Let’s Talk: Getting Back on Track

Why is it that setting good habits takes so damn long but losing them takes about a day and a half? The day and a half may be a slight exaggeration but staying on track with good health, choices and habits can be a challenge.

At the beginning of this year, my goal was to have a proper morning routine. I would wake up, get on my mat (even if it were just for 5 minutes), meditate, wash my face, drink lemon water and read before making breakfast. It was only after making breakfast that I would allow myself to check any screens. That meant no TV, phone, computer or tablet for at least an hour and a half after waking up. I had an awesome track record for this routine (and felt amazing) up until the summertime when I started my teacher training, then it all turned sour. You see, I am not naturally an early riser. I love sleep. Love it. No matter what time I go to bed, I find myself sleeping at least 10 hours if I don’t set an alarm. So when I had to be awake at 6.00am in order to have the time to fulfill my routine (even 6 was a time-crunch) and be at the studio by 7.30, I knew I was going to have some problems.

The first day went alright, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I barely slept from anticipation. The second day, I was already exhausted by the full days of training so the rest of the 200hrs I was lucky if I woke up with enough time to make tea and grab a muffin on my way out the door.

The rest of the summer was no better seeing as it was basically a long vacation at the cottage so when we closed up the cottage for the season and came home I felt that fall was when I would finally get back on track, only to find that habits are way harder to make than they are to break.

There’s a study that says it takes 21 days, or 3 weeks to make a habit. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. There is no way that it’s only 21 days to make an unbreakable habit form in your bones. Maybe a 6 months, maybe even a full year, but 21 days? I dispute!

Nothing would make me happier than to get back into my morning routine but every morning without fail, I somehow reach for my phone, check Instagram, tell myself I’ll meditate when I’m in yoga class, make breakfast and immediately plop myself in front of the TV (Gilmore Girls is calling!).

So here’s the challenge. Did you make yourself a resolution at the beginning of the year? Well it’s New Years isn’t the only time to make resolutions! In fact, we can make them any time we want. Isn’t that a revelation? Therefore, I invite you to revisit any habits you want to change, develop or break and resolve to work on them with me this month. We can do it together and we will definitely feel better once we get back on track. I’ll keep you updated and you can check in with me at any time if you need some support! I’ll be up at 8am, on my mat, meditating, ignoring my phone in no time. Remember, you can get back on track at any point of the day, just cause the morning wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that your afternoon or evening won’t be. Take it day by day! Good luck!

Namaste.

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Stream of Conciousness about Social Media

So many feelings about all the talk about Essena O’Neill being so transparent about social media and Instagram especially when this all happened right as I’m learning that being a yoga teacher means being a independent contractor and that I’m working for myself and selling my services and social media is a big part of that reality. I felt strange about starting a public Instagram in general, I have had a private Instagram account (with fewer than 50 followers) for over a year, I feel comfortable and safe posting there, knowing that only family and close friends will see what I put out. I have had strangers and even old friends try to get access to those photos, and I say no, so to choose to post publicly and then go even further and hashtag the hell out of the photos to gain followers hasn’t exactly felt natural.

I began taking photos of my practice basically when I got Instagram last year (I had just gotten an iPhone – yes super late to the game) and also around the time that I started to practice yoga regularly, seriously and beyond the asana. My practice made me feel good mentally, it made me appreciate by body and it’s abilities instead of putting myself down and gave me so much strength. I appreciated and loved seeing micro-improvements each time I practiced and taking photos was a fun way of documenting this progress and sharing what I could do with family and friends. 

My first photos were taken exactly like the ones I still take. I ask Jamie (or my brother, or a friend in-studio) if he has time to take a photo (and then once he says yes I convince him that 10 different asana photos are sorta like 1), I may or may not be warmed up, and we take them. We don’t seek out places to take the photos, I am extremely fortunate to have a cottage to go to and have a park nearby so I can take gorgeous outdoor shots. The photos aren’t edited (other than a cool Instagram filter here or there). I’m usually sweaty. I sometimes look at them and feel self-concious. Sometimes I look at them and feel awesome. 

My public instagram has way more followers than I could have ever imagined. With the Essena O’Neill story blowing up, I’ve done even more introspection into why I’m choosing to use social media and what it’s effects are on me and my life outside of this emerging business. 

I’ve noticed that on public social media, I choose to keep family and friends more or less separate. I also tend to veer away from photos that are head shots or where you can explicitly see my face. I posted a head shot a few weeks ago (before the numbers of people seeing my photos had mushroomed) and since there has been more traffic to my page, the amount of creepy and unwanted comments on my appearance has further deterred me from posting more personal shots. Because of this, unfortunately its not exactly a safe space.

Why then do I keep posting? For the same reason that I go to a yoga studio, I am looking to be part of a community. I want to be surrounded by like-minded people with beautiful and inspiring souls. Unfortunately, as in real life, we have to weed out the creeps. I also realize that even if I don’t like it, social media is a strong presence and a useful tool for me to market my brand and let people know about me as a yoga teacher and allow for potential students to learn what I am about. 

I feel to some degree that as an emerging teacher, I do have to stand out, I do have to do something to bring attention to what I do and social media is an effective way of doing this. However, I understand and respect what Essena is saying, and I think she has also opened up an extremely important dialogue with her transparency. Although I remain so conflicted, I am choosing to keep control over my public accounts by only posting what I am comfortable with posting, and follow a strict no creepiness policy (my account is clearly business related, if someone posts something irrelevant, posts me in something unrelated, sends me an inappropriate message, etc they are immediately deleted and blocked, no questions asked). I also choose to keep all my Instagram notifications off. I check when I put up my daily post and then I leave it for the day. 

I’m extremely thankful for the conversations that have come out of Essena’s video and it is directly because of her post and the traction that it has gotten that I have been inspired to confront the feelings regarding the business of social media that have been mulling in my head for weeks now and further adding to the anxiety of making this dream of teaching a reality. It is because of her that I want it to be known that my photos are a product of my love and passion for the yoga practice and I want them to reflect that. For this reason they are not and will not be edited. They will be reflective of my practice and the practice I can hopefully inspire as a teacher. They are not paid for. I will remain open and honest about what I put into the world. I want to be inspiration. I don’t want to be #goals. Let’s continue this conversation, encourage honesty on social media and hopefully ignite passion for yoga through this medium. 

Daily Morning Routine

Something to know about me; I love reading (or watching, thanks YouTube!) about people’s routines. I have always been an avid magazine reader and would just devour the little blurbs about how people tackled their day to day, what products they used, what they ate… everything! When I was figure skating, I had a definite morning routine that began at 6am so I could be on the ice by 7 and at school by 8:45 (full disclosure, I was often late). But when I became injured and then high school and university happened, that healthy morning routine fell by the wayside.

Around late-July last year, I decided to start my days with a little yoga. I had been regularly practicing at home in the afternoons, but felt that my mornings needed something that didn’t involve immediately turning on something (whether that be the tv, my phone or the computer). With that small daily yoga change, began a full morning routine that makes me start my day on a positive, excited and happy note!

Since beginning this daily routine I have noticed many changes in my life. I strongly feel that starting the day with enough time to spend time in silence, be introspective and un-rushed changes the state-of-mind. I believe in routines, I think they are important to bookend your day with a sense of groundedness and stability. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneity is important too, but being able to really rely on certain aspects of the day makes everything a bit easier. I also think its so important to try and live without constantly focusing on screens! I know that’s a little unreasonable since we live in 2015 and we literally have them strapped to our wrists now, but I always try to turn my phone on silent and keep my iPad and tv off and away from me at least until I am making breakfast. So without further ado, here’s my daily morning routine!

I enjoy waking up with at least two hours before I have to go anywhere or do anything. I don’t have children so I know this is a bit easier for me to do interrupted, but those two plus hours really help me spend quality time with myself. First thing, I wake up and give my partner a kiss, throw on some leggings and a comfy shirt and drink some water. I sleep with a 500mL glass jar beside my bed and down it before my eyes have even rid themselves of sleep. Next, I cut a lemon, put on the kettle for some delicious and beneficial lemon water and while that is boiling I practice some yoga.

Relaxing Morning Child's Pose

Relaxing Morning Child’s Pose

 My morning yoga routine varies but tends to be under 15 mins and extremely relaxing with a focus on flexibility. I enjoy taking my time, breathing into tight spaces and letting my body slowly and patiently wake up. I’ll either create my own practice or follow a quick morning YouTube video if I don’t feel like thinking (hey, we all have those days!). Once I have finished practicing, I grab a couple pillows from my couch and create a little meditation seat. I open my Insight Timer App and sit quietly for 5 mins. I practice mindfulness meditation because it’s just what is suiting me at the moment, but I love constantly being reminded to come back to my breath. I’m hoping that I can slowly work up to 20 mins a morning of meditation but I’m not quiet there yet, but a little goes a long way!

Once I’ve finished on my mat and the kettle has boiled, I run into the bathroom and wash my face. This is another new (but important) daily habit! I finally began washing my face religiously in the summer of last year and it has done wonders for my skin! Especially after I move from chemical-laden products to more natural choices.

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

I have already posted a Natural Morning Skincare Routine and my routine now hasn’t differed much since then. I first wash my face with Lush’s Fresh Farmacy cleanser (It. Is. Incredible. Especially for extra-sensitive skin), then follow up with some sort of toner (99% of the time I use witch hazel but I ran out so have been going back to Lush’s Eau Roma Water which I also really love, it’s just not as inexpensive and does contain methylparaben which I don’t love) and finally use the best facial moisturizer from Sukin.

By the time I’ve done all this the boiling water from the kettle has cooled a bit, but I’ll still pop some ice cubes into my mug with lemon before pouring in the hot water. If you don’t already drink warm lemon water in the morning you are seriously missing out! It is so beneficial for your health, your skin and general well-being!

Lemon Water

Lemon Water

I like to enjoy my lemon water in one of two special places; out on the balcony (if it’s nice outside and I can sit in the shade) or in my favourite comfy chair that smells like my cottage. I will sip and savour my warm water while reading my morning meditation. I have talked about Journey to the Heart before (and likely will again) but I just enjoy following her daily thoughts and stories because they help me focus on the positive and change any negative thinking. My bookmark is just a cue card that I have listed my favourite meditations of hers that just resonate so completely with me so that I can go back to them as much as possible.

Journey to the Heart

Journey to the Heart

Once I’ve finished reading and contemplating my meditation, I’ll pick up another book or magazine and just sit and read for a while. I enjoy reading about nutrition or yoga in the mornings for inspiration, or if I’m feeling like something light, I’ll choose a magazine or the book I’m currently reading!

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Now my lemon water is all gone and I’m likely starting to feel hungry so I’ll prepare a smoothie. I drink a smoothie every single morning! If I know that I have the time and want to eat a real breakfast I’ll make a really simple spinach and berry smoothie to drink beforehand, however, if I’m running late or just don’t feel like cooking, I’ll prepare a real smoothie with avocado, peanut butter and lots of fruits to keep me charged through the day. Usually I opt for the quick smoothie (like today)! It’s seriously super simple, throw some spinach and frozen berries into a blender, add water and go!

Simple Morning Smoothie

Simple Morning Smoothie

The reason for the super simple smoothie is to be able to start the day on a healthy note, to be able to have my fruits before eating solid food (proper food combining) and because it just stars me off on a healthy foot. I find myself making healthier choices throughout the day when the first one I make is a good one or if I do go out for dinner or have something special to eat, there is literally no guilt.

So while I’m drinking my smoothie, I’ll go back to my spot and keep reading! Once I finish my smoothie, I allow for half an hour before preparing more food (on days that I want to actually eat breakfast) so that the fruit can digest so that I’m not creating a problem for my digestion (if you would like to know more about food combining, leave a comment below, I’d love to talk about it!)

Light Morning Reading

Light Morning Reading

Now that my smoothie is done and my stomach is really wanting more food, I’ll make breakfast. Here’s also the time that I put on sunscreen if I know that I’ll be leaving the house shortly after breakfast (it takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to do it’s job and begin protecting you!) Lately my favourite go-to breakfast has been mashed avocado, red pepper flakes and a fried egg on ezekiel toast but today we didn’t have eggs (sad) so I tried something new!

“French” Toast

Behold my delicious “French” Toast breakfast. This recipe is totally kudos to Tara Stiles and her book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”. It is 2 slices of ezekiel bread, 1 banana smashed with 1/2 unsweetened almond milk, “fried” in coconut oil with a little bit of cinnamon and maple syrup on top. This was incredible and tasted just like real French Toast!

I paired my breakfast with some yummy tea (as always) and today’s was just plain ol’ organic green tea!

Green Tea

Green Tea

 Now’s the time that I’ll probably turn something on to watch (I know you’re not supposed to watch tv while eating, but it’s my weakness!) I’ll usually choose YouTube videos or some trashy reality tv show (another weakness, but they make me happy!)

Lastly, after washing the dishes, I’ll put on some happy music and some makeup! I don’t wear a lot day-to-day but if I’m feeling a pick-me-up or have somewhere (other than the yoga studio) to go, I like makeup! I always wear a BB cream, concealer under my eyes, brow gel, mascara and a lip something and will add blush, bronzer, setting powder and eyeliner if I have somewhere special to be! I finish up with a spritz of Saje Namaste Aromatherapy mist as a setting spray and to give me a little aromatherapy jolt.

Now that I’m done eating, reading, yoga-ing and meditating, my morning routine is over and it’s time to start the day!

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

Now that you know my morning routine, I would absolutely love to hear about yours! Is there something that you swear by in the mornings? Also, if you have any recommendations of all natural makeup and sunscreen brands please let me know! Finally, if there is anything that I mentioned that you would like more information about (ie food combining, etc) please let me know! I would love to make a post for you!

Namaste.

(Note: Nothing in this post was sponsored or asked to be mentioned. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Enjoy!)

Yoga@Home: Yoga & Life with Becca

Next in my Yoga@Home series is fellow Canadian, Yoga & Life with Becca!

Yoga & Life with Becca - Screengrabbed from 25min Happy Hips Vinyasa Yoga Flow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L8Ckm_41RY)

Yoga & Life with Becca – Screengrabbed from 25min Happy Hips Vinyasa Yoga Flow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L8Ckm_41RY)

Though Becca isn’t as consistent at uploading as some other Yoga YouTubers, her flows are designed in a way that are completely unique and incomparable to other instructors. Becca designs interesting flows where she combined asanas in a way I could never imagine, which makes practicing with her constantly refreshing and fun!

Unfortunately, she doesn’t have pre-designed playlists so you have to sift through her many videos to find what you would like to do, however each video is titled with the length of the video and the type of practice it will be. Becca not only posts short 10min flows (like 10min Flow for Butt & Legs) but also films her full length in-studio classes, so you can get an in-studio type of practice from your own home! Not only that but she breaks down difficult poses into isolation and teaches them thoroughly so you can safely practice them at home (for example, headstand). Finally, she often leads retreats and will film flows from the gorgeous and exotic locations, making you feel like you’re on a retreat with her.

Another reason I love Becca is that she is constantly uploading inspirational videos that help with staying positive and true to yourself.

I urge you to check out her YouTube channel and play around with some fun and creative flows with Becca!

Namaste.

Follow Me!

Natarajasana (Dancer's Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose) – Om Shanti Life

If you’re enjoying what I’ve been posting here maybe you’d like to follow me on social media!

I update my Instagram and Twitter daily and Pinterest weekly.

I’ve been updating my Instagram with lots of yoga poses, yummy food and daily holistic fun! I post inspirational messages, link to interesting natural articles and website. Pinterest has tons of healthy recipes, yoga inspiration and natural DIY.

Let me know what you’d like to see on the blog! What are you liking? What could be improved upon? What do you want to see more of?

Namaste.

Opening the Heart Chakra: Practicing Back Bends

Backbends; they may seem exclusive to contortionists, but not only can you practice them, you should be practicing them as they’re extremely beneficial! If you’ve read my Welcome page, then you may know I have back problems; six slipped discs to be exact! Because of this, backbends are definitely my weakness in yoga class but instead of avoiding them, I try to practice as much as possible because every backbend brings tons of benefits!

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose) – Om Shanti Life

There are three types of backbends; traction, contraction and leverage. Traction backbends are when you use gravity to pull you into the bend, your front body remaining active. Ustrasana (camel pose) and urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) are great examples of traction backbends. Contraction backbends are the opposite. Usually, contraction backbends occur while you are laying on your stomach, your back body activates pulling you off the ground. Salabhasana (locust pose) is a contraction backbends. Finally we have leverage backbends. Leverage backbends are named so because you use the strength from your limbs to help further pull you into the bend, such as danurasana (bow pose) and bhujangasana (cobra pose).

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Salabhasana (Locust Pose)  - Om Shanti Life

Salabhasana (Locust Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Now that you know about the different types of backbends, you’ll want to know why you should be practicing them! It’s a fact of life that we spend a lot of time hunching and turning inwards. We’re sitting at our desks looking at screens, craning our neck down to play iPhone games on our daily commutes, curling inwards to avoid the cold winter, most of the day is spent hunched forward! It may seem natural for the spine to move into forward bends, but a daily backbend reverses the effects of this hunching, opening us up and making us available to the world around us. All that hunching means that most of us are walking around with some sort of pain, regularly practicing backbends can alleviate that back pain by bringing a rush of new blood and flexibility to the affected areas. Backbends aren’t only beneficial physically but mentally as well. BKS Iyengar believed back-bending to be a remedy for depression and would recommend them not only as cure for sadness, but also would suggest them to open up the front body and heart. Stretching the heart (as we naturally do in a backbend) releases all kinds of tension and emotion and even releases a flood of natural painkillers into the bloodstream! Backbends not only help to improve posture and ease pain but they build lots of strength in the back body, stretch the hip flexors and chest, build flexibility in the spine, ease symptoms of insomnia to let you sleep and help with mood disorders such as anxiety and stress!

Ustrasana (Camel Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – Om Shanti Life

When we bend backwards, we naturally broaden across the chest and open up the heart chakra. The heart chakra (or anahata) is the fourth chakra, located in the middle of the chest. When the heart chakra is blocked you can feel shy, unworthy of love and alone; pretty unpleasant feelings! Opening up the heart chakra opens you up to the idea and possibility of love! Clearly backbends open us up to a flood of emotions. It is not uncommon to find a wild release of anger, frustration, sadness when working within a backbend practice. This is natural and you don’t want those feelings bottled up inside anyhow!

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Backbends are great to practice because spinal health is such an important thing! Though backbends are an excellent and important addition to your practice, it is always important to work within a pain-free range (especially if you have back problems!) Pushing or pulling or forcing yourself into poses that you aren’t ready for is a recipe for disaster. Be safe! Make sure you are ready to backbend before jumping into them! And speaking from experience, make sure your mat is nice and sticky! (I attempted urdhva dhanurasana while breaking in my new Manduka Pro mat, it was too slippery and I fell on my head!) Always begin a back bending practice after your body is nice and warm! Practice some cat/cows, twists and gentle back bends before trying more advanced poses. Remember also to have fun!

Namaste.

(Note: If you are new to the practice or new to backbends, work with a yoga teacher and check with your doctor. Though I’m starting my teacher training in May [!!] I’m not a professional [yet]. Be safe! Listen to your body! Have fun!)

Yoga@Home: Lesley Fightmaster Yoga

If you are familiar with my Yoga@Home series or are a regular practicing yogi, then you know sometimes you cannot make it to your studio. Maybe you are having a very busy day, other times you may want to have more control over your practice (What will your peak pose be? How much time do you have to practice?) than you would taking a class in studio. YouTube channels lead by regular yoga teachers are a great way of trying new things and learning more about your practice. You’ll have time to press pause and try poses over and over, and if you fall out of a pose, no sweat! Get back up and try again! Today with Yoga@Home, I’m sharing with you Lesley Fightmaster.

Lesley Fightmaster - Screengrabbed from: Yoga with Contentment (Santosha) Day 73 Yoga Fix 90 with Lesley Fightmaster (https://youtu.be/RlDeut3umos)

Lesley Fightmaster – Screengrabbed from: Yoga with Contentment (Santosha) Day 73 Yoga Fix 90 with Lesley Fightmaster (https://youtu.be/RlDeut3umos)

Lesley Fightmaster’s YouTube channel is incredible, she has numerous different videos broken into well organized playlists so you can find anything you could possibly want! The playlists range from beginner to intermediate with more advanced flows under a full playlist for inversions! So fun! Many YouTube yogis shy away from including headstands, handstands and forearm stands from their practice, but with Lesley Fightmaster’s smart cues and encouragement to begin by a wall, you’ll find yourself upside down in no time!

Lesley Fightmaster is a committed yogi, she is currently finishing up a program called Yoga Fix 90 where she has released a video a day of different yoga routines. There are power yoga routines, fun play-time classes and yin yoga for relaxing! With 90 videos in just one playlist you know that you will not run out of different asanas and flows to practice!

One of my absolute favourite things about Lesley Fightmaster’s videos are her complete post-practice savasana. While other YouTubers guide you into savasana then end their video, Lesley Fightmaster includes a full savasana at the end of each class! These savasanas are accompanied by a quote that pertain to the just finished practice and help you finish feeling refreshed, calm and accomplished! This small detail may be something you didn’t realize you needed, but make what is an online class feel so much more personal!

I encourage you to try Lesley Fightmaster’s online yoga practices at your earliest chance. Try those advanced poses! You may find out that an asana you thought was out of reach is right there. Remember, you can always press pause and play as much as you want!

Do you enjoy practicing yoga on YouTube when you cannot make it to the studio? Which videos do you love?

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Turn Workouts into Play Time

Today’s Quick Healthy Tip may seem like a no-brainer but it bears repeating; find a workout that you love! We know there are numerous benefits to regular exercise; increased energy levels, better sleep, improved mood, better self-esteem, boosted immunity, the list goes on and on… So why aren’t you exercising regularly? Maybe it’s because you aren’t motivated by your workout!

Visvamitrasana - Om Shanti Life

Visvamitrasana – Om Shanti Life

If you’ve read my “about me“, then you may know that I grew up figure skating competitively. However, when an injury took me out of the game, my health, fitness and self-esteem took a plummet. I toyed around with so many different workouts knowing that I had to start moving my body, but not knowing what I wanted to do! I tried HIIT, zumba, kettlebells, weightlifting! Anything and everything I could think of that may be fun, guess what? I hated all of it. I had been practicing yoga regularly at a beginner level and realized how much I loved it, so instead of practicing the same routines and the same asanas, I decided to begin pushing myself. One day I woke up and decided I was going to work on headstand, so I brought my mat to the wall and did a headstand. That was the spark of my true love for exercise re-igniting.

Enclosed Egg Headstand - Om Shanti Life

Enclosed Egg Headstand – Om Shanti Life

Look for clues from your childhood, what games or sports did you like to play? Once I started practicing daily, I realized how natural of a fit yoga was into my life! The main components of the physical yoga practice are balance, strength and flexibility all the same important components of my daily figure skating! Make this work for you! Did you love playing soccer growing up? Try signing up for a neighbourhood league. Did you enjoy karate? See if your local gym offers muay thai! Not everyone loves lifting weights! And if you do, that’s okay too! Find what works for you!

Natarajasana Variation - Om Shanti Life

Natarajasana Variation – Om Shanti Life

Once I began regularly practicing yoga, I realized it was time for me to add cardio back into my routine. Inspired by friends who always seemed to have just come back from a jog, I decided to try running… I loathed it! I pushed myself to run for 6 months before I knew it was time to start something new, so I looked into spinning and fell in love. Like yoga and figure skating, I loved that spin class intervals were similar to the sprints I would do in middle and high school track and field.

Side Plank Variation - Om Shanti Life

Side Plank Variation – Om Shanti Life

Play around with exercise and turn it from a chore into something that you look forward to! Do not be afraid to try different classes (many gyms and studios offer discounted rates for first-timers), to get sweaty or to look silly, that’s what makes it fun! When you find yourself humming in anticipation for your next workout and you’re smiling despite working hard, feeling workout discomfort and sweating like a pig, then you know you have made the right choice! There is no one size fits all! Find what you love, practice often and reap the rewards!

Let me know what you’re favourite exercises are!

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Morning Yoga

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Quick Healthy Tips; Morning Yoga.

We spend much of our lives hunched over screens, whether at work or at play, we can become reliant on constant distraction and can easily become stagnant. One of the best ways to combat this is to start a morning routine that doesn’t involve immediately turning on the tv, scrolling through Instagram or checking email. My favourite way to do this is with a quick morning yoga routine.

IMG_1103

Starting your day with a little light yoga can really benefit you in ways you will not realize. Starting off with stretching, using your muscles and focusing on your breath can shift your focus and mindset into something positive. There is no such thing as the “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” if you wake up and take the time to yourself. Morning yoga isn’t the time to work on your hardest arm balances or deepest stretches, it is the time to move with your breath and be mindful.

When practicing morning yoga, you can choose to create your own routines or you can search “Morning Yoga” on YouTube and sift through the videos until you find a favourite. The videos range from 5 minutes to over an hour, meaning that you can find something no matter how much time you have! I love using Yoga with Adriene‘s channel to find morning videos and especially love her Travel Morning Routine for an under 10 minute routine to start my day!

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Do you have a regular morning yoga practice? How does it help you start your day? Start today and let me know how it goes!

Namaste.

Yoga@Home: Yoga by Candace

Do you ever have those busy (or let’s be honest… lazy) days where you just can’t make it to your yoga studio for your regular class? I’ve had a hard time this week scheduling in my classes so I started doing something that I used to do all the time; yoga flow YouTube videos at home. Full disclosure: before I started a regular studio practice, I practiced at home with the help of these videos several times a week, they are incredible! I have had multiple friends ask me which online teachers I liked because I moved from never having done yoga, to beginner, to intermediate and then playing with advanced poses all through YouTube videos! Because of this, I thought it may be fun to begin a new series called “Yoga@Home” where I could introduce you to all my favourite online yogis!

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Yoga by Candace – Screen-grabbed from: 50 Minute Power Yoga Class for Upper Body and Arm Balances (http://youtu.be/ad6NwWNjLGg)

Today’s channel is the amazing Yoga by Candace. The Yoga by Candace YouTube Channel is full of incredible and fun routines! Candace is one of my favourites lately because her routines tend to be fast paced and challenging! Her YouTube playlists are extremely well set up as she separates her routines not only by length (depending how much time you have), but also by body part, time of day or type of yoga you are interested in practicing. Because of this it’s extremely easy to find something no matter what you are looking for! Candace is a great teacher because she thoroughly explains poses so that you don’t feel confused or risk the chance of injuring yourself. Candace reminds you to “move within a pain free range” and always encourages you to remember that every day is different, to find your healthy edge and not get discouraged if you find yourself struggling one day more than another! Her flow sequences are super creative and different, meaning you don’t feel like you are going through the motions of the same class over and over. Candace provides thoughtful and interesting routines that will revitalize your home practice regardless of your yoga “level”.

Do you practice yoga at home? Are you looking forward to the Yoga@Home series? Let me know how you enjoy Yoga by Candace!

Namaste.