Posts Tagged healthy

Can you breath into a moment?

Can you breath into a moment?

Have you ever been in a yoga class, where your yoga teacher says: breathe into your back? Or breathe into your lower back? I bet the answer is yes, and I bet you wondered how does one exactly breath into the back? Or lower back?

After a few classes of hearing this expression, I started visualizing my inhalations going to my back, my lower back or wherever I was feeling tense.

With the warriors 1 or 2 I felt tension underneath my shoulder blades, so I breathed into my shoulder blades, later on I continued breathing into the back of my legs in every forward fold, into my hips in triangle and so on. Then I realized, breathing into my body parts will not only release tension but also made good sensations even better, after a good Yoga class I would continue the pace of my breath and the relaxation feeling would linger even longer.

My breathing awareness kept expanding to different areas of my body or, should I say ? “different areas of my life”? I consciously lengthened  my breath whenever I felt stressed out, or confused or when my mind was foggy.

Lately I am breathing even deeper into “moments” I am practicing  what I call “good moments stillness”. Through this new breathing technique you can extend the life of the good moments, it also works with feelings, thoughts and sensations.

Just when your mind tells you that everything is great with your life, you take a “deep breath into that moment” savour it, with your soul and exhale. As the present becomes past the sensation remains.

However when your mind say things are not as perfect anymore, breathe into that moment as well, the “ “good moments stillness” technique will switch your mind’s thoughts for a feeling of hope, which is also a pretty good feeling.

So, here I share with you the expansion of my breathing techniques, I am sure have already heard about this, but probably you were not aware of the name.

Let me know if this pranayama also works for you, or if you find new applications for it

Posted in: Open Door Yoga

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Summer Inspiration

When it’s hot and muggy in the city,  it can be a challenge to keep inspired and cultivate healthy habits with all the BBQ’s, weddings, lounging by the water, and other summer events. When we would much rather be lazy and “relax,” it’s difficult to keep up with your yoga practice. We’ve come up with a few easy and do-able tips to integrate into your summer routine and stay inspired and healthy this season!


Spend more time outside Get outside and enjoy the fresh air, warmth, and gorgeous weather! Whether it’s your yoga practice, a swim, a bike ride, a hike, group sports, or a walk around the neighbourhood, get your activities outside and allow nature and your surroundings to inspire your exercise and activities.

Hydrate This one is pretty obvious. If we don’t drink enough water, we can feel sluggish and tired. Start your day with a big tall glass of pure or filtered water. Better, yet, sip on some warm lemon water to flush your liver of toxins and kick-start your body’s functions for the day. Aim to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces by 2pm so you aren’t interupting your sleep to go to the bathroom. Keep a trusty water bottle with you that you like and sip, sip, sip, throughout the day! You can even add herbs, fruits, and a couple drops of essential oils to make your h20 more exciting!

Watch the sunset – or sunrise! How often do you get to gaze at a beautiful pink sky? Get to a good view and watch the sun say goodbye to the world. Even better is to wake up extra early and greet the day and the sun. This naturally wakes up the body and can help with getting us into better circadian rythms. This can help with getting a better sleep at night and being less groggy throughout the day and afternoon. These are also great times to expose yourself to Vitamin D as the sun will not be as strong at dawn and dusk.

Check out a local farmer’s market Enjoy the bounty of the season and get inspired by all the colours, flavours, smells, and tastes. Pick out a vegetable or fruit that you don’t usually buy and find a creative recipe to try out for dinner. Berries and corn are especially sweet and in-season at this time of year. Rather than weigh yourself down with heavy processed foods and salty meats, aim to eat lighter and more plant-based this summer to keep your cool, fresh, and healthy.

Create Find your inner-child and some seasonal inspiration by writing a poem, painting, dancing, or doing something artistic that will uplift your spirt.

Be exposed to inspiration A great way to get inspired is to watch others who are inspired themselves. Some great ideas to get yourself exposed to inspiration are: attend a yoga workshop, see an outdoor theatre performance, attend an art show, take a dance class, head to a sporting event, or head to a local music festival. Seeing others succeed and do what they love can be a very powerful tool to get yourself out of a summer rut. Whether it’s the teacher of the class, the performer on stage, or the artists behind the photograph, these individuals are following their dreams and that is an amazing thing!


What inspires you? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted in: Ayurveda, Eating, Mindfulness, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Yoga

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Summer Cool-Down

This summer in Vancouver has been extra dry and hot, so this week, we’ve put together a list of ways to stay cool and beat the heat!


Find a hidden beach – We all know that beaches in Vancouver can get pretty crowded. Check out this great list of hidden gems within the city and take a dip! But don’t forget to stay hydrated, cover up from the sun, and wear some SPF to avoid heat/sun stroke.

Sip on a Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca –  We love our friend and Nutritionist Sharon Pendlington’s recipe for this awesome cool-down drink. Sharon can also help with your summer nutrition and weight-loss goals. Read more and find her contact info here.

Take a Yin Yoga Class – Yin is traditionally a cooling yoga practice that can help with the fatigue that we experience from the heat. Open Door has plenty of Yin classes to choose from. Including Joan’s Wednesday class at Main & 15th from 4:30 pm-5:45 pm. Take a look at the other Yin classes (in blue) on our schedule here.

Summer Slim Down & Healthy BBQing – We love Claire’s easy, no fuss way of looking at nutrition. Read her latest post on increasing your healthy eating confidence with a summer slim-down. Also take a look at tips for hosting or attending a summer BBQ.

Take a Spa Day – Relaxing is important during the summer months. Take it easy and avoid overexerting yourself but having a calming and rejuvenated at-home-spa. Remember, rose water, peppermint essential oil, and witch hazel is cooling.

Try Ayurveda – This ancient way of living looks at ways to cool down the body during the hot summer months for natural healing and optimal health. Most of these tips are no-brainers: like wearing lighter clothes, and cooler colours and avoiding heavy foods.

Salute the Moon – Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutations) are a great way to continue to enjoy your yoga practice through the warm months while honour the cooler/feminine side of the body.

Cool down with yoga – Open Door’s classes are air conditioned. And we always have a safe haven away from the hussle and bussle of the hot, loud city. Take a break and come relax and rejuivante with us at any of our studios. Check out our class schedule to find a class that suites your needs and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns.

Bring your practice outside – Take it to the beach, poolside, backyard, park – anywhere! There are endless outdoor classes in Vancouver and what better way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors then to Vinyassa in  nature!? Check out the Outdoor Yoga Meetups and stay tuned for a potential ODY outdoor class too! But again, don’t forget to stay sun safe.

Start a Home Practice –  Too hot to leave the comfort and cool of your own home? Consider starting a home practice to keep up with your fitness and mindfulness goals. A daily home practice is the ultimate step in cultivating daily health. Hogan is holding a Home Practice Workshop at our Main & 14th studio this Sunday July 12th.

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

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Guest Blogger: Sharon’s Recipe



The Second Annual Open Door Yoga Summer Retreat is two weeks away! The retreat is taking place from July 3rd-5th at Spakwus House in Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale, BC. The cost is $350 or $300 when you register with a friend. Children are welcome and are FREE if they are under 12!

We can’t wait to get together with our students, teachers, families,  neighbourhoods, and communities, to enjoy two full days of rest and relaxation. Activities will range from: hiking, swimming, yoga, meditation, dancing, and singing. Relaxation is required! Our intention with this retreat is connection… We are looking forward to lots of healing, love, and fun done together as a community. Disconnect from the busy city life for a weekend and enjoy some self-care this summer.

What better way to focus on self-care and healing our bodies then by a private nutritional consultation with our resident Nutritionist, Sharon Pendlington. Sharon is offering a deep discount on nutritional consultations during the retreat so that you can rebalance. She will help you reach your wellness goals by assessing your symptoms and creating a wellness plan for you that addresses your nutritional deficiencies through food, natural supplements and lifestyle changes. $95.00 for a personal 1 hour consultation (value of $125)


Sharon can help with delicious recipes like the one below that satisfy cravings, but provide healthy, whole foods to nourish your brain, soul, and body.

Personal Nutrition



Click here for more info on the ODY Retreat

Click here for more info on Sharon’s promotion.

More info about Sharon can be found on her ODY Profile. You can also visit her website, follow her on facebook, or e-mail her at



See you at the retreat and Happy Sipping until then!

Posted in: Eating, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nutrition

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ODY Community: Sharon


In her work as a Holistic Nutritionist, Sharon Pendlington is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor, Birth Doula, educator, and group facilitator.  Sharon offers private nutritional consultations to address the root cause of her clients’ health concerns. Once she has assessed their dietary intake, lifestyle and symptoms profile, she recommends nutrients (food and natural supplements) and lifestyle changes specific for each client. Sharon also offers group cooking classes, educational seminars, grocery store tours, kitchen cleanes, and menu planning.

Sharon will be at our 2nd Annual Yoga Retreat this July! Her company, Personal Nutrition will be offering a deep discount for everybody attending the retreat this year! For $95.00, you will get a 1 hour, private nutritional consultation ($125.00 Value.) Read on to learn more about Sharon and her experience.


I began my professional career as an Environmental Consultant in the Fraser Valley, after receiving a Science degree in Biology from McMaster University. Having practiced yoga and received its many benefits for years, I was drawn to share the practice of yoga with others, following the birth of my son. I became a certified 500-hr Yoga Instructor, and began teaching at my home studio and at various studios in the valley. I particularly enjoy guiding Prenatal Yoga classes that prepare mom for the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood. After my daughter was born, 8 years ago, it became increasingly important for me to live in alignment with my values, and with the support of Be the Change Earth Alliance, I was able to clarify new roles for myself as a Birth Doula and Holistic Nutritionist. In July 2014, my family moved to the beautiful community of Mount Pleasant, with the intention of choosing a more walk-able lifestyle and reducing our carbon footprint. We have been warmly welcomed to this community and we are grateful every day for the friendliness and community of this neighbourhood.

In the past year, I have been teaching yoga classes, assisting with cooking classesa and preparing food for members at InspireHealth (a supportive, integrated cancer care clinic in Vancouer). I opened Personal Nutrition in January of this year, with the intention to work in the wonderful community in which I live. I enjoy supporting my clients to reach their health and wellness goals, by working one-on-one with them to address their health concerns, through customized food and lifestyle planning. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to share my experience in yoga, prenatal care and natural nutrition to support my clients to bring their highest selves to the world! Sharon works under the belief that the body has the innate wisdom to heal itself and rebalance, given the proper nutrients and lifestyle.


Posted in: Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga

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Heart Health Month




Infographic provided by American Recall Centre in light of Heart Month.

February is heart health month and Yoga is a wonderful way to fight heart disease. Stretching, and deep breathing can contribute to keeping your heart healthy by increasing blood circulation and lung capacity. A deeper breath and conscious breathing helps to lower blood-pressure, anxiety, and stress and having a regular yoga practice helps to fight inflammation. There are also studies that show that yoga promotes other forms of physical activity and that people who practice yoga generally lead healthier lifestyles. In addition to staying physically active and reducing stress, keep these other tips in mind to encourage a happy heart.

Posted in: Breathing, Yoga

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An Ayurvedic August



As we head into the last -and hottest – part of summer, take a moment to reflect on the last few months. How is your mental and physical health? Have you been keeping up with your yoga practice and staying active? Are you taking the time to relax and rejuvenate? Most importantly, are you keeping cool during these humid and hot days? Below are some Ayurvedic tips to cool down and pacify the active Pitta Dosha that is usually in excess during this time of year.

  1. Eating – Enjoy the abundance of BC produce and increase local fruits and vegetables, especially ones that are “sweet,” “bitter,” and “cool,” and “light.” Examples are tree and vine fruits, berries, squashes, greens, and herbs.
  2. Drinking – Eliminate your intake of alcohol and of course, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water with added cucumber or coconut water with added mint to decrease pitta energy.
  3. Yoga – Take on more of a cooling practice that focus on opening the hips. Asanas such as Pigeon, Reclined Bound Angle Pose, and Dragon Pose. Take more time for meditation and sitting quietly with your breath. And definitely enjoy a longer Savasana!
  4. Skin – Take time to give yourself a cooling massage with coconut oil and peppermint oil. Work from the scalp all the way down to the toes using circular motions, or just pick one spot that feels extra tight and focus on releasing tension with pressure from your fingertips.
  5. Smell – Keeping fresh flowers around you is a real treat in the summer. If you have access to lavender, even better! If not, use lavender essential oil to calm the system. Using a bottle of rose water to spray your face, neck, chest and head is also very beneficial.

What are your favourite ways to stay cool during the summer?


Posted in: Breathing, Eating, Meditation, Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga, Yoga

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Meatless Monday


Many Yoga practitioners and teachers choose to eat a vegetarian diet. Of course, not everyone is willing or able to eat vegetarian for various reasons and beliefs. However, we all know that eating a plant-based diet is better for us. Eating a diet that is rich in veggies, fruits and nuts is a great idea because it gives us nutrients and vitamins and helps to fight heart disease and lower cholesterol. That’s why, this week are embracing the vegetarian and vegan way by introducing a recipe to the Open Door Blog for Meatless Monday.

The First Mess is a blog by an Ontarian named Laura. We made her Lemon Rosemary Vegetable Stack With Lentils + Creamy horseradish Vinaigrette tonight and were not disappointed. Here is the recipe.

What is your favourite Meatless Monday recipe?

Posted in: Eating, Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga

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Heart-Happy Activities


Photo © Cody James Briggs (

It’s the last week of Heart Month, and we would like to stay focused on our goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle to decrease chances of heart-disease.

It’s no secret that a healthy heart is important to improving the quality of life. Last week we talked about how food contributes to heart health. This week, we would like to explore heart healthy activities and safe ways of inviting physical activity into our daily lives.

  1. Walking – Walking is the simplest and easiest way to get exercise. It is low-impact, free, and environmentally-friendly. As well, you can customize this activity to better suite your needs. Starts slow to begin and pick up the pace as you become more active.
  2. Cycling – We are lucky to live in a city that is bike-friendly and bike-accessible. Take a ride up or down 10th Avenue or any of our other beautiful bike routes and enjoy the feeling of your lower body and core strengthening with each peddel!
  3. Swimming – Swimming is another low-impact exercise that works great with injured bodies. Swim a couple laps, or take an “Aqua Fitness” class at your local pool/community centre. And when the weather starts to get nice, take advantage of our city’s beautiful beaches and splash around in the ocean!
  4. Dancing – Dance like no-one’s watching and get your heart rate up! When your favourite song comes on the radio, stop everything, let loose and dance! Or wake-up with a playlist of your current top tracks and wake up by shaking things up with a dance around your house!
  5. Yoga – Yoga is a wonderful way to fight heart disease. Stretching, and deep breathing can contribute to keeping your heart healthy by increasing blood circulation and lung capacity. A deeper breath and conscious breathing helps to lower blood-pressure and stress and having a regular yoga practice helps to fight inflammation. There are also studies that show that yoga promotes other forms of physical activity and that people who practice yoga generally lead healthier lifestyles.

Happy Heart Month, everyone!


Posted in: Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga, Yoga

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Family Day Activities

Tomorrow is BC’s Family Day so we’d like to suggest some fun activities to do with you family, no matter who that is!



  1. Enjoy an Indoor Picnic – Act like it’s spring, and spread a blanket out on the living room floor. Make yummy salads and enjoy healthy snacks like veggies and hummus. Play some fun music and games and enjoy each other’s company!
  2. Arts & Crafts Day – Learn to fold paper cranes, decorate a picture frame, make your own magnets, or start that scrap-booking project you’ve been meaning to do for so long. Or, you can get the paints out and create your own masterpiece to hang up. Another great one is to make your own home-made, one-of-a-kind greeting cards… You’ll never be stuck scrambling for thank you notes or birthday gifts again.
  3. Have a Spa Day – Make a big batch of herbal tea or lemon water and get the bath robes on! Steam faces, take turns giving and receiving massages, run and enjoy epson salt foot baths. Give each other manicures and pedicures. Use natural and organic ingredients like coconut oil for hair and body or cucumbers to de-puff the eyes.
  4. Be Active – Head to a yoga class together, or spend a few hours at the local community centre. Sweat it out by using the equipment, swimming, or taking an interesting class together. Then relax in the hot tub or steam room.
  5. Volunteer – Nothing feels better than volunteering as pair or group. Head to a local shelter or get in touch with a non-profit and give back.
  6. Grow Something – It’s still a few months before we’ll be able to get outside and garden. But it’s the perfect time to start seeds indoors or plant seedlings in pots. Start with easy things like herbs. You can even take a cutting off a store-bought basil plant and stick it in water for a few days. Wait until it sprouts and then plant it in a pot with soil. Bring a bit of green into your home and learn about gardening and agriculture as a family.
  7. Get Cooking – Find a delicious yet healthy recipe that everyone likes. Shop, cook, bake and enjoy it together.
  8. Start a Family History Book – Head online or to the local library and see if you can find any information on the earlier generations of your family. Research and record everything you can find. Take photocopies of pictures. Learn about your family history so that you can share, enjoy, and add to it for years to come.
  9. Write Something – Take turns writing and adding lines or paragraphs to stories. Or, each write your own haiku or poem. Share your creations with each other.
  10. Practice a Group Meditation – A meditation practice can be powerful and beneficial. A group meditation can be even  more amazing. Enjoy the benefits of a calm mind and relaxed body by enjoying a meditation together. Gather everyone comfortably on the floor. Use cushions and blankets and get comfy. Ask everyone to create a long spine and a deep breath as they close their eyes and clear the mind. Set a timer for 5 – 30 minutes, depending on your group. Finish your group meditation feeling refreshed and connected with each other.

Posted in: Eating, Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga, Yoga

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