Day 27 – Crudessence Yum Yum (Chakra #3)

One-quarter done!!

Wahoo! To celebrate, we had an amazing practice and dinner at Loft Crudessence, which is a gorgeous space overlooking the city skyline. Nice people + nice sunset.

Check out the View!


Be creative + Invite your own surya namaskar

I’m off to a party for more celebrating. This one is in honor of my dear friend Maya’s 30th Birthday.

Ta ta for now ; )

Day 26 – Finding the Creative Flow (Chakra #2)

The hockey madness has settled (a little) and the broken glass along Ste Catherine’s has been swept up, so it’s time to move on to a discussion about creativity and the second chakra…

The creative or sex chakra is situated just above the pubic bone. Its Sanskrit name is ‘Swadhisthana’ and it is associated with the color orange and the mantra ‘VAM. It is responsible for our emotions, sex, reproduction, and creativity. When Swadhisthana is in balance, we are imaginative, creative and have a healthy sex life.

Today, I have two videos for you. One of my friend and artist Jamie Lee talking about his new painting and where creativity comes from. The other video is my sun salutation to energize the creative chakra using its mantra, VAM.

To see more of Jamie’s art, visit his website: www.mythirdeye.info

Other ideas to spark the creative fire…
1- Surround your self with books and images that you like
2- Make an ‘I LIKE’ list of all of your favourite things
3- Go to the museum
4- See Cirque de Soleil LIVE
5- Give yourself space to think: go for a walk alone without music or a cell
6- Take a candle light bath with lavender
7- Stage a bed-in with the one you love
8- Join an artist’s exchange – everyone draws a name and you have to make a piece of
art for person whose name you chose.
9- Check out the websites of cool artists. Here are links to some of the people who
inspire me:

May I ask, who and what inspires you, my friends?

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Surya Namaskar Recipe: The Creative Balancing Salute
VIDEO

(I know, chanting mantras can seem a little nerdy, but it feels really good after. If you are shy, find a quiet place, so you can practice without interruption.)

Day 25 – Go Habs go! (+ Chakra #1)

Montreal has what we call “Habs Fever.” Our hockey team just won Game 7, 5-2 against Pittsburg, which means we are off to the Eastern Conference finals. People are going absolutely crazy. Cars honking, bottles smashing against the pavement, strangers hugging and high-fiving. The main street, Ste Catherine’s, was turned into a pedestrian street in honor of tonight’s game and as much as I’d like to join the fun, I need to be a good yogini and finish my 24 sun sals, do my blog and head to bed early-ish.

(Oh, the sacrifices! Just kidding, I’d, honestly prefer getting to sleep before midnight.)


I watched the second and third period in the McGill ghetto with Craig and his buddies after teaching. It was pretty exciting and sitting with them during the game was truly a cultural experience.

Craig and his ten best friends meet in a basement apartment on Durocher and watch every Canadians game together. It’s really entertaining to watch them react to each pass, whistle and goal. Several of them have “playoff beards” and almost all of them, including my dear boyfriend, are wearing an item of clothing they refuse to wash until the playoffs are over. (Seriously, Craig freaked out thinking I had washed his grey t-shirt, which I didn’t.) They are a great group of characters– an actor, an engineer, a comedian, a musician, several entrepreneurs, a film producer, and a guitar maker. They scream at the TV, threatening throw their beer bottle at the flat screen if the refs make another bad call. They refuse to let their upstairs neighbour in the door, because last time they did, the Habs lost. But the best part is, they do a group prayer together before the game, whereby one of them, this game it was Craig, leads the gang in his rendition of the Lord’s Prayer. Amazing dedication.

Speaking of dedication, it’s DAY 25! I can’t believe it! I’m almost 1/4 of the way through. I thought time would pass slowly, but now it’s really moving fast, and honestly, despite the tough moments I’ve had thus far, I’m really enjoying this experience. My practice and even writing this blog gives me something to look forward to and it’s becoming more and more cathartic for me.

This morning, I got up at about 6:30 am and meditated for about 25 mins before starting my sun salutations. I wanted to get a bunch done early so I could watch hockey with Craig tonight. Like usual, I didn’t feel like changing into “yoga gear,” so this is me in my pajamas practicing in the living room. (I highly recommend yoga in pjs, it’s really comfortable.)


Nevertheless, sun salutations in pjs is not our featured practice for today. Today, I thought we’d continue along the chakra path and tweek the basic sun salutation with the mantra “LAM.”

Surya Namaskar Recipe: Day 25 – The Root Salute


‘LAM’ is the mantra associated with the root chakra or the sacral chakra known as muladhara in Sanskrit. This energy centre corresponds to the color red and rests at the base of the spine or coccyx. It is connected to earthly pleasures and our basic survival. It is in harmony when we feel grounded, secure, and confident. (As we, Montrealers, do now that the Habs beat the two best teams in the NHL.) However, when the root chakra is out of balance, we feel insecure and fearful.

To balance muladhara in a basic sun salutation, like surya namaskar A, repeat the mantra LAM three to ten times while holding downward dog. Alternatively, as mentioned yesterday, you can repeat the mantra throughout the sun salutation every time you exhale, and like with AUM, L – A – M should be held for equal lengths of time.

WHAT IS A CHAKRA, ANYWAY? My definition:


Chakras are powerful energy centers located from the base of the spinal column to the crown of the head. The word “chakra” comes from the Sanskrit word “cakra” meaning wheel or circle. A chakra is often described as a “wheel of light” and each of the chakras has a distinct color and specific functions corresponding to certain organs. When the charkas are in harmony, then the body is in harmony. When the charkas are congested or not functioning optimally, then there is unease and stress in the body.

Day 24: Ommmm….

I would like to discuss Om.

Unlike what most people assume, “Om” or “Aum” is not a word, at least not to me. It’s a vibrational sound that has come to mean peace, balance, harmony, etc., because chanting Om has that effect on the nervous system. It’s a really beautiful practice, to sit and repeat Om. It clears my head (+ helps to relieve headaches) and I always feel amazing afterward.

Anita, my ayurvedic teacher asked me to teach sun salutations to my classmates at the ayurvedic school this morning. I was honored and as it is my 24th day of 108, we did 24 lovely sun salutations (the rest of my 108, I did on my own after school). The group is a mix of yoga teachers and yoga beginners, which can be a challenge to lead, but I think they enjoyed the practice and Anita asked me to teach again soon.

We have been talking a lot about the chakras (energy centres in the body) and the different mantras that help heal the body. Om/Aum is the mantra corresponding to the highest chakra, the crown chakra, located at the top of the head. This energy centre, known in Sanskrit as Sahasara, relates to the integration of spirit and universal wisdom with personality. It is also responsible for the nervous system and our sense of feeling connected.

Our sun salutation for today is a basic Surya Namaskar A with Om-ing.

Surya Namaskar Recipe: Day 24 – The Om Salute


1- Start in Mountain.
2- INHALE, raise arms.
3- EXHALE, fold forward.
4- INHALE, come up half way, long spine.
5- EXHALE, step back into plank and lower, from knees or toes, into chaturanga.
6- INHALE, cobra or updog.
7- EXHALE, downward dog.
8- Holding downward dog, repeat Om/Aum three to five times.
*Start with a deep inhale, and then exhale the AUM slowly. The sound Om/Aum is three parts in one: A – U – M. Each part should be held for equal amounts of time.
9- INHALE, step, walk or jump forwards to the top of your mat. Lengthen the spine.
10- EXHALE, fold.
11-
Press down through your legs, INHALE, and rise up to standing, extending the arms above your head.
12- EXHALE, hands come down in front of your heart.

* You can also Om all the way through the sun salutation (ie every time you exhale).

This is Anita, my teacher. She is so passionate about what she does and she is truly inspiring. She has two ayurvedic clinics, one in the West Island and one in NDG.
This is her website: http://www.ayurvedamtl.com