Cleanse or no to cleanse?

Cleanse or no to  cleanse?

Chances are this great sunny weather is kicking you to get started on a healthier diet, and to get rid of your winter body or just maybe a gets you in the mood to change gears to feel more energized.

I have started juicing out my days, and I really enjoy it, its so convenient, doesn’t require a major effort to have a different juice every day, I am sure most of you have already implemented this habit, and maybe just need to resume were you left off.

Juicing is so easy that I have created the graphic above to better illustrate it, I know it wasn’t necessary but it’s kind of fun…and it got your attention
Juicing is not rocket science, is only a 3 step task: chop-blend-repeat: juice is ready to enjoy!

Here two pretty simple juices recipes I keep using and swapping as the time goes by, first start with a cleanse juice

½ cup of pineapple
1 celery stalks
1 lemon ( optional )
½ cucumber ( optional )
1 teaspoon flax seed ( optional )

Yields one person

Sometimes if I feel like I want something sweeter then I try a fruits juice instead:

1 cup of fruits mix
1 cup of Vanilla yogurt
1 cup of almond milk

Yields one person

My favourite time for these juices is the morning because it makes my breakfast tastier and I don’t crave for other snacks as much as if I didn’t have this juice

I am going to leave you with these links ( below ) to infinite juices options, enjoy and combine the recipes ingredients all you want, go ahead treat your body to a gentile juice cleanse I am sure you will feel better after a few days of doing it

Crazy Sexy Juice

Juice It!

Easy Smoothies & Juices

The Healthy Juicer’s Bible

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Did you sleep ok last night?

Did you sleep ok last night?

So many times we wish the answer to this question was: Yes I did, I slept like a baby. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

And is funny that nowadays a good night of sleep is not granted just by laying our head on the pillow.

Back in the days, there were no as many reminders about getting enough sleep, or about purposely focusing on getting to bed and sleep well as part of a daily routine. It seems like more and more we attempt to forget that resting is as important as working.

Frequently we fall in the mistake of “catching up on lost sleep” instead of consistently sleep as needed. The truth is we never get to catch up on the sleep we lose.

After losing sleep the next day I live through the consequences, I get grumpy, want to eat more than usual, feel irritable, and can not even think properly. So in order to avoid these feelings if they ever happen to you I am going to share my ritual for before bedtime, maybe you have implemented in your life already but if you haven’t here you go:

1. Yoga: I don’t suffer from insomnia, but I heard friends saying that yoga healed their insomnia, and for me,it works like a charm sends me straight to bed in a beautiful baby sleep mode. If you are super busy and can’t make it to a class chose one of these podcasts so you can practice at home.

2. Chill out music: Drift away from your mundane thoughts, go to Youtube and search for exactly that “chill out music” plug a speaker into your phone or computer and you are all set from when you arrive home until you are ready to go to bed, this will let you unwind.

3. Aromatherapy: look for a diffuser, incense or candles, I recommend using a diffuser it is safer and it turns off automatically in case you “fall asleep”.

4. Lavender essential oil: apply lavender oil to your hands and neck, is also a great idea to spray it on your pillow and linens, notice how it opens up your lungs and let you breath better

5. 8 hours of sleep: 8 is the magic number, yes is hard to make this 8 hours since you will have to go to bed quite early to make it, but trust me, try it at least once and you will notice the difference: Guaranteed

oops, I almost forgot one last recommendation, and you are not going to like this one:

9.NO PHONE: quite using your phone at least 2 hours before bedtime, those blue lights in the phone keep us awake, so no Instagramming away until next morning, sorry! ( this applies to the computer as well )

So I leave you these few tips, you can follow them as you want I promise they all works since I have tried them myself, they are quite simple, and there is no secret but that is why not all of us follow them.

Let me know if you get to try either one or all of them and share how the worked for you

… and good night!!

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Tuning in with spring

Tuning in with spring

It was already a beautiful sunny day, the second in a long weekend, I was feeling great after a good night of sleep and the anticipation of the coming yoga class, this one was a special Ayurveda workshop, new word for you? so it was for me, it made sense to me when I also heard that we’ll be combining essential oils and yoga these words are music to my ears now the two of them together is as good as it gets.

Put in simple words we were going to tune in with spring and leave the winter behind release all the energies that the cold had blocked out in the last few months and make room for the coming warmer seasons, at least that’s what I understood.

But in case this is not extended enough here is the explanation in KristenMcCarthy’s (our yoga teacher) words:

The workshop was inspired by Ayurvedic Science, Shamanism, and the wisdom of plant medicines. I combined yoga and essential oils to offer students an experience of the five elements of nature through their practice. Each season enhances or pacifies certain elements to maintain balance.

I want to empower students to view their practice as a medicine that acts in specific ways on the body and mind. There is a wisdom in learning how to apply the right practice at the right time in our lives. When we align our practice with the natural rhythms of the season, it helps us return to homeostasis in body and mind. The real medicine is alive in the world around us, and healing occurs when we remember that we are apart of the fabric of nature.

Here is the original synopsis of the workshop that Kristen wrote up:

Essence Yoga for Spring: Fire and Water

The finest material of our bodies are made of the five elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These elements live in dynamic movement within us and are influenced by the same force that cycles one season into the next. Balance the variable qualities of Spring through the medicines of yoga and therapeutic grade essential oils. Seasonal yoga postures are enhanced through the application of pure essences that support the seven dhatus (tissues) of the body, and the five koshas (layers) of the being. This month, we connect with the elements of fire and water through a Yin / Yang practice: Cypress, Frankincense, Marjoram and other synergistic oil blends promote the quality of flow through the connective tissues, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Return to the Spirit of Life.

After the workshop I realized: maybe acknowledging all the changes that our bodies go through every season helps soothing the unpleasant effects of these changes instead of just fighting them by trying to feel the same way all 4 season long which is one of my struggles.

This 2 hours Ayurvedic Science workshop, for me was an experience of deep relaxation,I don’t think I walked home I must have just levitated, it was really that relaxing.

Today, one day after the workshop I still feel its effects, more flowing, letting go some blockages.

I have now I had officially said goodbye to winter reset and ready to keep smelling all the flowers also taking all the sunny days plus the rainy ones too, those are not as bad as everybody say they are.

I am tuned in with spring !!!

And if you are curious to learn more about Ayurveda, you can ask questions to Kristen at the studio or, how about consulting these Ayurveda books for free from the Vancouver Public Library?
Let us know if you enjoyed the workshop and want to learn more about Ayurveda or Yoga in general

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A refuge within yourself

A refuge within yourself

The first time I stepped in a yoga studio it was like those times in a movie when the fast paced music stops all out of sudden…and everything else stays still, my whole life which was in hectic motion suddenly stopped.

There I was: no cell phone in hand, no signs to read, no watches to keep track of the time, no one to talk to, for the next hour or so I was the beginner, right on the very edge to start a challenging and rewarding yoga class. I had no idea about what to do next, just listened to the teacher’s instructions and flowed through the class.

This was a while back, in my first year as an immigrant in Canada little did I know about where this yoga journey will take me.

My name is Rebeca Costa Rican born now living in Vancouver, a graphic artist and marketing professional, I started my journey in yoga as a way to cope with the daily stress of life and it has become a lifestyle. Sometimes I find obstacles in life and also create a few as if they were necessary, I found in yoga a save space to slow down recharge and clear my path.

I have been given the great opportunity to write for this blog as a new “Karma Yogi” for “Open Door Yoga” in Vancouver, in this blog I will share thoughts and experiences related to yoga, and how it enhances life around it. As a yoga student I find many changes in my life with my practice, and often wonder if other students experience the same changes.

I remember one of my first aha! moments in my practice it was when the sentence: “Mind and body aligned” that I’ve heard many times before finally made sense to me, the teacher said: if your mind is wandering, you wont achieve your posture, there you go, cut the noise, focus in what you are doing right now, nothing else! It was that simple, well, maybe not that simple, in theory it was, but you get skilled with the time, “Mind and body aligned” both doing the same thing at the same time: I am here, right now, breathing relaxing in the cozy studio, not at the store lined up to pay for my groceries, neither on the phone texting away, I am here right now and it feels so good.

I think as my yoga practice develops with time the benefits constantly evolve, lately for me it has become a refuge within myself, a peaceful warm feeling I can bring along with me.

How has your yoga practice influenced and changed your life? Have your surroundings changed or have you adjusted how your surroundings affect you?

Lets start this yoga conversation; tell me if your experiences are similar or different

Posted in: Open Door Yoga

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Add Love to This Winning Recipe and you Have the First Prize Dish at Open Door Yoga’s Party

Ingredients

1 onion ( finely chop)
3 tomatoes ( dice)Heart
5 clove garlic ( finely chop)
1 can coconut milk
2 table spoon curry powder ( I use the guyanese curry powder) sub with other curry powder.
1 sweet pepper ( any color)
1 cauliflower cut into small pieces
2 egg plant cut into small piece
1 zucchini ( small pieces)
1 bunch cilantro ( finely chop and at the end of the cooking)
Cooking time…
Sauté onion with coconut oil ( any oil will do) until lightly brown add garlic 1 mins add dice tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes low heat. Add 1 cup water cook everything for another 10 mins( cover pot)
After 10 mins add veggie bring to boil and cook for another 10 mins then add coconut milk. Bring to boil add salt to taste also u can add some heat ( small Thai chill pepper )
Everything is done…. Enough liquid for your taste…. Last add cilantro

Posted in: Eating

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Home Remedy: Flu-fighting Tea

teatime


 

November is upon us, and with it comes the colder weather. It’s that time of year when we prepare for hibernation by cozying up at home, yet still foolishly opt to walk outside without a jacket; the Indian summer makes us feel invincible. Enter: flu season. As we adjust to the changing climate our immune system plays catch-up, which creates a gap where bacteria can slip through. You may wake up with a tickle in your throat, or an aching head (and I don’t just mean after Hallowe’en), but these symptoms are a reminder to take care of yourself.

When you wake up feeling groggy, there is no need to run to the pharmacy for an over-the-counter cure. You can use natural ingredients to help nip the common cold in the bud. Whether you’re looking for a preventative holistic measure, or a way to soothe existing symptoms, try this flu-fighting tea recipe:

Flu-fighting tea:

1 bag good quality organic echinacea tea (optional)

3 or 4 thin slices fresh organic ginger root

3 tablespoons organic lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons raw organic honey

1/2 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon organic ground clove

Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. In a large mug of hot water, steep the tea bag and sliced ginger for 4-6 minutes (tea bag is optional).

2. Add the lemon juice, honey, and spices. Stir well.

3. You may strain the tea through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, but it is perfectly fine to drink as is.

The cinnamon, clove, and cayenne give the concoction an extra dose of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aching properties. This spicy combination also helps break down blockages in the nasal passage.


 

Once you have tried this recipe, it will become a staple during your hibernation. You may want to double or triple it to maintain a healthy household—your friends and family will thank you for it. Now cozy up for the cool weather, and soothe what ails you with this spicy flu-fighting tea.

Stay well and enjoy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Eating, Mindfulness, Miscellaneous, Nutrition, Yoga

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ODY Workshop: Yoga Nidra with Kristen McCarthy

meditation

Harmonize with Yoga Nidra

Join Kristen McCarthy for an evening of Yoga Nidra, an ancient method of deep relaxation designed to harmonize the three levels of the mind. One hour of practice is equivalent to four hours of slow-wave sleep, which we experience as greater equanimity and peace within our waking lives. The October session will work with the seven rays of gold throughout all the major systems of the body to create a profound feeling of wellness within. The next session is Saturday, October 24th, from 7 to 8pm. Please click here to register. 

Kristen has been doing yoga for 13 years and describes her own practice as being “focused on moving energy, and watching the mind.” She says that although she doesn’t mind which style she practices, she prefers slow and grounded movements.

With 6 years of experience since finishing her 200 hour teacher training certificate in 2009, Kristen currently teaches at Open Door Yoga. She has earned a variety of certifications and has studied with many teachers. Among them, one has been particularly inspiring. She says “The teacher who has most impacted my perspective of yoga has been Swami Sivananda Radha, a yogi and transpersonal therapist who founded the Yasodhara Ashram in Kootenay, B.C.”

When asked why she loves teaching, Kristen speaks of how teaching is an art:

“I love the act of creation, and the fine art of transforming raw energy into healing power. It is an alchemical process that is mysterious and sacred in its origin. When a class gathers together, a group field is created that we all contribute to, whether we are aware of it or not. It’s my role to become receptive so that I can direct the energy in a balanced and beneficial way. Teaching is an art form that grows out of a lot of self-study, and a clear understanding of the tools of practice. I can help others sharpen their perceptive tools that is beyond the physical. When we come to perceive the life force energy that runs through us, our lives will change. It reveals the truth to us, and it’s only the truth that allows us decide.”

Kristen continues to deepen her knowledge at the Four Winds Society and the Pneuma System at Inkarri Cultural Association, studying energy medicine and transpersonal psychology, respectively. She hosts monthly Yoga Nidra sessions at Open Door Yoga; the next session happens this Saturday, October 24th, from 7 to 8pm. In Kristen’s words, Yoga Nidra is “an ancient meditation practice that harmonizes the unconscious, subconscious and conscious levels of the mind. It utilizes guided relaxation and visualization to move students through the five koshas. It’s profoundly effective.”

If you are looking for inspiration to maintain a regular practice, let Kristen’s words guide you:

“The more that a student inquires into their practice, the greater the transformation can occur. A regular practice will set the stage to arrive at the doorway for an amazing adventure. It is the foundation that you can rely upon to hold you steady through all the challenges that arise along the way.”

Outside of Open Door Yoga, you can find Kristen enjoying her favourite things about Vancouver: the four distinct seasons; the mountains, the ocean, and the air. Otherwise, she may be resting in her favourite pose, Savasana.

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Kristen McCarthy has a website coming soon, but until then, please contact her by email: kristenopendoor@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Meditation, Mindfulness, Personal Growth, Teacher Profiles, Upcoming Workshops, Yoga

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Tryptophan-asana and Other Post-Turkey Poses

leaves

Look up and embrace the rain.

As the rain begins, reminding us of the weather we have to look forward to in the coming months, our instincts tell us to start hibernating. Now. And what better time to start than the first long weekend of Fall? Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful; if we have not been practicing gratitude daily, this holiday can illuminate its presence once again. It is a perfect time to relax, share moments with those you love, and eat. We tend to give our digestive system a bit of an overload during this holiday as we indulge in the long-awaited delights of home-cooked turkey or tofurkey, tangy cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying all this delectable cuisine, but there are a few poses we can practice that will aid our digestion instead of staying stagnant, like the weather makes us feel.

A lot of our body’s energy serves the digestive system, so it’s no wonder that we feel lethargic with full bellies. We may feel a bit drowsy after consuming turkey due to the amino acid tryptophan, which indirectly increases production of melatonin in the brain. To combat this inevitable sleepiness, here is a short sequence of poses that will help conserve energy for whatever task calls your attention.

 

Vajrasana – Thunderbolt Pose

  • Start in a seated position on your knees
  • Have your toes untucked, big toes touching, and sit back on your heels
  • Rest your hands gently on your thighs, palms facing down

Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes after a meal to ease digestion. Focus on your breath and close your eyes for deeper relaxation.

 

Supta Padottanasana – Reclined Leg Lift, half and full

Half:

  • Lie on your back, arms by your sides, palms facing down
  • Inhale and raise your right leg up ninety degrees, hold, exhale and lower down
  • Repeat with left leg

Full:

  • Lie on your back, arms by your sides, palms facing down
  • Inhale and raise both legs up to ninety degrees, hold, exhale and lower down

*if you have lower back pain, you can place your palms underneath your backside

Practice 5 repetitions with each leg, followed by 10 cycles of the full leg lift.

 

Supta Pawanmuktasana – Wind Release Pose, half and full

Half:

  • Lie on your back
  • Inhale, bring your right knee to your chest, interlace your fingers around shin
  • Exhale, bring your forehead to your knee
  • Inhale, lower your right leg while bringing your left knee to your chest and repeat steps

Full:

  • Inhale, bring both knees to your chest, and interlace your fingers around shins
  • Exhale, bring your forehead between the knees, compress your abdomen

Practice holding for 5-7 seconds each time, doing 5 cycles of each. 

 

Supta Matsyendrasana – Reclined Twist

Any variation of a twist will massage the inner organs and aid digestion, this is just one example:

  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your right knee, place your right foot on top of your left knee
  • Use your hands to gently guide your right knee toward the floor on the left
  • Spread your arms in a “T” shape on the floor, keeping both shoulders grounded
  • Look towards the right and close your eyes

Hold the twist for several cycles of breath, then repeat on the left side.

 

Ardha Shalabhasana – Half Locust Pose

  • Lie on your belly, hands under thighs with palms facing down, chin on the mat
  • Take a deep yogic breath into the lower back
  • Inhale, raise your right leg (option to support it with your left foot)
  • Exhale, slowly lower
  • Repeat with left leg

Practice 5 times on each side. If Full Locust Pose is part of your regular practice, feel free to incorporate it as it is a wonderful posture for massaging the inner organs.

 

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

  • Lie on your belly, bend your knees, and grab hold of your ankles or shins, big toes touching
  • Inhale, kick your feet into your grip, as you lift your legs and chest at the same time
  • For an extra internal massage, rock forward and backward with the breath

Hold the pose for a few cycles of breath, releasing with an exhale onto your mat.

 

This short sequence can be done at home; you are always able to maintain your practice even if you can’t make it to a yoga class, or the studio is closed for the holiday. Remember to make space and take time for yourself, and use this holiday to reflect on your blessings. Maybe after a few digestive poses, you will have a little extra energy and motivation to be productive in the coming days, weeks, and months.

The rain has come, which is a blessing in itself; the rain cleanses, nourishes, and washes away all the things we are ready to let go. Channel the powerful natural energy, and spread your love with the best intentions.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Eating, Nutrition, Yoga

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