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Back to (Yoga) School

Depending on where you are in life, "back to school" time is either a let down, full of excitement or a huge relief (parents, I am looking at you for that last one). While I am an enthusiastic fan of all things summer, I do love the transition and the cultural shift as a new year of learning and possibility is placed before so many minds collectively.  The personal pull towards intellectual expansion is something you may feel more strongly at this time of year as well. As a yogi, you are constantly learning how the body moves in different postures, how the practice changes your energy, mood and expands your perspective. In the spirit of supporting your own continued learning, I have been busy creating a few programs over the summer that you may enjoy. Whether you are looking for a fun and free morning yoga boost or are ready to take the plunge into teaching yoga and meditation, I have something just for you.
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Yoga Anywhere: Southern California {plus Beach Yoga Video}

I love to travel. In my early twenties I spent time tour managing a band and had the opportunity to work all over North America and get a taste of many incredible places. Those of you that have caught the travel bug know that exiting the comfort zone of your daily routine and entering an unfamiliar place with a different culture can be a spiritual experience.  Now that I am a freelance teacher, I have the privilege and flexibility to travel to teach or accompany my husband when he has a speaking engagement. On our trip last month, it struck me several times how much traveling is can be a way to practice yoga in the larger sense. You see, “yoga” isn’t merely a practice that happens on the mat. In fact, asana (the physical practice) is only a small portion of what it means to be a yogi.
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Summer Yoga Playlist: Songs and Ideas to Motivate Your Home Practice

Being 32 weeks pregnant in the middle of summer sure is an interesting experience. With little feet kicking me in the ribs most of the day and night, the inspiration to get on my mat and practice is a heck of a lot harder to muster.  The main tools I have been using to help work through the inertia of are: 1. Yin Yang Yoga: Build Your Home Practice course The tools and tips I share in this course are one's I use daily to cultivate the discipline it takes to maintain a personal practice. I love the structure of the practice module because it makes it easy to modify time on the mat to suit my fluctuating energy. (If you want an audio class, check out what we have in the Aquin Yoga Store) 2. Sharing the practice The most effective way to get me on my mat is to do yoga with a buddy. Luckily my husband is always game to practice with me. If you don't have a Yoga buddy, I highly recommend one. There is nothing more powerful than relationships that share a practice of yoga, meditation or any other healthy activity together.
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6 Minutes of Yoga For Busy People {VIDEO}

This article was orginally created Aug 6, 2015. It has since been updated. Yoga is a beautiful practice and lifestyle. When you make time to get on your mat you probably notice that the pace and tone of your day change drastically. I will be spending time next month leading yoga teachers on the first part of a year long journey on Yin Yang Yoga and the 5 Elements (If you are in the area get the info here) and part of our work will be in building a sustainable home practice. Some days however, it isn't possible to take the time needed to do a lengthy yoga practice. In fact, it would be more stressful and taxing to get to a class if you find yourself with a pile of "to-do's" that just can't wait any longer. In my own practice, I used to struggle with busy-ness plus an "all or nothing" mentality. If I couldn't do a full 2-hour practice due to lack of time or energy, I would just skip it. This led to extended periods of time when I desperately needed to practice but didn't. Since then, my tune has changed drastically. Now that I have a little one crawling around my house and about five major projects on the go, I can appreciate that something is better than nothing. On days I feel squeezed for time, I insist on doing a short practice if only to remind myself how much better I feel and function when I commit to unrolling my mat. If you need that same little boost for yourself check out these two videos for inspiration as you build even 6 minutes of yoga into your busier days.
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Get Your Yoga Practice Back On Track (even when life is busy)

It has been a big, busy month in this yogi's life! At the beginning of the month, I completed the 5-day Miracle of Meditation retreat led by my friend Jeff Carreira where I had the opportunity to offer daily yoga classes to the participants. The following weekend, I traveled to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario to celebrate my marriage to the amazing Steve Haase (shameless wedding photo included here). We had a small legal ceremony last fall, but knew it would be more powerful to say our vows and bask in the love of family and friends to make our union official. And boy, was it fun! This week also marks the beginning of my last trimester where I am experiencing the most obscure internal sensations of my life. I can't tell if this little one is practicing her high kicks or somersaults, but she sure is busy! With all of these wonderful things happening, I will also admit it has been a struggle to keep up with my yoga practice. Between traveling, hours of wedding prep, and my belly getting bigger by the day, my personal yoga routine has been reduced and some days even edged out in favour of my "to-do" list or some much needed extra sleep. You have probably experienced this at times in your own life.  First, it is important to recognize that temporary changes in routine happen and you need not beat yourself up if you can't fit in your yoga practice for legitimate reasons. However, if you let your practice slide for too long, you might find yourself in the habit of never making it to your mat at all. How to Make Room For Practice
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Spring Inspiration for the Yogi Body, Mind and Spirit

It has been a while my friends! There has been a big shift in my life (which I will tell you about another time) and it has pulled me away from writing here more regularly, but I have some seriously wonderful goodies in store for you including a brand new audio yoga class. Last month, I gave you tools to get your Spring off to a great start. Now that everything is starting to bloom and the potential of this season is more visible it is the perfect time to embrace and utilize the energy of the Wood element. According to Chinese Medicine, springtime and the Wood element go hand in hand. Just as the branches of a healthy tree continue to grow and spread outwards to see as much of the surrounding landscape as possible, the energy of Wood aids in providing you with greater perspective and a big picture view of the world and your purpose in it. Paired with the excitement of spring, there is a major boost of natural energy available to help you follow through with the greater vision you have for your life. Doesn't that sound great?  Yet with all of this abundant energy, most of us are in a rush to get to summer. I notice the allure of hot summer days spent outside by the pool or on a beach especially on those rainy, cool spring mornings. If you too find yourself looking forward to summer and missing out on the best of spring, here are a few of my favourite ways to connect with and harness the best that this season has to give for your mind, body and spirit.
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How the Union of Yoga and Meditation Opens the Heart of Practice {Guest Blog}

In just one week Jeff Carreira, a man who has taught meditation to thousands of people, will join me and a group of practitioners for a day-long Urban Retreat in Waterdown, Ontario. This is the last small event he is doing before his sold out 5 day retreat this summer where people from all over the world will traveling to spend time on a retreat like no other (I will be there too, leading daily yoga classes). 
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The One and Only Reason I Still Meditate {Podcast}

Most of you know me as a yoga teacher. Whether you have taken my classes and workshops in-person, downloaded one of my audio sessions or practiced yoga with me via our Youtube channel you may not know that meditation has been a part of my daily routine for years. While I wish I could say that meditation is a practice I adore, frankly, it is more like something I endure. I have gone through periods of time where I needed to battle myself just to sit still for a few moments and commit to meditation. There are of course times when I love the practice, but it wouldn't make the cut in a personal rendition of "My Favourite Things". So, why on earth would I continue to do it after all these years? This was part of the discussion I had with Morgan Dix on The OneMind Podcast. If you haven't had the pleasure of listening to Morgan's show yet, you are missing out! He has one of the best podcasts around and his popularity in iTunes is soaring! Besides that, Morgan is a wonderful person with a lot of insight and experience in meditation, so it was a huge honour to be invited on to his show.
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Spring Cleaning: Is Your Nutritional Cleanse Worth It?

When it comes to spring cleaning, many yogis and health conscious people jump on the first juice cleanse or herbal detox they find. But: Are cleanses and detoxes actually good for you? Are they necessary? It makes sense that while you are cleaning out your closet, purging drama and negativity, and creating space for reflection (yoga retreat anyone?) that you would want to make sure your insides are cleaned out too.  In theory this makes total sense, but when it comes to extreme cleansing and detoxing, most people I know are not set up to do it in a way that is truly healthy, and today I want to share with you an alternative to the common cleanse. 
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A Fresh Start For Spring {Guest Blog + A Special Gift}

Now that you have begun to clear the clutter in your physical space and kicked negativity to the curb, a few thoughts may begin to bubble up. Questions on how to best use this new found space arise along with a yearning to hang on to the new sense of clarity in my life. Not surprisingly, I find a renewed commitment to practices that help me to be more conscious of how I use my time and energy. The practices of choice in this neck of the woods are yoga and meditation.  If you have experienced the potential power of the mat or cushion (which is probably why you are here), you know it can change your perspective, embody your awareness and even shift your mood. Both yoga and meditation teach us how to deal with discomfort without running from the room. These practices allow us the opportunity to participate in our own expansion. If you find the secret heart of yoga and meditation, you will also learn how to let go of effort. My friend, international mediation teacher Jeff Carreira was the first person who explained this idea to me in a way that struck a chord. He took meditation, a practice I once thought of as stuffy and stagnant and shaped it in a way that made it an exciting exploration full of possibility. Today I want to share with you Jeff's beautiful perspective (which just happens to be one of the themes in our upcoming Urban Retreat on May 9th in Waterdown, Ontario) along with a guided meditation to inspire you. 
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