to the Yogalife community.


 

Gratitude.

 

I am thankful that Yogalife was the very first studio that I was able to teach at. It’s actually the only studio I have taught at so far. I am thankful that a chance was taken on me, even though I was very early in my teaching career. I am thankful for you, all of the students, who have generously allowed me to guide you, share with you, and grow with you. Even share a quote or two. I am thankful for all of the knowledge I have gained over the past two years.

 

I am thankful for all of your support.

 

For attending my classes so diligently. For following me to the North Studio when I would teach there. For coming to my Warriors of Change and Art of Massage Workshops. For joining my wife and I in Nicaragua.

 

I am thankful for your trust.

 

Thank you for trusting me enough to feel as though I had something to offer you. My hope is that I have helped even one of you in your journey through yoga and life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be even a small part in all of it.

I poured my heart and soul into this studio and everything I was involved in, and I promise to continue to do that for the yoga community.

If you want to connect with me, or find out where I end up and what I am up to, please follow me on Facebook at Brandon Jacobs Yoga.

 

“Letting go and moving on means to come to the realization that some people and some places are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”

Highest Regards,

 

Brandon

 

Brittany's Final Words

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Brittany's final classes at Yogalife Studios Edmonton were on Sunday August 10, 2014. She wished to say a few words as her parting gift to the Yogalife community.


 

Yogalife was one of the first studios that welcomed me in my infancy as a yoga teacher. I was so willing and excited to play a role in the growing community and taught a lot that first summer. So much has shifted since I began teaching at the studio over 3 years ago. Not only have I witnessed the growth of the community and studentship at Yogalife, but within our city as a whole.

 

We are truly so lucky to have such committed students and teachers of this practice just within our beloved Edmonton. 

 

I’ve been lucky enough to have had such fun, inspired and lively people in my classes at Yogalife. It would not have been such a memorable and enriching experience if not for the students. From putting holes in the walls in Power Upside Down to bringing us chocolate covered bacon, or even giving me (the yogi on the bus) a lift to the train after class. I’ve laughed so hard, felt so loved, so appreciated and so very inspired by everyone I’ve had the privilege of meeting in my time here.

 

Teaching the Tuesday night hot flow class has become one of my favourite teaching memories.

 

That class was truly unique from week to week, and I always loved showing up to that class knowing you would be making wild animal sounds, dancing in the dark, doing ridiculous amounts of core and purely delighting in your practices. I always felt uplifted after teaching that class, and for that, I am forever grateful.

 

Thank you for allowing me to be but a small piece of your practice these last few years. Words are not even close to being able to express the love I feel for this community. If you would like to reconnect, please follow my Facebook page, Yogi on the Bus.

 

I whole heartedly welcome the notion of crossing paths with each of you again one day. 

 

In Love and High Spirit,

 

Brittany

Introducing the Class of 2014: Uttara Vidya 200-Hr YTT Grads!

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It's been a long, introspective, snort-kombucha-out-of-your-nose hilarious, challenging journey—full of asana, alignment, anatomy and ancient philosophy—but the graduates of Yogalife's first-ever Yoga Alliance-certified Uttara Vidya 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training have finally completed their learning adventure. Or has it only just begun...

 

 

The idea for a Yogalife teacher training came long ago. Yogalife's studio director Lindsey Park says this dream of hers has been a long time coming. After years of seed-planting and mental prep, and months of pulling together plans, photos, manuals, and assembling a team of facilitators, Yogalife's school of Uttara Vidya, or Higher Learning, was ready. With 25 eager students and three willing teachers, the first of Uttara Vidya's 200 hours began on May 9th, 2014.

 

 

Yogalife's teacher training was the most transformative time of my life. I grew significantly as a practitioner and as a person. It was fantastic to be led by three of the most amazing people I've had the pleasure of meeting, and to make so many new friends. The environment was a supportive and safe place to grow and change and I wouldn't have changed a single thing about my experience.

-Brandi Armstrong, CYT-200

 

With four full weekends and a two-week intensive behind them—hours upon hours (200 of them!) full of heart-opening and hatha, build-ups and breakdowns, sweat, laughter, and tears—Lindsey, Brittany, and Brandon present 25 freshly-certified teachers into Edmonton's yoga community, full with wisdom and ready to share. Look for these beauties at an upcoming Yogalife Karma class (at Yogalife North, Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Yogalife South, Sundays at 1:30 p.m.).

 

Congratulations, Uttara Vidya Graduates of 2014!!!

Look for Uttara Vidya's next YTT 200-Hr Training program coming in early 2015, registration opening soon. If you have any questions in the interim, please feel free to contact Uttara Vidya at trainings@yogalifestudios.ca.

 

Catching Up With Joe Byram

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Catching Up With Joe Byram

 

Yogalife Studios Sponsored Athlete Joe Byram is having an awesome summer.  After being named to Team Canada in April he has been training and prepping for the Pan Pacific Championships which run August 21 – 24, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia.

 


Joe just got back from a trip to California a few weeks ago and here's what he passed along to us:

 

The trip to California was a great experience: I had the opportunity to race some of the best swimmers in the world (Michael Phelps, as one example) at the first of two meets, the Santa Clara Grand Prix, near San Jose. My times and placing in my 100m backstroke were okay, but my 200 backstroke was abysmal.

 

After Santa Clara we went to Mission Viejo, near Anaheim, to train for 3 days, then to race at another meet, the Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions. For the most part, my performances improved from Santa Clara, with the exception of the 200m back, which got even worse...I guess if I am going to swim slow, California is a pretty nice place to do so: we swam outdoors the whole time (without major sunburns!) and had the ability to bodysurf in the Pacific a few times. A rough life indeed.

 

These meets are what we call "in-season", when our training load is high, and our bodies and minds are tired.

 

I raced at Provincials here in Edmonton last weekend, but swam events I normally wouldn't. Next weekend I head to Saskatoon for Nationals as a final prep for Pan Pacifics with Team Canada in Gold Coast, Australia. Nationals will be interesting, as I will be "unshaved and untapered" while most of my competitors will be shaved and tapered, as it is their pinnacle meet of the summer. The goal is to push through any tough spots and swim the fastest I have all season.

 

 

Check out this video we made with Joe to learn more about his practice and his experience at Yogalife.

 

Yogalife Sponsored Athlete: Joe Byram from Yogalife Studios on Vimeo.

 

Thanks Joe!!  Best of luck in August! 

Taylor Nystad: Ironwoman!

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Yogalife Studio South GSR (Guest Services Rep!) Taylor Nystad is taking off on July 23rd to complete her first Ironman Competition in Whistler, BC. We couldn't be more proud of this huge undertaking, and we want to share a bit of Taylor's story with you.

 

For those of you that aren't familiar with the parameters of the Ironman, it consists of the following:

 

Swimming 3.8 km

Biking 180 km

Running 42.2 km (a full marathon in itself!)

 

She has 17 hours to complete the three components.  Taylor has been training on average 15 hours a week, and only started running 2 years ago. She is excited to see what she's capable of and we know she's going to ROCK it!  Check out what Taylor has to say about this experience below:

 

 

Taylor talks about her journey towards the Ironman in Whistler! from Yogalife Studios on Vimeo.

Astral Harvest: Yogis in the Field

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Four Yogalifers, Five Workshops, A Million Smiles!

 

This year marks the 7th annual gathering of beautiful souls for Astral Harvest: Mythic Roots // Binary Skies, July 3-6th in Driftpile, Alberta.  A homegrown festival with the roots of the crew hailing from Edmonton, this is a quick-growing shaker with something for everyone.  With daytime workshops as a central focus for Astral, it's no surprise that four of our own will be sharing their skills with the festival-goers.  Graham Parsons, Jessica Saulnier, Jennie Musani and Caitlin Varrin are rolling in with five different offerings over the weekend.  They couldn't be more excited to be a part of this magic.

 


Graham shares:

"My favourite part of astral is sharing chai with a best friend you weren't acquainted with till that afternoon, as you leave the chill dome at 3am and both smile at the part of the sky that never really got dark, & know that you still have several more days of warm friends, mindful yoga, inspiring art & immersive bass.  Welcome to Now"

Join Graham Friday, July 4th // 10am // Sacred Vibration Vinyasa AND 4pm // Laughter Yoga

 

Jennie shares:

"To me, Astral Harvest means freedom. I'm most excited to just be. <3"

Join Jennie Sunday, July 6th // 12pm // Yin Harmony


www.astralharvest.com gives you all the background info a festival-er could need, and here's a snippet from their blog to illuminate the vibe of this gathering:

 


Astral Harvest Music is not your ordinary music festival - it is a feast for your senses!

We bring in international and local DJs and acoustic acts, powered by the ever-impressive PK Sound. Our 4 unique stages and incredible lineup brings world wide recognition. But Astral Harvest goes beyond the music scene with an emphasis on daytime activities. Astral Harvard conferences are sure to inspire new thoughts and ideas. Learn a new skill or practice at a workshop, cool yourself in the river at the beach or take in one of the many live art shows or interactive performances throughout the weekend. Our atmosphere is part of the magic - a playground and children's activities will keep your Little Harvesters engaged and entertained!

 

Nestled in the beautiful boreal wilderness of Northern Alberta, admission includes 3 nights and 4 days of camping, free water and firewood, and access to hot, coin-operated showers. Take a stroll through our funky and renowned marketplace and support local artists, merchants and bountiful food vendors.

Come celebrate music, art, knowledge, community and the human experience - Home is where the Harvest is.


 

A little more from our other two yogis in the field:


Jessica shares:

"Astral Harvest to me is yet another opportunity to experience oneness with all, while providing the freedom to express individuality through music, dance, movement, fashion, art, and performance. If one word could describe the spirit and beauty of the festival grounds, the amazing stages, the friendships made, the love and light shared between fellow humans, the informative workshops, yummy yoga, epic dance sessions, and hilarious camping adventures, well my friends, that word would be MAGIC." Join Jessica on Friday, July 4th // 1pm // Gaia Flow

 

Caitlin shares:

"Astral Harvest is community: home, heart and harmony. It's reunions and connections, so many smiles and jokes, family. My favourite people, land, music, art and movement. Harvesters are truly and deservedly spoiled :)" Join Caitlin on Thursday, July 3rd // 1:30 // Simple Pleasures~Hatha Flow"


Big thanks to Luke GS Art & Photography for the beautiful photos!

A Hello From Our Wandering Yogi...

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A warm hello, Yogalife Brethren. Graham here, writing to you from about the middle Costa Rica, and from about the middle of my time wandering through Central America. Feels like far too long since I laid a mat down on the floor of the Sun Room, as a student or teacher.


If you don't remember me, I'm the tall bearded one who occupies far too much couch space in the lounge between classes :) I'm also the one who cherishes the experience of slowing down & connecting with people through and after a yin practice. And as it turns out, this softening, clarifying, and surrendering side of yoga has been a medicine that has served me many a time down here in a part of the world that words like 'vibrant,'effervescent' and 'kinda insane' are well applicable to.

After dropping into this 5 month path on the Pacific side of Mexico, where I was honoured to be a guest teacher at Paraiso Yoga in Sayulita (wonderful little surf town, best fish tacos on earth for around $2), my partner Shawna and I started making our way inland, across the continent. The bus systems in Mexico, Belize & Nicaragua are a necessary part of the infrastructure, linking all the small towns to the larger hubs and the coasts, one can travel very cheaply... if one can fold oneself into smallish spaces.


With trips of 8 or 9 hours, frequent was the scene of the two of us spilling out of a bus and flailing our collective limbs with joy, before trying to find the least dusty place on the ground to do pigeon. The hardest part of the pose became trying not to utter groans of contentment that might offend the tender little old ladies selling woven baskets of plantains and avocados in the bus station. Sometimes it had to be done.


Of course, the sometimes discomfort of traveling, the stress of trying to sort schedules and currency in a second language (or the international language of wild hand gestures), the willingness to sometimes consume food that may not be 'Ayurvedic,' may not be best for your 'dosha,' may not in fact look like 'food,' all pale in insignificance to arriving at places like this:

This is a hot springs in the mountains of Central Mexico called Las Grutas Tolantango, and I'm fairly certain that if it wasn't so smack dab in the middle of nowhere, far from the resorts of Acapulco & Cancun, it would be an international tourist destination of the highest regard. If you enjoy the soothing waters of Radium and the Kootenays, the nourishing serenity of this place will feel like coming home, far from it though you may be.

After meeting up with an old friend in Tulum (many of you likely remember Cole as a teacher in the early days of Yogalife, his picture stills adorns the front window of the south studio, and he is just as much the life-affirming ball of happy as he ever was), we made our way down through Belize, which features some of the world's best snorkelling and diving, delicious seafood (recommended: lionfish and conch fritters), and little islands called cayes that are big enough to have reggae bars and yoga studios, but too small to have actual cars. I think the only traffic jam i bore witness to on caye caulker involved a bike and two gold carts trying to get around a mud puddle, and rather than road rage, everyone was just laughing. Apropos for an island whose official motto is 'Go Slow.' We took in many a leisurely sunset in Belize, and since we spent part of our time volunteering at an animal shelter, we always had plenty of canine accompaniment, which we always welcomed. As if we had a choice. Even during an epic gazebo sunset asana photoshoot, they happily wandered wherever. When dogs are having their days, do downward dog :)
And here I now sit, in Costa Rica, after having spent the last week in and around a little town called Uvita, at a little Festival called Envision. Yoga & Permaculture workshops by day, deep dancey music and breathtaking art installations by night. I was blessed to be able to participate in an asana, kirtan (sacred chanting) and ecstatic dance experience led by Suzanne Sterling. She is one of the lights behind a Yoga initiative called Off the Mat, Into the World, and if ever you need some inspirado that our worldwide kula (community) of yogis is manifesting many a wonderful thing, check out her website  http://suzannesterling.com/.
Myself and my friend Josh also led an impromptu vinyasa flow on the beach during low tide, which was attended mainly by people covered in blue volcanic mud. Apparently it's been used homeopathically for generations for skin exfoliation and rejuvenation, all I know for sure is that it's really fun to practice warrior III in. The clay kind of molds to your position and supports you in balancing postures, which we decided was ther best kind of cheating :)

Well, all for now. I'll send another dispatch before landing on the shores of Lake Atitlan for Yogalife's April retreat, led by myself and the inimitably lovely Sara Cueva.


I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to share what I've intuitively received from being able to awake each day, head toward my mat with a new luscious backdrop, and a new's days experiences, both inspiring and challenging, laid out before me. And when I do eventually return to the place I am delighted and humbled to call home, I look forward to sharing space, and a groan of pigeon pose contentment, with all of you.


Pura Vida, & Namaste,
Graham

Yoga Journal Conference in SFO

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I know it's March, definitely long overdue. But thought I'd share some photos with you guys from when Lindsey and I went to San Francisco (beautiful city!). We took a week off from Edmonton in January to do 5 days of yoga and learning at the Yoga Journal Conference.

We enjoyed some great coffee, lots of food and tons of yoga. Here are just a few photos of what we saw, did and ate!

 

The Yoga Journal Conference started for us on Thursday, first with the business of yoga. A full day of listening to some cool speakers talk about opening a yoga studio and the best practices.

I snagged this shot from the Yoga Journal Conference Photos. Photo Credit: Double Secret Media.

We took a seminar with Bo Forbes on the very last day (Monday) and learnt about the Lymphatic System.

Our biggest addiction while we were in San Francisco was Blue Bottle Coffee. One of the best cups of coffee ever for less than $3. WHAT???

This was one of their impressive contraptions to brew an 8 hour drip cold coffee. As strong as alcohol.

The city lights up at night. We were staying by the waterfront in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This city is gorgeous!

We ate really GOOD during our entire stay. This dish was from the Slanted Door.  The food there is absolutely delicious! If you're ever in the Bay area, go check them out!

Best sea urchin appetizer at The Slanted Door! Unless you don't like sea urchin. Delicious! I love fresh food!

The Atrium in our hotel. It was massive and very grand.

We made a visit to Alcatraz. It made me want to watch all the Alcatraz movies that were ever made.