Category Archives: Yogic Lifestyle

Om: The Sound of the Universe

In our first few yoga classes, it may seem a little strange or awkward to loudly chant a funny “home” like sound before we begin our yoga practice— but with a bit of understanding and practice, you may just fall in love with the beauty and benefits of the incredible sound of Om.

WHAT IS OM?

Om is a sacred mantra and sound vibration traditionally chanted before and after spiritual practices in the yogic tradition.

Mantras are like scientific formulas of sound vibration known to have unique qualities, effects and energies. Repetition of mantras, including the sound of Om, are proven to have incredible benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.

Om is one of the most simple and ancient mantras, or sound vibrations. Known as the sacred primordial sound, it is said in the yogic tradition that all sound is born from Om. Om is known as the original vibration of the universe.

This sacred sound is composed of three fundamental syllables – A U M, which represents the various states of awareness, and the trinity of divine energies of Creation, Preservation and Liberation.

Within Aum, the first sound is “awe,” then the sound “oo,” then “mmm,” followed by a pause of silence.
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WHY SHOULD WE CHANT OM?

All life on earth is simply energy, occupying space and matter. Everything we’ve ever known is simply vibration resonating at various frequencies. Similarly, chanting the sound vibration of Om is mathematically consistent with the frequency found throughout everything in nature and the universe.

Known as the “sound of the universe,” the sacred primordial sound and original vibration, the practice of chanting Om is like training our own vibration back to our original resonance— our True Nature. We are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound frequency and remembering our connection to all living beings, nature and the universe.

Chanting Om is like turning on the switch to cosmic energy— it is the transmission of pure Divine Love, and therefore it is necessary to first chant Om before and after spiritual practices to both initiate and seal the energy, as well as before chanting other mantras to have the full effect.

Mantras, including Om, are indestructible positive energies— meaning they remain in the cosmos indefinitely for the greater good of all and help reduce negative karmas.

Additionally, the repetition of Om is scientifically proven to help calm the mind, balance the nervous system, evoke knowledge, assist in healing the body and mind, increase physiological alertness and synchronicity of certain biorhythms, increase health and well-being and create a single-pointed, concentrated awareness in the mind.

HOW TO OM

Om acts as bookends to the practice. It establishes the beginning and end of Sadhana, yoga or spiritual practices such as meditation, pranayama, yoga asana, or chanting other mantra. It helps to differentiate the practice from other parts of the day, and contain the energy within the practice.

To open your yoga and spiritual practices with Om, try this:

1) Find a comfortable position with an upright spine and eyes closed.
2) Take a moment to ground, center, focus with love and gratitude in your heart.
3) Take a deep breath in, and on the exhale make the sound AUM (awe, oo, mmm.)
4) Repeat 3 or 9 times total.

TIPS FOR CHANTING OM

Begin the “awe” sound of AUM at a lower resonance, and then raise the sound to a higher note as you sound “oo” and “mmm.”

Create equal length of all three sounds A,U,M. And finish the whole sound with a pause of silence as you take your next big inhalation to create the next sound.

Visualize moving the vibration from the lower chakras, up and out through the crown of the head as you feel the sound raising up through your lower belly, chest and head.

On the “mmm” sound of AUM, you may try pressing the tip of your tongue to the roof of the mouth to help rise the energy into the higher chakras.

When chanted with devotion, love and sincerity, the positive effects of the vibrations are catalyzed and made more powerful.

With a greater understanding of the meaning of Om, may you receive more from and deepen your yoga practice, remember your True Nature, and return to Oneness.

Bindi Meets Yoga | My Yoga Journey

It was nearly a decade ago that yoga first embraced my heart and saved my life.

My childhood— as happy, beautiful and absolutely perfect as it was, contained trauma. A lot of it. I experienced things in my childhood that were beyond my capacity to cope.

At the age of 13, I began to experience some intense neurological and mental ‘happenings’— medical doctors and specialists diagnosed these happenings as epilepsy, anxiety disorder, bulimia, self-injury and substance abuse.

From an adult perspective and more mature mind, I see clearly now that I was sick from stress. My brain was physiologically “electrocuting” itself because I could not cope with the trauma I was experiencing— as a mechanism of defense seizures would shut down my brain to ‘protect’ me.

For several months I was experiencing episodes which admitted me in and out of hospitals for medical tests and procedures, and intense prescription drugs– I was in a deep downward spiral of suffering. I would have a seizure, take drugs, and then sleep for 18 hours of the day because due to mental exhaustion from it all.

One day, after sobering up from a seizure and drugs, I experienced a moment of clarity. I remember telling my mother that I didn’t want to take the drugs anymore. I expressed to her that I would rather have seizures and experience mental and emotional fluctuations than to feel nothing at all. I tried to explain to her a deep inner knowing that was within me that ignited a deep desire for recovery. Shortly after making the decision to go off the drugs, and beginning to explore a more natural route to recovery, I discovered yoga.

I developed a daily yoga and meditation practice, I switched to a healthful vegan diet, and began studying and applying a variety of ancient healing modalities. Within one month, I was completely seizure free, drug free and free of so much suffering.

My sickness was a spiritual awakening.

For the next several years of my life I was fueled by a deep desire for knowledge. Yoga, meditation, holistic health and wellness naturally became my passion and purpose. At 13 years old I began informal studies in the infinity of health and wellness. At 15, I became a Reiki practitioner. At 16, I had formally studied Natural Health Fundamentals, and Holistic Nutrition with a specialty in vegan and vegetarian diets.

It was the day after my 18th birthday that I found myself on a plane headed to an ashram in India. It was my first Yoga Teacher Training— a profound experience of a whole month of intensive yoga, meditation, chanting, purifying, self-study and powerful wisdom teachings. It was a beautiful, and deeply transformational month that challenged all aspects of my being and that profoundly enhanced my life.

At 19, I returned to the ashram life in Thailand and studied with my beloved teachers Lily Goncalves and Ramananda Mayi with Blooming Lotus Yoga— a deeply profound experience into the essence of yoga. A month of self-discovery, recovery, healing and learning the art of surrender and radical self-love.

And today— at the age of 22, I begin my third Yoga Teacher Training with my teachers in Bali. An experience fertile with so much knowledge, potent insight, and even deeper inner transformation.

I am infinitely grateful for my teachers, my lineage, my students, and this beautiful journey called yoga.

The Yogi Code: The Yamas

The Yamas are the founding principles of the 8 Limbs of Yoga outlined in the Yoga Sutras summarized by Patanjali. They are the foundation of living a conscious and yogic life. The Yamas are external disciplines— a sum of ethical practices, values and virtues available to us so we may interact, relate and co-exist peacefully with all beings and with the planet.

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The Yamas can be broken down into 5 specific areas; Ahimsa (non-harming,) Satya (truthfulness,) Asteya (non-stealing,) Brahmachara (continence,) Aparigraha (non-possessiveness.)

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Lets further explore the qualities of the Yamas, these values and virtues to live more peaceful lives both on and off the mat.

1.AHIMSA: non-harming, non-violence, non-aggression, compassion, forgiveness, kindness— love.

2. SATYA: truthfulness, honesty, sincerity. Being truthful in thought, word and deed. Living one’s truth; sacred purpose or dharma.

3. ASTEYA: non-stealing. Take only what is offered and use only what is needed.

4. BRAHMACHARYA: moderation and continence. Preservation of vital energy. Exerting one’s energy wisely. Sexual responsibility or celibacy.

5. APARIGRAHA: non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-hoarding, non-collection, non-gluttony, non-attachment.

By practicing the Yamas, you can advance your yoga to the next level by transforming yoga from a simple practice, into your way of life. May these ethical practices of yoga guide you deeper into the essence of yoga and transform your yoga practice both on the mat, and off the mat into the world.

How do you practice the Yamas – on the mat and off the mat? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. <3

4 Ways to Create a Peaceful Life (And World!)

Perhaps you’ve noticed – there is suffering in the world we live in. As compassionate, loving people of the planet, we can easily empathize and sometimes even feel the pain and suffering of other beings. Sometimes, it may make us feel sadness, sometimes we grieve, sometimes we become angry, bitter or even hateful. But we cannot create a world of peace from a place of hatred. When we hate in the name of love, I’m afraid we’ve missed something very important.

Here are 4 ways to peacefully navigate through a world of suffering to create a life and world of peace. May peace and love be our compass, and may all beings be happy and free.

1. Start with yourself.

Perhaps, the greatest thing we can do for well-being, empowerment and peace among all beings is to do the inner work so that we may be at peace with ourselves and, actively participate in creating the peace we wish to see in the world. Be kind, be gentle, be compassionate with yourself first.

By filling our own cup with unwavering self-love and radical inner peace, we have more to give, we are better able to serve others, and we become a bright light in the world that emanates love and peace everywhere we go so that more people can be impacted by the peace we share, and one day, the whole world may live in peace.

2. Make peace your path.

Make peace, love, and compassion your path. Transform peace from being something you do into who you are. Doing acts of peace is powerful, but being peace will change the world.

To be peaceful, or a peace activist, you don’t have to stand outside of building chanting what is wrong with the world, you don’t have to aggressively comment on social media what you believe to be wrong or unethical, and you don’t have to donate heaps of money to humanitarian organizations.

Try practicing what I like to call micro activism in your daily life; small acts of compassion that create massive waves of peace in our world. As best as you can, try to eat, shop, exist compassionately with as little negative impact to other beings and this planet as possible. By you living a peaceful life, there is more peace in the world.

3. Choose love.

Please—stop hating in the name of love. It is easy to become angry and bitter when we see the injustice and suffering in the world, and from this place of anger, we may want to scream hatred and aggression in the name of love. Our intentions our good, but the method is not always compassionate, peaceful, or effective. To fight in the name of love is to forget what love really is. Don’t allow the suffering of the world to stain your heart of it’s true essence—unconditional love.

Ask yourself in every moment; in every interaction, in how you shop, in what you eat— how can I choose love? How may I serve in the most compassionate way? What is the most loving thing I can do here? How can I share peace? Choose the path of least harm— and when you can, always choose love

4. Do what you can to alleviate others suffering, but don’t make yourself suffer in the process.

When you cross paths with someone you can serve, do what you can. It is our highest duty to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of other beings— but that doesn’t mean we must carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. You don’t need to go searching for suffering.

We have infinite resources to offer each other; from time and money, to a loving hug or words of compassion. If you cross paths with a hungry cat or thirsty dog, do what you can to nourish them. If you can share money or food with someone less fortunate, do so. If you notice a shelter could use a volunteer, show up. If you feel called to offer words of compassion or a hug to someone in emotional pain, do it. If you see suffering, do what you can to help, to serve, for the greater good of humanity.

But that doesn’t mean you need to go looking for suffering. In a world where every catastrophe on the planet, large or small, shows up on our newsfeeds on several devices in an instant, we need to give ourselves a break from the suffering of the world. It’s important to know what is happening in our world, but our constant connection to world events can take a toll on our state of being, and move us into a state of fear and anger.

Take time away from the news, social media etc every so often to recharge your heart with inner peace and love— we can offer more to the world from that state of Being.

BONUS YOGA TECHNIQUES FOR PEACE

1. Chant the mantras:
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

(Low-Kah Sum-A-Sta Sook-ee-no Buh-Vun-Too)
May all beings be happy and free of suffering and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness freedom for all.
Om Shanti Om
(Aum, Shun-tee, Aum)
May there be universal peace.

2. Meditate
Silence and stillness allows us to settle into the experience of peace that exists within us all, and we can live and act from this place of peace.

3. Practice Ahimsa
Ahimsa in yoga is the first of the Yamas, the moral code written in the ancient texts of yoga. Ahimsa teaches us to live a life of non-violence, non-aggression, love and peace with one another. Do no harm.

May we up the ante on the shanti— start by creating peace in your own life, make peace your path, alleviate the suffering of other beings that cross your path as best you can, and always choose love. Ps. Shanti means peace in Sanskrit, which makes this a funny, cute peace rhyme because the world needs more smiles, too.

But for real, may all beings be happy, and free of suffering.

How do you live peace? How do you choose love? I’d love to hear in the comments below! x

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Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha.

How to Develop a Daily Yoga Practice

There are endless benefits to developing a daily yoga practice or spiritual practice. Many people know these benefits and want to create a daily practice, but perhaps don’t know what to do, how to do it, or how to maintain a daily practice long term.

This is a common challenge I hear from students and one that I myself have experienced through years of practice. In yoga, we call our daily yoga or spiritual pratice, sadhana. Here are four ways to overcome challenges on the path of sadhana so you can develop a daily practice and experience greater degrees of love, freedom, peace, and bliss in your life

1. Take the conditions out of your practice.

Sometimes, we are perfectionists in life and how we approach our practice is no different. We think that in order to be a yogi or develop a sadhana, we must have several hours a day, be stress free with little or no responsibility, endless energy, and have a tranquil, well decorated yoga room dedicated to practice. We place so much emphasis on perfection that we may fluctuate between practicing intensely for a short period of time, to then not practicing at all for a few days, weeks or months.

Troubleshoot common challenges to creating a daily practice:

+ “I don’t have time to practice.” | Do what you can, 5 or 10 minutes is enough.
+ “My house is too messy.” | Clean it up or don’t worry about it. Yoga is a practice of our inner experience, so the outer world isn’t too important for the practice.
+ “I’m too busy.” | Do your best to carve out time to practice. And practice mindfulness as you go through your busy day.
+ “I don’t have enough money to go to a class.” | Develop a home practice for free.
+ “I don’t know what to do.” | Go to a class at your local studio or do a free online yoga video or guided meditation.
+ “I’m too tired or lazy to practice.” | Great, honor how you feel, and try a more gently practice like yin yoga, restorative, yoga nidra or meditate to restore you. You may feel more energized after!
+ “I prefer to practice in the morning/evening and I was busy during that time.” | Creating a routine is valuable, but it’s important to also be flexible with your practice. Practicing at a different time of the day is better than not practicing at all. 

2. Make yoga your path.

Transform your practice into your path. Make yoga not only something you do, but how you live your life. Invite mindfulness, peace, and breath into all that you do and even the most mundane of tasks become sacred acts of devotion and union, which is the meaning of the word yoga in Sanskrit.

While asana, the physical poses of yoga, and meditation are important and valuable pieces of the yoga puzzle, there is more to yoga than these alone. In Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras, the two founding limbs of yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas, are a code of morals and ethics which allow us to interact peacefully with the outer world, and with our inner experience. The Yamas teach us a path of non-violence, honesty, non-stealing, moderation, and non-attachment. The Niyamas encourage us to live a life of purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study and surrender. As Dharma Mittra says, “no Yama, no yoga.” If all you do is practice non-violence, ahimsa, the first of the Yamas as your spiritual practice— you are already a great yogi.

Transform your practice from an act of discipline into an act of devotion and your practice becomes an empowering, sacred infinite opportunity and choice to connect with yourself, and unite with Divinity.

3. Create ease in your practice.

Life, yoga and meditation can be challenging enough, no need to make things harder than they need to be. The practice of yoga is powerful, but subtle. Give yourself the permission to be gentle with yourself and your practice. When we push ourselves too hard with our practice, we may exhaust ourselves and then feel resistance to practicing. Practice as much as possible— but consistent, shorter, more frequent practices will benefit you more than longer, more intense practices done less frequently.

Create a practice that is simple, peaceful and that you enjoy doing and you may feel more drawn to practicing regularly. If slowing down your practice helps—do it. If using props or sitting in a chair while you meditate allows you to feel more comfortable—allow it to be. If doing less yoga postures and more meditation, chanting, or breathing exercises feels good— do this. If you prefer meditating in the morning/evening/before/after asana, yoga postures— do as you wish.

4. Develop a ritual.

 As much as possible, try to create a daily routine – or better yet, make it a ritual. Sculpt out time every day to practice, even if it’s only five or ten minutes. And as best as you can, try to make it consistent. Developing a routine time to practice gives instructions to your subconscious and may allow you to go deeper with practice.

Explore the infinity of yoga— There is an infinite depth to yoga that extends far beyond the physical postures. Yoga is the Yamas and Niyamas, the ethical and more code of yoga, yoga is Bhakthi— a path of love and devotion, Karma— a path of selfless service, Raja— a path of self-discipline, and Jnana— a path of self-inquiry and realization. Yoga is chanting mantra, meditation, prayer, pranayama, mindfulness, and union.

Having a sadhana sequence that you follow is very helpful in creating a routine. Through practice, your subconscious will begin to memorize what your practice guides you to find within yourself and you will be able to reveal it with more ease, depth and clarity.

Consistency is key. You will benefit more from shorter, more frequent practices, than longer and more intense sessions practiced less frequently.

Here is a beginner-friendly Sadhana practice that you may practice every day. Modify it as you wish and for what your schedule allows to make it your own.

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Create space | Enter Practice
+ Set up/clean altar. + Light candle and incense. + Get mat and props for meditation and asana.
+ Come into meditation seat. Ground, centre, withdraw inwardly (Pratyahara)
+ Open practice with Om x 3 + Set intention (Sankalpa) | Say Prayer | Gratitude
+ Chin Mudra: hands are palms facing up in the lap in with the thumbs and index finger connected.

Pranayama
+ Watch the breath + Ujjayi Pranayama + Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Concentration | Meditation
+ Drishti: navel, heart, space between the eyebrows
+ Watch the gap between the breaths
+ Mantra repetition: Om Namah Shivaya, Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
+ Steep in the Bliss of simply Being

Yoga Postures (Asana) | Preferred Poses of the Day
+ Ground | Centre | Repeat Intention
+ Warm-Up
+ Standing | Strengthening | Balancing
+ Core work | Inversions
+ Backbending | Hip Openers | Twists
+ Savasana

Return | Close Practice
+ Om x 3 | Restate intention | Gratitude | Return

Creating a daily yoga practice or spiritual practice is one of the greatest gifts you can offer yourself to experience greater degrees of peace, freedom, love, bliss and truth in your life. Take the conditions out of your practice, make your yoga your path, create a practice you love to do, and make a daily ritual of if. Develop a daily yoga practice today!

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The Pose is Not the Point

The pose is not the point. In the west, yoga is often confused, diluted, and hybridized into something which is often quite accessible to all people and profitable for businesses, but lost it’s authenticity from the tradition of yoga from it’s roots in India.

          In the west, we’ve placed great emphasis on the physical postures of yoga. Asana, the physical yoga poses, are only one small limb of the 8 limbs of yoga which is aimed solely towards opening the body so one can sit comfortably in meditation for an extended period of time. In modern times, there is great importance placed on mastering the physical postures of yoga, as though that is the objective of the practice. Yoga has been advertised as a method to weight loss, relaxation, building strength, improving focus, or rehabilitating the body—while these may be outcomes and valuable benefits of developing a yoga practice, traditionally, these outcomes are not the objective.

Traditionally, yoga is a method that aims towards Samadhi— yoga is a path to liberation.

The pose is not the point. While yoga poses are valuable tools for opening, strengthening and balancing the body and mind, and many of us enjoy how yoga poses allow us to feel, and it is said that a certain level of bliss may be experienced through holding a pose in alignment for an extended period of time, mastering a yoga pose will not set you free. The pose is just a method, it alone cannot liberate you.

The realizations on the journey into the pose are far more valuable than the mastery of the posture alone.

What do you realize about yourself on your way into a yoga pose? What does the journey into the posture reveal to you about your True Self? What do you learn along the way on the pathway into the pose? What is laying underneath the surface of the posture that is waiting to bloom? What does the posture awaken in you?

If you yearn for the achievement of a pose, once you arrive into that posture, you’re still the same person— you’ve just touched your toes or balanced on your hands. But the journey into the pose gifts us with the opportunity to realize a deeper essence of your being. The Truth within you may be revealed. And you may realize that the pose was never the point.

The pose is not the point– when we think it is, we cheat ourselves of some of the greatest gifts yoga has to offer us. The pose itself becomes the least interesting— it’s the realizations, lessons, moments of surrender and strength on the journey into the pose that are the greatest gifts of yoga.

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The Yogi Code | The 8 Limbs of Yoga

The 8 Limbs of Yoga are outlined in detail in the roughly two thousand year old texts, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. These ancient texts are much like a yogis’ handbook; an instruction manual on how to live a happy, fulfilling, spiritual and peaceful life.

There is so much more to yoga than the familiar physical practice of yoga poses. There is a whole system to it, a yogi’s code, full of observances, ethics, practices and restraints to inspire you to embrace yoga as a lifestyle and help you navigate through life with ease.

1. Yama: Ethical practices to interact with the outer world.

The Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation of the 8 limbs of yoga, and are valuable steps to living a conscious life. They are a sum of values and virtues available to us, so we may relate with and co-exist peacefully with all beings, ourselves and with the planet. They can be broken down into 5 specific areas each:

a. Ahimsa: non-violence, non-aggression, compassion, forgiveness, kindness— love.
b. Satya: truth, honesty, sincerity, living your truth; your sacred purpose or dharma.
c. Asteya: non-stealing, take only what is offered – use only what is needed.
d. Brahmacharya: preservation of vital life force energy.
e. Aparigraha: non-greed, non-hoarding, non-collection, non-gluttony.

2. Niyama: A moral code of observances to cultivate a positive relationship with ones self and inner world.

a. Saucha: purity, cleanliness
b. Santosha: contentment, the art of being happy for no particular reason
c. Tapas: austerity, self-discipline, passion
d. Svhadyaya: Self-study, awareness of the Self, study of texts.
e. Isvara Pranidhana: devotion to divinity, celebrating the divinity and oneness within all beings, surrender to faith, contemplation of a higher power.

3. Asana: Yoga Poses

This is what we tend to think of yoga as in the west; people twisting their body into unique shapes. The physical yoga postures are only one limb of the 8 limbs of yoga which is the entire system and practice of yoga. Yoga poses, asanas’, care for our physical bodies; the vessel that our spirit resides in throughout this lifetime. Yoga poses strengthen and open our bodies, so we can be comfortable and healthy in our bodies, and so we are able to sit for periods of time in meditation.

4. Pranayama: Breathing Practices

The breath is critical for sustaining life. In yoga, we perform breathing exercises and techniques to circulate and direct our prana, the life force energy within all living beings and to calm and balance the mind and body.

5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal from senses.

After practicing yoga for a period of time, we naturally begin to withdraw from our sensory experience, meaning from the experiences of our 5 outward senses, and our attention is drawn inward, focusing on our inner experience.

6. Dharana: Concentration

When we concentrate, we free the mind of senseless chatter. We experience mental clarity. In yoga, we practice focus, observation and concentration. Our focus can be directed either inwardly (like in yoga nidra on various parts of the body, or outwardly, by finding our drishti, a single point of focus to gaze upon, to help us balance in yoga poses.

7. Dhyana: Meditation

Meditation is a state of being; it is an experience of nothingness and infinity simultaneously, without effort or thought. It is zen. It is absorption into pure silence and stillness. Everyone experiences meditation in many different ways. For some of us, it’s gazing into the heart of a setting sun, for others it is through dance, or through art. It is the experience of being so deeply absorbed into what is happening. It is thoughtless, and timeless.

8. Samadhi: Bliss | Enlightenment

Bliss, or enlightenment, is the ultimate goal of yoga. Bliss occurs through the transcendence of the ego. Upon the divine realization of the ultimate oneness of all. It is the purest state of being.

Your Yogi Challenge:

I invite you to practice the 8 limbs of yoga. Begin with the Yamas. Study them. Learn them. Memorize them. And practice them every day for a week, both on and off the mat. Master them. And the following week, move on to the Niyamas. Then asana. And so on, until you yourself, experience Divine Bliss.

These 8 Limbs of Yoga, from the Yamas to Samadhi, are like a pyramid or stepping stones to living a happy, fulfilling, peaceful and spiritual life. Allow the 8 Limbs of Yoga, this Yogi Code, to be your compass as you navigate through life.

The Yogi Health & Beauty Cleanse

What we eat, what we drink and the products we put on our skin all contribute to teh state of our health and how our body functions. The texture and tone of our skin, clarity of our eyes and health of our mouths are all indicators of the state of our inner environment.

With regular practice of these ancient and gentle cleansing techniques as a natural beauty cleanse, your overall health is sure to improve, and you’ll be glowing from the inside out!

1) Dry Brushing

Flushes impurities from the body by stimulating the transport of toxins
and wastes accumulated in the blood and tissues to the organs of detoxification.

HOW-TO

  1. With a dry stiff bristle brush, make firm, circular sweeping motions over the skin towards the heart to encourage lymph drainage and circulation towards the organs of detoxification and transportation.
  2. Start at the feet and work your way up the legs, the buttocks, back and tummy, and then do figure eights around your breasts.
  3. Next sweep circles from the hands up the arms and sweep down the neck.

BENEFITS

+ Reduce cellulite
+ Increases circulation
+ Removes dead skin and makes the skin glow
+ Improves immune function and lymphatic drainage

2) Neti Pot

Rinses pollutants, allergens, and bacteria from the sinuses for
easy and pure breathing while awakening the eyes.

HOW-TO

  1. In your neti pot, mix 1 cup of lukewarm purified or distilled water with 1/4tsp to create a saline solution to match the body’s natural salinity; (too much or too little salt will feel like getting pool water up the nose!)
  2. Leaning the head forward over the sink, turn your head to the right and place the spout into your right nostril and begin to pour the water into your nose. Feel it rinse your sinuses and pour out your other nostril.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

    If you feel the water going down your throat, simply tilt your head lower to direct the water up into the sinuses instead of down your throat.

BENEFITS

+ Awakens and reduces dark circles around the eyes
+ Prevents and eliminates colds, allergies and sinusitis
+ Clears the sinuses prevent mouth breathing, migraines and even snoring!

3) Khapal Bhati

An ancient pranayama, a breathing technique, translated closely to ‘shining skull’ that further eliminates congestion in the airways to brighten the eyes and face, while cleansing the lungs.
Do this after using your Neti pot to remove any remaining moisture in the sinuses.

HOW-TO

  1. Find a comfortable seated position with your hands on your stomach.
  2. Take a deep inhale inflating the belly. On your exhale, forcefully pull the belly in towards the spine to force all of the air out of the lungs.

    Because the exhalations are active, the inhalations become passive and natural in between the out breaths. It is much like trying to get the last little bit out of the shampoo bottle, squeezing the bottle rapidly and forcefully.

  3. At a comfortable pace, cycle through 30-60 pumping’s of the stomach 3 times, with a few long and deep breaths in between cycles.

BENEFITS

+ Tones the abdominal muscles
+ Releases pollutants, allergens and stagnant energy from the lungs and airways.
+ Massages the organs from the stomach pumping to increase their detoxification process.
+ Stimulates the Ajna chakra; your third eye and energy center of intuition, and highest knowledge.
+ Brightens and shines the eyes and the space around; the whites of your eyes will brighten and your face will glow!

4) Oil Pulling

An ancient and incredibly easy Ayurvedic technique of drawing bacteria, heavy metals, and other impurities from the blood while brightening your smile! Plus, it’s gentle and safe for everyone!

HOW-TO

Essentially, any organic and unrefined oil such as sesame, or sunflower oil would work, but I highly recommend coconut oil because of it’s natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and it tastes way better than any other oil!

  1. Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of oil into your mouth and swish it around for no less than 15 minutes, up to 20 minutes.
  2. Spit it out, then brush your teeth with natural toothpaste and rinse the mouth well with water.

    * I start swishing the oil in the shower, and by the time I am showered, shaved, dry and dressed, it’s time to spit it out.
    * Be sure to spit it in the trash, and not down the sink as oil may harden and clog the drain.

BENEFITS

+ Reduce bad breath
+ Reduces candida and other infections
+ Whitens the teeth, prevents and eliminates cavities and gingivitis
+ Draws fat soluble, heavy metal and fungal wastes out of the body

5) Enema

We clean our face, our hands, our teeth, ears, and our entire bodies, but many of us wince at the thought of cleaning our insides, which is super important considering we can carry up to 10lbs or more of fecal matter packed to our insides, which recirculates waste throughout our whole body! This is when autointoxication or self-poisoning occurs. An enema is an internal bath for the colon with endless benefits.

If you don’t have an enema can, cup or bag, you can purchase one from your local health food store, pharmacy or online. There are two types of enemas; cleansing and retention, and many examples of each such as coffee enemas, probiotic enemas or apple cider vinegar enemas that each have a specific health benefit and goal, but today we’ll focus on basic cleansing enemas with pure water.

HOW-TO

1. Fill your enema can, cup or bag with lukewarm pure distilled water and hang it 3-4 feet above the shower floor. (Either hang it on the bath spout or with a long string, from the shower head.) If it’s too high up, the water will pour too quickly and be difficult to retain.

2. Position yourself comfortably: you may either lay in the tub on your left side bringing your knees into your chest, or lay on your back with your knees up to allow space for the water to flow in. You may prop towels for comfort.

3. Allow a bit of water to flow out of the tube to rid any air bubbles, then insert the enema nozzle into your anus and release the water to fill the colon. You may use a small amount of natural oil as lubricant to insert it.

4. Gently but firmly massage the abdomen in a clockwise manner if there is discomfort or pressure. This will pass.

 

5. Retain the water for 2-5 minutes. The first few enemas, you may not be able to hold it this long, so release when it becomes uncomfortable. Avoid standing up while retaining as it may accidentally expel.

6. When you are ready, slowly and careful make your way to the toilet and release the water.

7. You may complete this a few times or until the water comes out a bit more clear.

8. Be sure to clean your enema can with natural soap and warm water and dry it before storing it.

BENEFITS

+ Improves overall health immensely.
+ May reduce a fever, stomach pains, and the flu.
+ May reduce allergies, asthma and skin conditions.
+ Eliminate bloating, indigestion, flatulence, constipation and yeast infections.

Making these ancient cleansing techniques a part of your morning routine (strategically done in the order listed,) will in time improve your overall health and you’ll be shining from the inside out.

What are your favourite methods for a health & beauty cleanse? Be sure to share in the comments with us all!

5 Reasons To Go On a Yoga Retreat

Whether you are brand new to yoga, or a lifelong skilled yogi, attending a yoga retreat is an experience of a lifetime.

1. Deepen your yoga and spiritual practices:

+ Only in a yoga retreat setting, do you have the opportunity to live full time with your teacher, practice with them daily, and to dedicate a holistic 2-7 days to your yoga and spiritual practice. The retreat setting allows you to dive head first into your practice, to become curious about the possibilities of your body and mind, and to explore the depths of your practice, to grow and transform, on all levels of being.
+ A yoga retreat gives you a chance to get one on one with your instructor, to ask questions, to ask for support, assistance and to try and practice new things that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to in a regular 60-90 minute yoga class.

2. Meet amazing like-minded people:

+ Yoga retreats tend to attract very unique, beautiful and kindred spirits. Yoga retreats give you a chance to really get to know the people you are retreating with in a more intimate and loving setting than any other, and build deep, life-long friendships— sisters and brothers.
+ Experience a deep sense of connection; these people at retreats, they just get you. They are on the same path. They are passionate about the same things. They seek what you seek.
+ Some of my dearest friends are from all over the world that I have met at yoga retreats | yoga trainings. We keep in touch today, and many of them, I have met up with again after the retreat. I love my retreat siblings.

3. Experience a deep reset in life:

+ The nature of most yoga retreats are very empowering, transformational and deeply nourishing. It gives you the time and space to rejuvenate, recharge and reset in life.
+ You will leave feeling balanced, completely inspired, ecstatically motivated and devoted to your path and practice.

4. Deepen your connection to yourself:

+ Attending a yoga retreat is a large investment into yourself, your health, your wellbeing and your practice.
+ Embarking on a yoga retreat is a radical act of self-love, self care and self-honor.
+ It gives you the opportunity to reflect, meditate, and redirect your mind and energy to yourself.

5. It’s an opportunity to travel:

+ Whether it’s a solo international flight, a road trip with a bestie, or a short ride from your home, yoga retreats are a chance to travel. And when we travel, we are granted new landscapes, and a fresh perspective. We are taken away from our daily routines, and schedules, and maybe even away from our comfort zones. And that is where magic happens; just outside of the comfort zone. Check out our Yogi Travel Packing List.

If the above sounds absolutely amazing to you, add attending a yoga retreat to your bucket-list. Check out our Vancouver Island Yoga Retreats or your favourite yoga instructors, travel to your favourite places, make new lifelong yogi friends, deepen your practice, and connect deeply with yourself.

Is going on a yoga retreat on your bucket-list? Have you been on one before?
I want to hear about your yoga retreat experiences in the comment box below!

– Brit x

“Do No Harm, But Take No Shit”

“Do no harm, but take no shit.”

Messages of compassion and loving-kindness unite most world religions today; the notion of non-violence or non-harming.

In yoga, we call this concept Ahisma.
Ahisma means to take responsibility for our own thoughts, words, actions and behaviors, to cause no harm to other beings.
It is about living in harmony with one another.
But we live in a world where the art of being human isn’t all rainbows and lollipops,
(though sometimes it is!)

There is also pain, suffering, harassment, trauma and plenty of ego.
This is half the beauty of our entire human experience.
But this is a breeding ground for causing both conscious and unconscious harm or violence to others
(of course as a projection of their own pain, but that’s a whole other blog post.)

Dealing with shit as yogis, empaths, conscious beings and generally good people of the world, we are constantly challenged to find the balance between the ‘ignorance is bliss’ path of keeping your head down to disregard the violence and abuse present in our world and resenting every human being that crosses our path.

We have made it our life mission; our practice, to be
neutral, resilient, unaffected
by the shit that comes our way.
This shit presents itself in the form of
abuse, manipulation, injustice, harassment.
And such an illusion this supposed dharma of always being cool as a cucumber really is.

Hurt people hurt people.

But someone’s own pain is no excuse to harm, or abuse, or harass others.
It is the highest dharma, (life mission,) of hurt people to transform the poison of abuse into a medicine to heal themselves so as not to perpetuate the cycle of destruction.

It is important to understand that the concept of Ahisma also means to the best of your ability, to prevent or attempt to stop the potential harmful behaviors by others to both others, and yourself.

Mistreatment to any beings on this earth creates a karmic imbalance, (which surely will be taken care of eventually in their souls adventures through the cosmos,) but need not the rest of the world suffer for someone’s cruel behavior in the meantime.

Standing up for others is both brave and kind.
But standing up for your self is the greatest act of heroism.

There is an old story about a yogi and a cobra.

“There was a big, mean cobra that lived in a village and he would bite anyone that would come too close. A Yogi came to stay at the village and one day, decided to practice right beside a tree near the cobra. The cobra slithered over to the yogi and lifted up as if to bite him until he realized that the yogi didn’t want to harm the snake so he didn’t bite him. The cobra said to the yogi that he wanted to learn all about yoga and the yogi told the cobra he would come back in a year to teach him if he could practice ahimsa (non-violence) for the entire year. 
So the cobra practiced ahimsa but the village people started to get closer to the snake and they began to throw rocks and him, but still the cobra did not bite them. 
A year went by and the cobra was near death. The yogi asked the cobra what had happened and the cobra told the yogi about the village people, but that he never bit anyone for the entire year. 
The yogi replied –
“I told you to practice non-violence, but I didn’t say you couldn’t hiss.””

So what does this look like for us?

When you can be empathetic, be empathetic.
When you can’t be, just be human.

In times of mistreatment or injustice, look into them; see their pain that is now being projected towards you. Step into their shoes and see the raw roots of their harm.
And send them love, in mind, or word or action.

But in situations that are more sensitive to you, when our own ego fires up and our blood begins to boil. When an old wound is broken open; just be human.
Standing up for your self is the human form of hissing.
And hissing doesn’t have to mean biting.
But this hiss creates boundaries that protect us all.

Accepting abuse from people clearly causes us harm, but it also causes the abuser harm.
They’ve abused you, and now you resent them,
or have harmful thoughts or words to say about them;
without them even knowing it.
And this perpetuates this cycle of karmic imbalance and further separates humanity.

Like the snake, don’t be afraid to hiss.
Transform poison into medicine.
Do no harm, but take no shit.