Attempt the Impossible - A Home Practice

Pilates 1.jpeg

I just finished a home practice and I feel absolutely amazing. This particular practice was not 100% solo. I was guided by Sadi Nardini online. I learned a lot, I am inspired, I found new sticky spots in my body but also found new strength and space. I felt liberated as I moved my body around in untraditional ways- it felt like colouring outside of the lines. More on the subject of moving outside of yourself in an upcoming Blog Post.

On the subject of a home practice I do believe I have much to say. Now don't get me wrong, I hope you keep coming to my classes and all of your favourite classes as you integrate yourself into this amazing community. But let it be known you are missing something magical when you can't experience any of this in the company of no one but yourself, and maybe your laptop. As un-yogic as some of you might perceive it to be to have your laptop or podcast playing in front of you while you practice, I suggest getting over it. Thought it's merely one approach to this level of practice so many of us fear. 

Sometimes during class, I see students in certain poses where it is obvious they could benefit from visiting more frequently than they can visit the studio, so I say find 5 minutes at home and just take this pose. That's it. Just this pose. Before I finish my sentence I can already hear their thoughts. 'Sure, like that's ever going to happen. Perhaps in and around the time I finally learn to knit or take that carpentry course I've been coveting I will sneak into Pigeon pose also and then my life will be complete. Or maybe at the end of the day when I am so tired I want to collapse and I indeed do, I can form pigeon pose with my aching body quickly before I lose all consciousness." 

Or you could 'get out of your own way' and make the time. Instead of glancing at your instagram, facebook or twitter feed, do a yoga pose or 5 Sun Salutations. It's like planting a seed, each additional pose you add to it is like watering that seed and what are you left with? A blossoming home practice that I promise you will become uncompromisable. 

So simply put, here are my home practice tips. 

  • Do something. That's right. Anything. A sun Salutation. Then a Warrior Two and then maybe Reverse Warrior. Then a Flow. Then why not do it on the other side because that makes sense right? Did you just do a whole bunch of poses on one side and now you can't remember them and you feel like a failure? Nonsense. Move freely. Do what you can. No one is watching. Your body is better off missing a pose on one side than having not practiced at all. It's no big deal.
  • Choose a body part. Are your Hamstrings feeling tight? Lay on your back and use your strap, belt, towel, anything resembling these items to stretch each leg. Maybe a couple of flows. Throw in a standing forward fold here, a standing forward fold there, a wide legged standing forward fold, a seated forward fold. This could be 5 minutes it could be 15. Just move into it, find the sticky spots, linger there, breath there, surrender, observe. Lay in Savasana even for 5 breaths. Feel it. You've just completed a home practice. 
  • Who are your favourite teachers? Do they have videos online? Press play and do the video. Not sure who you like? All the more exciting, explore. Geography cannot limit you now, you are on the world wide web. Sometimes I like to do a class taught by an instructor from a Country overseas. There is flavour and culture to be experienced through foreign instruction. It's inspiring. I also have a membership to YogaGlo which has thousands of classes. There is a free 14 day trial. It's a must. Other options include My Yoga Online or simply try You Tube. I also have two videos posted on You Tube.
  • Create an atmosphere. Don't lose yourself in this step. If you are able to create enough space to move in then just start there. If you fixate here before getting started, you likely will never start but maybe one day have this beautiful yoga space that you've not even approached beyond it's creation. As your practice builds, you can allow all of your props and materials to gravitate to one corner. Then maybe you get some bolsters or meditation cushions and those are there now too. Maybe candles or ipod speakers, or inspiring pictures. 
  • Turn your phone off or on silent and put it in another room. When you get started it might seem unbearable to think of missing a call or a text. This will be disruptive. And trust me, as you loose yourself in your practice and your phone rings you'll regret the decision to keep it near and the wrath is now had toward the caller. Poor friend. 
  • Set an alarm if time is critical. Yes, permission granted to keep the phone near but your calls are silenced. The alarm is so that when you get into the juiciest Savasana OF YOUR LIFE, you can drift into Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep) knowing that you'll be pulled out in time to get to dinner, or your appointment etc. If your setting an alarm simply so that you don't 'waste' too much time in Savasana, then you haven't had a Savasana like this. In your home, deeply connected with yourself, comfortable to accidentally snore or make weird sounds, floating somewhere between consciousness and the unconscious. 

I hope this helps to break down some of the walls you've built between you and your home practice. I am happy to answer any questions for you, draft you a sequence if you let me know what you are looking for, or we can even have a Skype lesson to get started! This isn't just my job, it's what I love to do so please don't be hesitant to reach out to me! E mail me at info@purushayoga.ca. Also Sign up for my Newsletter on my homepage. This is more about keeping in touch than it is about filling your mailbox with junk. I want a method of contacting all of the awesome Yogi's that cross my path.

Now get to it!

Good Music on Sunday is non-negotiable

There is nothing like the buzz of finding a new song, artist or band that you love. Sometimes I hoard my music to listen to in my 'me' time. Now that I play music for nearly all of my classes it has really exposed a large part of me and I want to step it up by sharing my finds with you all on the regular. I hope you enjoy!

Today's Song

How Did I Get Here - Odesza 

The original track is short and sweet but just not enough for a Sunday Listen so I have included the extended version.


Why I love Coconut Oil

coconut oil.jpeg

I LOVE coconut oil ! I also love anything that has more than one purpose and boy, does coconut oil ever take the cake. Here are some of the ways you can use coconut oil as a substitute for other products, allowing you to eliminate less natural products and save money!

  • Cook with it. Coconut oil will add great flavour and can easily be substituted for other oils and butter. You can grill vegetables in it, cook scrambled eggs in it and stir-fry with it! 
  • Bake with it.
  • Use it as a spread. That's right. I love spreading coconut butter on toast with Raw Honey or Almond Butter. Or both.
  • Make Up Remover
  • Moisturizer for Body and Face
  • As a shaving cream. Leaves skim smooth and conditioned.
  • Lip Chap
  • Hair conditioning Treatment
  • On split ends
  • Add to Smoothie Recipes
  • Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil
  • As a natural personal lubricant. Actually.
  • To sooth skin irritations
  • As a natural Sun Tan Location
  • Natural SPF 4 Sunscreen.

Your New Grocery List for 2014 !

I am not a huge fan of New Years as I usually feel the characteristics attributed to New Years in the Fall. But that's just me. However, I do have a fire under my ass about food which we could call a quasi resolution. Don't get me wrong. I eat great but I want to eat better. I find that with my schedule, there are definitely times I struggle and let my guard down. This January I feel a little more curious about what those around me hope to achieve and how I can help make that happen. I am fortunate enough to have made my passion my job. I am in unique situation that allows me to be surrounded by inspiring people who are constantly teaching me more than I could ever have dreamed of.  I have unlimited access to so many resources that do nothing but support me to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. I want to share everything I know with you. Today I am sharing my Kitchen list. I suggest printing it and putting it on your fridge so that you can simply reference to it without losing yourself in the grocery struggle. If this is all new to you, it may seem like a big project and a little expensive. I promise you, it's worth it. 

 It is so important to remember that all of this work we do physically, training, yoga, running etc is completely jeopardized by what we eat.  Keep in mind, I am currently under the belief that gluten and dairy are the enemy but that is for my body and you need to decide that for yourself.

if you keep good food in your fridge....jpg

Produce

These shouldn't be bought all at once or they will spoil. If you don't have time to juice eliminate those from the list for now. If you are worried the produce will spoil, make larger portions when you cook and eat the left overs the next day or freeze them if appropriate. If you are not a fan of leftovers then I urge you to get over it. It's economical, healthy and smart.

  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery (Juicing)
  • Beets
  • Ginger
  • Lemon (Juicing/Water)
  • Carrots (Juicing)

 

  • Cucumber (Juicing / water)
  • Sweet Potato 
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries (frozen)
  • Pears
  • Avocado
  • Collard Greens (used as wraps)

 

 

Pantry

This takes an initial investment but it is totally worth it ! Pick up a case of mason jars at Canadian Tire. Fill them, label them and put them out where you can see them or in an accessible cupboard. Put the excess to the side and refill when required.

  • Nuts ! (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews)
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Goji Berries
  • Raw Cacao Nibs
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Powder
  • Maca Powder
  • Almond Butter
  • Raw Honey
  • Bee Pollen
  • Coconut Oil
  • Medjool Dates
  • Maple Syrup

  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Oats (possibly Gluten Free)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • EVOO
  • Gluten Free Pasta / Soba Noodles / Organic Bean Noodles (found at Essence of Life)
  • Canned Salmon
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas (if you make your own Hummus)
  • Spices: Cinnamon, Ginger, Cayenne, Turmeric, Curry, Rosemary, Himalayan Sea Salt, Chili Flakes..
  • Coffee & Tea ( I love David's Tea)

Protein 

I was a Vegetarian for 9 years and am now a Carnivore. This has been a positive change in my life but I support both choices. This list, however, is partial to meat eaters.

  • Chicken Breast. Lots of Chicken Breast.
  • Rotisserie Chicken from Sanagans Meat Locker in Kensington
  • Ground Turkey (Pasta Sauce, Burgers, Chili..)
  • Beef (Stew, Stir Fry, Soup, etc)
  • Organic Eggs
  • Fish (Frozen or Fresh)
  • Turkey Slices for Sandwiches
  • Canned Salmon 

Fridge

  • Coconut Water
  • Almond Milk  (made or bought)
  • Coconut Milk (drinking, cooking, etc)
  • Daiya (great cheese substitute)
  • Feta
  • Goats Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Butter
  • Salad Dressing (Premade or Favourite Purchased)
  • Curry paste, hot sauce etc for Flavour & Cooking
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Olives
  • Dijon, Grainy Mustard (Great for Salad dressings, Egg salad and lots more)

 

Freezer

  • Ginger ( Frozen skin grates so finely you can't taste it.)
  • Meat (until your ready to eat it)
  • Fish (until your ready to eat it)
  • Corn Tortillas

 

  • Bread, Baguette, etc (eat Infrequently)
  • Wraps (Sprouted, Gluten Free, etc) Pop in oven when ready to eat
  • Fruit for Smoothies
  • Soups & Stews made in bulk

Yoga Sequencing.. and a note on Yoga Stink Face

One of the BEST parts about being a yoga teacher is the sequencing. It's like writing a story. You open the class, build the plot and the characters and the plot thickens. Then the story reaches a climactic point and it's time to wrap things up in a way that causes the story to linger with the reader and make them want more. Well, it's something like that.
I have recently had many discussions with both new and experienced teachers about sequencing and have drawn a lot from these conversations that I think is worth talking about. 
There are different ways to approach your sequencing. 

Consider the stages of your class first and foremost. 

Introduction:

Introduce yourself, the class, the level, the length of the class if it varies at the studio, specify if you are a sub. This gives students a chance to clarify that they are in the right place at the right time, which sometimes they are not, and to prepare them.

Breath & Awareness:

I like to instruct the students to take a deep breath through the nose followed by an exhale or loud sigh through the mouth directing them to let go of their day any frustrations they might have had getting to class. When you hear the exhale you usually can hear that they needed it. Take a few minutes to talk them through a breathing exercise or some breath awareness and teach them Oujaii breath. Clarify that they are finding a breath to be maintained throughout their physical practice. If their breath is fatigued or exasperated at any point then it's time to take a break in Child's Pose or Savasana. 

Phase 1: Reclined Asanas, Warming Component Parts of Body

Take at least a couple of reclined poses at the beginning of class or more depending on the style. For a Vinyasa the students are anxious to get moving. Although we don't want to feed their apprehension, it is traditionally a cardiovascular and heat building practice that gets you moving from the get go. 
Poses can include but are not limited to:
Apanasana (knees to chest)
Wind Relieving Pose
Stomache Turning Pose / Reclined Twist
Half Happy Baby and/or Full Happy Baby
Thread the Needle
Table Top - Cat / Cow

These poses are a great start to any class but you can start your theme here. If your focus is twists or hips then start your theme through these poses.

Phase 2: Surya Namaskar / Sun Salutations 

If you are teaching a Vinyasa, then it is PIVOTAL that you break down a Vinyasa/Flow and it's variations. You MUST teach:
Downward Dog 
Plank Knees Down & Up
Cobra & Upward Dog
Ardha Uttanasana
Uttanasana
Utthita Hastasana
Tadasana

Over time you will feel like a broken record and you will see some students frustrated that they have to do Cobra when they want to do Upward Dog or breaking down a flow at all really. It's OK. Ignore them, they will do what they want anyway. There is someone or many someone's in the room who need you to explain this. If you skip this step to please the advanced students you will surely make at least one person in that class feel inadequate and lost for the entire class. 

If you are teaching Hatha, here you could break down elements of a Vinyasa. A great many students who come to Hatha come to learn these poses at a slower pace or without moving through repeated vinyasas. Break down the above poses for them, perhaps moving through one flow but otherwise not using flows to connect your poses.
From the get go you will likely either LOVE Hatha or FEAR it. Vinyasas are a crutch when you start teaching. Don't know what to do ? Flow. Need time to think? Flow. Take those away and you are speechless. Be prepared.The transitions are important. Poses are held for longer and settle deeply into the body. When poses that complement or build one another are together it feels right. When you play Simon Says, it feels like Simon Says. It's also important to note that students who have wrist/shoulder/elbow and other upper body injuries sometimes attend Hatha expecting to not be in Downward Dog, Plank, Chataranga, Updog, or side plank variations so keep them minimal as the style prescribes and provide variations. 

Phase 3: Standing Poses, Balance Poses

A great Rule of Thumb here is the 3 and 3 rule. You can't lose doing 3 sets of 3 standing poses. Many people argue doing any more than 3 on one side before repeating on the other side can make students feel off balance and confused. You'll begin to feel when it is appropriate to throw caution to the wind. An example of the above rule is as follows:

Set 1:
Warrior Two, Reverse Warrior, Triangle, Vinyasa, Repeat Left
Set 2: 
Warrior One, Warrior Two, Side Angle Pose, Vinyasa, Repeat Left
Set 3:
Warrior One, Warrior Two, Prasrtta Padottanasana, Warrior Two, Vinyasa, Repeat Left

How do you decide what to input into this template? Consider the following:

Externally Rotated Poses are generally more accessible. Externally rotated poses are poses that require the hips to be externally rotated. These include but are not limited to Warrior Two, Side Angle Pose and Triangle Pose. Neutral Poses, that require the hips to be internally rotated are considered to be more challenging. These include Warrior One, Parsvottanasana and Eagle Pose. They often require space in the outer hips and/or the hamstrings and can challenge a persons balance noticeably. Consider placing externally rotated poses before internally rotated ones until you have a better understanding of how they relate to different peoples bodies, how to teach them accurately and how to prepare for them. 
What about Surya Namaskar B? It is okay to teach this early in the class. Since Warrior One is not being held too deeply you can consider this when doing your reclined poses in Phase 1 or maybe hold the first Warrior One of your Surya B's so everyones body can familiarize themselves and you can teach the pose otherwise take Surya B later in the sequence.

Balance poses can be included within the above or be placed afterward at which point you would bring the students to the top of the mat and teach one or more balance poses perhaps placing a half or full Sun Salutation between sides. Consider what you have worked on in class, in other words, what is warmed up in the body and ready to be challenged. If you have not targeted the shoulders, hip flexors or done any back bending then Dancer would not be the best pose. Tree is externally rotated and the body is usually prepared for this. Use your judgement.

Phase 4: Peak Pose

This does not have to follow the above phase but could be included somewhere near the latter half. You could select a pose that you have been working toward or building through practice. For instance, Revolved Half Moon is a very challenging pose. It requires you to have lengthened the hamstrings, strengthened and opened the outer hips, practiced spinal rotation/twisting and have opened the shoulders. A class can be prepared entirely in and around your 'peak pose'. A class can otherwise be sequenced around a specific body part and be placed mindfully from simplest to more challenging. 

Phase 5: Reclined Poses & Cool Down

Your peak pose could be included in this phase  if you are teaching Full Pigeon or Wheel / Upward Bow Pose. After which you would still want to take a few more poses that help cool the practice down. 
You can teach hip openers, back bending, forward folding and twisting. Poses include Pigeon, Fire Log or Double Pigeon, Hero, Camel, Pashimottanasana, Plow and/or Shoulderstand, Seated or Reclined Twist. Be mindful of what you have practiced prior to this segment of class. Perhaps continuing your theme or simply complementing it. 

Phase 6: Savasana 

Don't assume your students know to 'do' Savasana. You can pretty much assume that all of your students are at war with themselves, the room and quite possibly each word you say as you talk them into being a corpse. Sometimes it's helpful to remind yourself that if you reach out to at least one person in the room, then it's all good - and it really is. 

Be prepared for Yoga Stink Face. Almost nobody looks happy while they practice. You will get that one student who smiles every time you look at them and it's probably the cutest thing ever. You will very rarely see a student who smirks lightly while practicing but when you do you'll take note and it's also pretty awesome. Yes, you will actually see duck face too. You' will get death glares, eye rolls and sometimes people actually say 'Are you kidding me?". You will experience a student walk out of your class or leave when they find out you are subbing. Take a breath, move on. You will probably start coaching yourself on avoiding yoga stink face in your personal practice and noticing your own duck face. It's all part of the experience. Don't internalize it or take it personally. Sometimes it's nice to banter with students but don't expect too much back from them. They are in their zone and you put them there so it's strange and sometimes unnerving when you try to pull them out from it to speak in front of a room full of sweaty exasperated Yogi's. If you really need to see a smile, just ask for it, someone will give it to you and they'll mean it and it will feel good and it will be genuine and you'll move on. 

Tips to Build your Sequences

These are just some general guidelines when considering your sequence. There are lots of ways to evolve your sequencing. Try the following exercises to help you be more creative:

* Go to other teachers classes.... a lot. You will ALWAYS learn something. Even if it was not your favourite class or if you didn't like it at all. There will be  a take home. Note the sequence. If you loved it write it down. If you didn't, why not? Notes are awesome. They will be a helpful now and a gold mine later.

*Try teaching parts of the sequencing you extracted from above. Be warned, don't try to mimic an entire sequence from another teacher. It's like trying to be someone else for a day. It's hard, awkward, fake and people will notice. Try taking one phase of the class or even just one pose and then build in and around it with what you already know. Over time you will keep building and building and it will evolve naturally and most importantly it will be authentic.

*Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you can teach it. Practicing and teaching are NOT the same thing. When I began Teacher Training, I could do a level 3 class but I couldn't teach downward dog. This truth remains while you grow as a teacher. 

*Once you learn how to teach advanced Asana, it doesn't mean you should. There is a time and a place. Gage the room. The average person cannot get into a lot of the poses that might be part of your advanced practices and remember this is a GROUP class you are teaching, not a private. Many advanced poses need to be workshopped and not all students appreciate this method of instruction in a 60 minute class. You'll come to know when it's appropriate.

*Record yourself teaching. Listen to it afterward. You'll hear your hangups. You'll hear where you said something that you thought made sense but definitely doesn't. Did you leave some space for students breath or did you speak for 60 minutes straight? Your pace, your projection, choice of words and alignment cues will be things you want to take note of. 

*Language and cues. We all mimic fellow teachers but don't just say something because someone else did. You should know what it means, how to rephrase it if it's misunderstood and why it's relevant. It will become apparent if you are speaking from a script as opposed to actually teaching your students. 

I have by no means mastered all of the above. Acknowledging  how much I have reached out to blogs, books and fellow teachers over the last two years, I have come to learn that this information is priceless when considering your sequencing and how to grow as a teacher and connect with your students. 

Sequencing is REALLY fun, so have fun and so will your students.

Yoga Teachers have bad days too

gettting through bad days.jpg

I have to say it can be tough teaching everyday but in many ways it's a blessing in disguise. You know those days you kind of want to curl up in a ball and be seen by no one and forget the world exists? Yoga teachers are not given a ticket to bypass this obstacle in life. Yes, we have tools to assist us when these days happen but so does any student of yoga. Because really, that's what we are, a student. A fellow Yogi recently said, "You know, when you walked into your first day of Yoga Teacher Training, they forgot to tell you that it was actually just the first day of a life time of training". It really never ends. It's so exciting to know that there is a limitless amount of knowledge and experience left to be had but at the same time it isn't always the most comforting feeling. That same notion that the more you know the more certain you are you know nothing at all. Try walking into a classroom of 30 people feeling like maybe, just maybe, you know nothing at all. "Woah, woah, woah", you say to quickly halt the thought, because that is not going to serve anyone any good. You quickly remind yourself that you have so much to share. You enter your yoga teacher tunnel vision mode where nothing exists except your students, their practice and what you have to offer them as they practice. This is definitely a meditative experience and something many teachers, including myself, have struggled with. You literally cannot think for a moment about anything else or you will definitely forget what on earth needs to be done on the left side that we had done on the right or that extra variation you had given all because you were trying to remember the recipe for that Chicken Stew you think you're going to make later but most likely won't. Returning to a classroom of students who were just abandoned in Side Angle Pose is just NOT an option. Therefore, leave your thoughts at the door. That doesn't sound too bad, right? Well just when you think you've got it down you have your first serious emotional disruption before class which can include a break up, an argument, bad news or various disappointments and maybe even some crying but you head to your class and for the moment you have no choice but to step away. To detach from your emotions and your thoughts and submerge yourself in teaching. At first this seems impossible, but when surrounded by your students this void is suddenly filled with something unique. A connection and togetherness that is warm, comforting and supportive. And whether they know it or not, they are really helping you to be a stronger person, not just in this moment but in every moment you spend with them. Sometimes it's just a lot more uncomfortable and more difficult than we would like it to be. But so is everything that helps us to grow and evolve. 

So students if your teacher is having an off day in class be kind and compassionate. Perhaps you can recall a time they supported you while you were having a bad day. Teachers, it's always great to share tips and advice with each other. Here are a few that I have come to learn from both experience and some REALLY remarkable people.

1. Have a back up sequence for each of the classes you teach. A sequence that is simple, covers all of your bases, allows room for the students to expand or modify and doesn't cause you to stray too far from you comfort zone. Keep this in your back pocket and you will always be prepared. 

2. If you use playlists for your classes. Have a playlist stored for each style that you teach. The students may have heard it before but much of the time they are not listening but more importantly a good playlist heard twice is better than a bad one heard once or lack there of when one is required. 

3. Recently shared with me by an inspiring woman in my life, create a folder in your e-mail, on your phone or something of the like whereby you collect positive feedback in whatever form. This could be from students, other teachers, events, friends or family. It's hard to recognize our strengths and our accomplishments, particularly on our difficult days so this will be a sure pick me up. 

4. Don't use your phone half an hour before your class or immediately after. Simply opening your phone within 30 minutes before class puts you in a position whereby you are making yourself available to receive unexpected bad news, stressful e-mails, misinterpreted text messages and the like. Why do this to yourself and to your students? Shut it off and put it away. Instead, listen to your playlist to absorb your vibe for class, talk to your students and staff at the studio, and prepare the atmosphere for your class. 

These are just a few strategies for making the best of a situation that is not ideal. If you have more please share them here and with fellow teachers so that we can all try to be our best both on and off the mat. 

Thanksgiving Digestion Tip

thanksgiving_dinner300.png

Thanksgiving is upon us. It's time to slip out of those yoga pants and into something a little less comfortable as you sit around a dining room table full of enough food to feed an army and try to resist eating all of it. Sounds like a sick joke if you ask me. Have no fear, with these easy tips you can avoid glutinous discomfort and enjoy healthy digestion. Here are some great digestion tips from my friend Sarah Goldstein of Twist and Sprout. She is a Holistic Nutritionist here in Toronto. Keep your eyes peeled for more awesome collaborations between her and I as we bring you tips for a healthy life both on and off the mat !

1. EAT SLOWLY

Eating slowly will allow your hunger signals time to turn off. Pacing yourself will allow you to feel full, satiated and satisfied. Not as though you are depriving yourself of any food. Overeating can often lead to indigestion, bloating and fatigue.

2. FILL YOUR PLATE WITH VEGGIES

Turkey, potatoes and stuffing are the BOMB. Just make sure to include your vegetables, as they are easier to digest, contain varied vitamins/minerals and lots of fiber. Very necessary for proper digestion, especially with all the other goodies eaten this time of year.

3. INCLUDE RAW VEGETABLES

Raw vegetables contain live enzymes, which will help digest the meal. So make sure to include a nice raw salad with your thanksgiving meal this year!

4. STAY AWAY FROM FRUIT

The worst thing to do after a big meal is to finish with some fruit. Fruit digests quickly in the system, while a thanksgiving meal digests slowly. Basically, this is a recipe for bloating and indigestion.   

5. DIGESTIVE BITTERS + ENZYMES

These can be helpful to add to your digestive fire. Take digestive bitters before your meal, which stimulate gastric juices and enzymes production. My favorite is the St Francis- Canadian Bitters. After you eat, if you feel a bit bloated try to take a multi-spectrum digestive enzyme from brands like Prairie Naturals, UDO or Genestra.

Thanks Sarah ! These are great tips from Twist & Sprout. Check out Sarah's blog for more great tips and recipes. 

 

 

 

Stank Yoga Clothes & What To Do About It

laundry y u no do self.jpg

So I have been practicing hot yoga for 10 years and I am still frustrated with this situation. Depending on how often you practice this issue may be better for some than others. Personally, on any given day I may teach 5 hot yoga classes, practice one and go for a run. That is 7 disgusting, sweaty outfits. Thankfully I have en suite laundry. I kiss the machine daily. In a dream world I would have 3 times as many outfits as I do now so that I am not left to wash everything daily. As soon as the dryer cycle finishes the clean goods are back at it. 

Anyway, enough about me. 

After researching other peoples methods and comparing them with my own the general consensus seems to be:

1. Use additional products with your laundry detergent. 

a. Pretreat your clothes with Oxyclean. I have used Oxyclean and I think it's great.

b. 1/2 cup of Borax can be used as a natural deodorizer. 

c. 1/2 - 1 cup of White Vinegar will kill lingering bacteria. 

These ingredients will need to be combined thoroughly with your detergent before adding your clothing so run the wash for a couple of minutes before you toss in your gear.

2. A Conscious Effort

a. Do not leave your clothes in a dark, damp dungeon. Ie. Your gym bag, a plastic bag, a closed hamper or a hidden corner of the house where no one can judge you.

b. Place hooks somewhere that makes sense so that when you undress or get home from class you can hang the clothes to air dry if they are not being immediately washed. Bacteria loves humidity so don't let those clothes stay wet, whether right out of hot yoga or coming from a run or the gym.

c. If you find yourself packing your bag the next day only to see your stank clothes in a ball because you forgot the above steps, let the horror out of your system and wash that sh*& in warm or hot water. (If the material allows.)

Don't feel like a horrible human being when this happens because it will happen at some point. Just hope that no one else finds that bag. One time my boyfriend did and I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.  I have now embraced my sweat life and it is a rare moment I am not in spandex sweating. 

3. Wardrobe

a. As I mentioned above, I am aware I could use some more clothing in my rotation and I am working on it. However, if your lifestyle keeps you on your mat or working out almost daily then you need to afford yourself the opportunity to add to your sweat life wardrobe. When clothes are on an effective rotation they will last longer. Perhaps you should budget a certain amount per month that you can invest in your spandex wardrobe. Lululemon's Online store has a great 'We made too much' section where you will find clothing at a reduced price. Also, did you know Lululemon has a sale rack? Go to your nearest Lululemon store and ask them when they put out their sale rack and be the first guy there. If this is still outside of your budget, visit your local Winners or Marshalls. They have tons to choose from. You can also check craigslist for girls selling off their sweat life clothes. Lots of it hasn't even been worn. It's unfortunate that they never got around to getting their sweat on but that's not your problem. Get those clothes!

b. If you can, hang your workout clothes to air dry. You can buy a drying rack at Canadian Tire or similar stores. Or you can just hang them randomly around your apartment and avert your eyes from the clutter until they dry. Your clothes will keep their elasticity and colour much better. 

c. You could simply wear less. Are you wearing a sports bra and a shirt to hot yoga ? Lose the shirt. Everybody's doing it. You'll get a great visual on your core, it will remind you to use your core in your standing poses and now you have an extra article of clean clothing. Please note: everybody's skin pudges in twists and forward folds. It's not just you.

Additional Tips if you so please.

a. It was noted to pre-rinse your sweaty clothes in water before washing with detergent as well as various other combinations of multiple washes. Sure, if you find yourself in an "I left my clothes to rot for a week' emergency then fine,but on the regular, that is a lot of water and washing. 

b. Put clothes in the freezer to kill bacteria. Be sure to let them air dry first. This feels a little too close to that saying, "Don't sh*# where you eat" so I think I'll pass but to each their own. 

c. Mystery German Miracle. Man, the Germans really know how to make things. Apparently this detergent makes your clothes smell like new. It's added to the rinse cycle like a fabric softener. If you find this, please share your treasure. Sagrotan Hygienespueler. 

If you have more tips please share them ! 

Dry Brushing & Why It's Awesome

drybrush.JPG

I have been intending to jump on this Dry Brushing band wagon forever. Finally, it has come to fruition. My friends, I am walking down a glorious path to having smooth, glowing and creamy skin. Not to mention excellent circulation and lymphatic health. And just like all of the other awesome things I love, I am going to share this with you. 

What is dry brushing?

It's exactly what it sounds like. You use a dry brush to massage your skin while it's dry. The idea is to brush from your outer limbs toward your heart. Moving in this direction supports good circulation and also follows the flow of the lymphatic system. Be mindful with your strokes. The brushes are fairly coarse so be firm but not aggressive. Your skin will be slightly pink afterward but should not be red or sensitive.

How to Dry Brush

Brush in sweeping motions when brushing your limbs and the sides of your body. Switch to circular motions when brushing your upper thighs, bum and back. Cellulite ? Give that area a little more attention.Take note that your face should not be treated the same way as the body. A separate exfoliator should be used, something more gentle. A facecloth is a great option. 

Then What ? 

After you've finished dry brushing, hop in the shower to rinse away all of that dead skin that you have sloughed off. Consider using a moisturizing soap. A great product that I think is a brilliant invention and such a treat is Lush's Ro's Argan Body ConditionerThis is applied when your shower is done. Rub it into your skin and simply rinse away the cream that remains on the surface away to reveal your thoroughly moisturized skin beneath. Otherwise be sure to moisturize or oil post shower. Coconut or Jojoba oil are two of my favourites. 

Tip

Try dry brushing 2-3 times a week for the first week, maybe two, just to gage your skins reaction. If your skin is in love you can dry brush daily. Yes this adds a little time onto your personal grooming regiment but honestly ladies, we're already in so deep whats another 5 minutes.

Where can I get it? 

I bought mine at Noah's for under $10 which I think is reasonable. Feel free to share where you got yours, especially if you got a great deal !