10 Tips for Exercise and Working out

I get it. It’s not always easy to be consistent with exercise especially when you are on vacation, when times are busy or when you’ve just had a baby… Here are my 10 tips for exercise and working out:

  1. If you don't have gym close by or you are on vacation, this is a great opportunity to get creative!

    If you don’t have gym close by or you are on vacation, this is a great opportunity to get creative!

    Prep the night before – Set out your workout clothes at night before you go to bed and set your alarm for 30-60 mins before you actually have to get up! (See My Miracle Morning Routine)

  2.  Exercise in the morning  – Training first thing gives you a feeling of accomplishment early in the day and a boost of energy. (This said, any time you can squeeze in exercise is good!)
  3. Drink a tall glass of Arbonne Greens Balance + Energy Fizz in the am before your work out. It’s my ‘getting in the zone’ tip!
  4. Have a plan – I have suggested workouts in my 30 Day Program and/ or work a trainer once a month to design a personalized workout for you. I can also help you with this.
  5. Apps – Get Audible & download SoundCloud. I listen to audio books while walking & hiking (and driving and cleaning, etc.) and short motivating podcasts while training at the gym. I also love Spotify’s personal Run Mix that is set to your run tempo and the Run Keeper app to keep me on track.
  6. Focus and get to work – You can do it. Just take small actions everyday. Even if it is only 15-20 mins. This is better then no minutes.
  7. Exercise daily. Even on vacation. You will be happy you did! If you don’t have the ‘perfect gym set up’, bring your yoga mat and be creative.
  8. Hydrate during and after your workout. I especially LOVE the Arbonne Phyto Recovery Formula.

    Darling, it's mostly a mental thing. You may need support to get started or restarted. Yoga now comes naturally, so I can freestyle, but I work with a trainer every month and have a program designed for me.

    Darling, it’s mostly a mental thing. You may need support to get started or restarted. Yoga now comes naturally to me, so I can freestyle, but I still work with a trainer every month to have a strength training program designed for me.

  9. Ideal Workout Plan includes Yoga, Walking & Strength Training + good nutrition – aim to eat 9 cups of veggies a day!
  10. Meditate – Meditation is key to mental & emotional wellbeing. It keeps your stress levels in check and your observation skills sharp, allowing you to notice and appreciate what’s important.

Incorporating new healthy living habits and getting started (or restarted) on your own can be daunting. This is why I created the Lean, Fit & Strong 30 Day Healthy Living online program to coach, mentor and support you. The program combines personal consultations with yoga, fitness, relaxation techniques, nutrition, recipes and more. It’s really complete and designed to help you establish and maintain a daily routine that enhances your life on all levels.

Click here for details about the upcoming 30 Day Program and join my Healthy Living Facebook Group.

 

Related: 

 

Day 108 – Yoga on Facebook Live

It was still dark in Panama when I unrolled my mat and set up my computer on Day 108 (April 18) to lead a yoga practice on Facebook Live. We did 108 sun salutations together online and by the time we finished, the sun was high in sky, Koji was miraculously still sleeping and over 500 people had tuned in!

I am loving doing yoga practice on Facebook Live!  So cool.

I am so happy & grateful I was able to share a yoga practice on Facebook Live this year.

I am so happy & grateful I was able to share a yoga practice on Facebook Live this year.

In various ancestral traditions, and particularly in the yoga tradition, 108 is a sacred number which represents union, spirituality and infinity. The 108th day of the year is the perfect occasion to celebrate this tradition together by joining in a practice of 108 sun salutations. This day is also the anniversary of my 108 days of 108 Sun Salutations. This epic adventure led to becoming the first woman to break the Guinness World Record in 2010 for the Longest Yoga Marathon (32 hours) and raising nearly $15,000 for charity.

(Side note: My Guinness World Record was recently broken by an Indian woman who practiced for almost 60 hours. I just found out and I’m actually pretty happy about this. It’s about time the record was broken and good on her. It’s an unbelievable experience and I am happy to share it. )

This year’s Day 108 practice was really beautiful. Despite being far away, I was so happy to connect with students online via live boardcast. If only this technology had been around in 2010, I might have been able to share my yoga marathon on Facebook Live and maybe we would have raised more funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Isn’t it crazy how fast things change? Who knows, maybe one day, after I’m gone, people will be able to practice yoga with my hologram!

Click here to see the video of the yoga practice on Facebook Live. (I have some technical difficulties, and the video recorded sideways, but I am working on editing.)


 

Timeline of Day 108 Celebrations

2011 - We did 54 Moon Salutations by candle light.

2011 – We did 54 Moon Salutations by candle light.

2010: Yasmin begins a 108 sun salutations for 108 continuous days with the intention to study the yoga practice in the microcosm of surya namaskar. This was life changing.

2011: Yasmin teaches a quiet candlelit practice at her former studio, Om West Holistic Centre in Pointe Claire along with 25 close students. This is also the last day of 54 days of 54 Moon Salutations, her second long practice.

2012: It’s a Leap Year, so Day 108 is on April 17 this year. Yasmin co-leads a smallish but powerful group practice at Lululemon Athletica on St Denis along with several other yoga teachers from around Montreal.

2013: Yasmin organizes a big multi-studio 108 practice connected by video conference. Yasmin is at Studio Wanderlust in Plateau Montreal and there are five other locations around Montreal (Le Studio Wanderlust, Naada Yoga, HappyTree Yoga, Viveka Yoga & H~OM) hosting simultaneous community practices of 108 Sun Salutations.

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2014 – 108 Sun Salutations at Loft108

Yoga teacher David Good also organized a practice in Toronto. Over 30 yoga teachers led sets of Surya Namaskar and we had nearly 200 participants joining us. There are also several online participants tuning in some as far away as Europe and Vancouver!

 

2014: H’OM Yoga Centre and Moksha Yoga NDG join Yasmin and offer yoga mala practices. More than 100 people participate. Gigi Cohen formerly of Café Juicy Lotus caters a delicious dinner for after the yoga practice.

2015: There is a full house at Loft108 for a yoga mala practice led by various Montreal Yoga Teachers, but Yasmin is in Las Vegas for a conference and practices in the dessert with four friends. She sends a greeting video and more than $600 of donations are collected for la Fondation du Dr. Julien, a Montreal-based organism which ensures the development of Social Paediatrics in Community for the benefit of as many children as possible.

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2015 – Yoga in the Nevada Desert

 

 

2016: Yasmin is pregnant with Koji. She offers a recorded 108 Sun Salutation practice for free and encourages students to ‘pay it forward’ by donating to their favourite charity or doing some other random act of kindness.

2017: Yasmin is in Panama and sees an opportunity to connect to her community anyway by offering the yoga practice on Facebook Live. The feed reaches close to 3,000 people and more than 500 tune in. Moksha Yoga NDG in Montreal do their own Day 108 practice. Out in Victoria, British Columbia, Carlo Kuhlenschimdt, Yasmin’s senior student and sometimes teaching assistant, organizes 108 sun salutations for charity.

 

 

Related Articles

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Significance of 108

How to do 108 Sun Salutations

Kutumba Energy: Acroyoga duo

Kutumba Energy is an acroyoga duo based in Montreal comprised of Anna Kowaleski & Jaime Schmidt-Little. They will be teaching at Loft108, so we thought you should get to know them! Cousins Anna & Jaime became hooked on acroyoga after just one class purchased on GroupOn. Originally from Ontario, Kutumba Energy is known for highly creative acroyoga photos on Instagram and their accessible yoga classes for everyone. Coming up, the duo are leading two workshops and a six week acroyoga series at Loft108. (click here for details)

We thought you should get to know Kutumba Energy. Here’s our interview with them:

Cousins Anna (left) & Jaime (right) became close after moving to Montreal.

Cousins Anna (left) & Jaime (right) became close after moving to Montreal.

1- What does Kutumba Energy signify and why did you pick this name?  

Kutumba Energy comes from a Sanskrit expression that we connected with – “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” which means, “the world is one family”. Our family is extremely important to us, and they are the reason we became the people we are today. We wanted to be able to share this feeling of closeness, and safety, and love with the rest of the world – make everyone part of our family! Kutumba means family, so the name literally means Family Energy – which is the vibe we are going for.

 

2- How did you start practicing Acroyoga together?

Anna was looking to reconnect to her yoga practice in 2014 and at the time could only afford to buy a GroupOn pass to a studio near her downtown, and she immediately connected with the teacher, who also taught Acroyoga classes. We went to one Acroyoga class “just to try it out” and became instantly hooked. We’ve been practicing non-stop ever since.

 

3- We know your cousins and close friends, we you always close growing up?

We were somewhat close, but definitely not how we are now. We always lived far apart growing up and only saw each other at family get-togethers. We became extremely close when we both moved to Montreal. As we are the only two members of our family living in Quebec, our relationship is very important to us. We have been very fortunate to also have similar passions and life goals, and to have become not only yoga partners, but business partners as well.

The four pillars of Kutumba Energy are: Communication, Community, Connection & Creativity.

The four pillars of Kutumba Energy are: Communication, Community, Connection & Creativity.

 

4- You have a very cool Instagram account with so many nice photos. What or who inspires you?

Inspiration comes from everywhere! Much of our inspiration comes from other Acroyogis’ social media accounts. It also comes from our many amazing teachers and fellow Acroyogis who we practice with. We also draw inspiration from the beauty of Montreal itself. We’re not from here, and we’re not sure if the novelty will wear off eventually, but the city is just so beautiful!

 

5- Some of your photos look very acrobatic. What would you say the difference is between acrobatics & acroyoga?

We’ve never actually trained in acrobatics, so for us, we can only really speak about it from the Acroyoga standpoint. Acroyoga fuses acrobatics, yoga and Thai yoga massage. Although much of our practice is very energetic, it always incorporates proper technique, alignment and breath, and can also incorporate very relaxing and healing partner/group work. From what we know of acrobatics, it is much more just an emphasis on the aesthetic and the physical acts.

 

6- How do you hope to serve the world through your work? What imprint would you like to leave behind?

For this photoshoot, Anna made sparkly tutus for them to wear. The theme was 'Urban Fairytale'.

For this photoshoot, Anna made sparkly tutus for them to wear. The theme was ‘Urban Fairytale’.

Acroyoga is an amazing tool for helping to get past perceived limitations. Neither of us come from an acrobatic or gymnastic background of any sort and we were amazed at what we could do (in fact it has changed our entire lives!). We also hope to create a sense of family wherever we go and with whomever we meet in our journey, and we believe that through the beautiful practices of yoga and Acroyoga, we can help others to see that at the core, we are all the same and we all belong. By working together and cultivating patience, community, communication, connection and creativity, we can build not only a wonderful Acroyoga practice, but we can also change the world.

 

Acroyoga & Kutumba Energy Events:

Cloud Forest Yoga & Hiking Retreat Panama

Our Cloud Forest Yoga & Hiking Retreat Panama just ended and it was so spectacular. I am thrilled that we are going back for a second Yoga & Hiking Retreat in February. This upcoming retreat will also include a certificate in Ayurveda + Yoga Healing I which can be used as continuing education credits or put towards a 200 or 300 hour yoga teacher training.

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Yoga with hummingbirds

My husband, Arturo and I discovered the Mount Totumas ecolodge about a year ago when we were looking for places of interest near Volcán, a small town near the boarder of Costa Rica where Arturo spent his summers growing up. It took us a couple of attempts to reach Mount Totumas, because to get there requires a 4x4WD vehicle and a lot of patience. It is 10 kms (or 45 mins) on a rocky mountain path into the “Cloud Forest“.  When we finally arrived, we were blown away about its beauty and remote tranquility. We knew in an instant that we wanted to host a Yoga & Hiking Retreat here.

Perched high in the mountains boarding La Amistad National Park, Mount Totumas ecolodge sits 6,300 ft above sea level at the foothills of myriad hiking and nature paths. We trekked through first and second generation rainforests, to waterfalls, hot springs, highland pastures and a coffee orchard. The air is fresh and when the clouds part at night, the sky is a blaze with stars that actually twinkle. It is an idealic setting for a retreat.

Our group arrived on Friday Nov. 26, just days after the tropical storm/ hurricane Otto ripped through Panama causing torrential rains, landslide and school closures across the country. Panama doesn’t get hurricanes, so this was historic.

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What a joy to hike with Koji! He was a trooper!

We drove in convoy along the above mentioned 4x4WD road and as we approached the second of two rivers, it was clear that our CRV would not make it across the swollen waters. So we left it on the side of the road and squeezed into the other vehicles (baby Koji too!) more equipped for deep water. The journey was a nice little adventure and the challenging drive on the mountain road made us feel all that much more removed from the civilized chaos of our daily lives.

Because we arrived at the end of a hurricane and in last days of rainy season, most mornings were clear and sunny. The clouds and rains moved in just after lunch, which made napping and restorative yoga practices all that much more peaceful.

Our Cloud Forest Yoga & Hiking Retreat Panama days looked like this, although the timing of activities was flexible :

  • 7:00 am Wake up, tea, greens and/or fresh locally grown coffee – coffee is the hidden gem of Panama, artisanal and incredible;
  • 7:30 – 8:45 am  Meditation & Yoga flow practice overlooking the rainforest canopy – we frequently stopped to observe exotic birds and monkeys playing in nearby trees;

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    Ayurveda Yoga Flow practices are for everyone.

  • 9:00 am Breakfast of pancakes, oatmeal, eggs or granola;
  • 9:30 / 10 am Departure for hiking – slow trek, pausing to observe and appreciate the miraculous nature surrounding us;
  • 12:30 / 1 pm  Lunch of homemade soup and corn bread or tortillas;
  • 1:30 – 3:00 pm Free time – napping, reading, colouring, day dreaming, etc.;
  • 3:00 – 4:30 pm Yoga practice – restorative, long hold poses, myo-fascial release work, breathing exercises and/or partner yoga, all workshop style;
  • 4:30- 5:30 pm Hummingbird Happy Hour – hummingbirds are very active at this time, so we watched up to 17 different species of hummingbirds swarm around 6+ feeders on the “hummingbird deck”. These little birds are so active that feeders need to be refilled twice daily! 
  • 5:30 – 7:00 pm Late afternoon session – journaling, ayurveda workshop, discussion or free time;
  • 7:00 pm Dinner – delicious fresh meals that catered to all tastes and diets: curries (chicken or veg), lasagna, ratatouille, fish, etc.
  • 8:00 pm Evenings – free time, insect observation (amazing bugs!), movie night, spa night, or discussions;
    + usually an early bedtime around 10pm.

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    Homemade meals made with love.

The owners of Mount Totumas were fantastic. Alma created superb restaurant quality meals for us and made us all feel at home. Jeffrey has a background in biology and ecology and generously shared his knowledge, passion and excitement for birds, flowers, plants, monkeys, etc. with us during our hikes. In short, being at Mount Totumas was amazing experience, kind of like walking through the pages of National Geographic magazine.

 

Here are some of the highlights shared by the group since the retreat:

Seeing three species of monkeys: Howler monkeys, spider monkeys and capuchin monkeys. The spider monkeys are acrobatic and followed us throughout one of our hikes. 

The natural hot springs were so soothing.

The amazing food clearly made with love.

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A natural spa! Hot springs and cool river water!

Seeing how coffee is grown, harvested, roasted was really cool and so was tasting it!

Having a chance to concentrate on developing and deepening a daily yoga and meditation practice in nature.

Spending time with like-minded individuals and getting to know people for who they truly are.

For me, being able to teach, share what I love, spend time and have my husband, parents and baby join me on this adventurous Cloud Forest Yoga & Hiking Retreat Panama.

 

 

Thank you to all participants, to my adventurous husband and to my amazing teaching assistant Carlo Kuhlenschimdt, whose thai yoga massage techniques were appreciated by all.

The best part is that we have another Cloud Forest Yoga & Hiking Retreat Panama Feb. 25 – Mar 3.  Would you like to join us?

 

Myofascial release with foam roller

Introduction 

Please meet Amanda Roemer, an expert in myofascial release with foam roller and balls. She is also wonderful yoga teacher, hockey player, specialized kinesiologist and recent 500 hour graduate of my yoga teacher training. Amanda gave a workshop on myofascial and trigger point releasing at Loft108, my studio in Old Montreal, Sunday May 1, 2016.

Here is here’s her article on the subject:

Self myofascial release with foam roller 

In 2008 after several hockey and sports related injuries, I began to search for something to compliment my yoga practice and release the restricted areas of my body. I started experimenting with self-massage and release techniques using a foam roller. The results were immediate. I could get rid of headaches, body pain, joint pain, sleep better and had more energy! It was amazing. I started to teach this technique to my post-rehabilitation clients, my athletes, and blended it with Yoga years ago. It was very well received! It became a part of my own practice, my life, and a way to help people. I have now been teaching this technique ever since. Below is a brief description of what Myofascial and Trigger Point Releasing is and some of my favorite releases!

What is facia?

The main tissues in our body that are affected when doing these release techniques are fascia and muscles. Fascia is a dynamic and interactive tissue because it will change depending on what you do…or don’t do. One function of muscle fascia is to reduce friction of muscular force. Fascia is compromised when circulation to an area is reduced. Adhesions or ‘ knots’ can form as the ‘fibres’ of the tissues stick or clot together. Trigger points are portions of muscle where there is a small involuntary contraction that will feel like a ‘knot’ and is painful when pressure is applied. Trigger points weaken muscles because they can no longer relax and will stress the points where they attach to bone causing joint pain.


Self myofascial release and trigger point releasing is a simple way to restore normal function back into tissues. By applying slow moderate pressure you force-feed blood/oxygen to the muscles creating heat and separation of muscle fibers, which increases elasticity and relieves pain significantly! Here are some of favorite release exercises.

Hips (Piriformis) HipRoll

Target the area just above the boney part of your butt. Begin sitting on the roller with foot crossed over opposite knee. Pull the knee toward the opposite shoulder so you can target the belly of the muscle. You can also use a ball in the hip area and move the leg by bending the knee and moving the leg outwards and then inwards repeatedly.

Benefits: Sciatica relief, reduce pain in the lower back and buttocks, improved range of motion and rotation of the leg and hip.

 

 

Lateral thigh and hipQuadITRoll3

this can be painful for some people and can take a few months get on top of the tension in this area. Use a softer rolling tool to start. Roll back and forth slowly with deep breaths. Do smaller movements over any area that feels tight. Roll the area just in front and just behind the IT band. This would be equivalent to rolling just in front and just behind the side-seam of your pants.

This can be more effective because you are now addressing the quadriceps tissue that is also tight and binds to the IT band. Use your top leg and supporting arm to adjust the amount of pressure on your thigh.

 

Spine Middle and upper back

SpineRoll2

Roll along the spine from your kidneys (no lower than your belly button), to your upper back. Roll back and forth slowly with deep breaths. Do smaller movements over any area that feels tight. It’s normal to feel pops and cracks! Complimentary Posture – back bends will feel better after this release due to opening of the middle and upper back where back bending is often restricted.

 

 

 

If you missed Amanda’s workshop on Muscle tension release & Foam Roller May 1, you may want to check out Dawn Mauricio’s Therapy Ball Rolling Workshop coming up in June!

Date:  June 19, 2016,  2-4pm
Address:  Loft 108, 377 St Paul Street W, #200, Montreal, QC

Related:

Postures for Freedom

This post features six fantastic yoga postures for freedom: They increase mobility of the spine, open your heart area, enhance breathing and improve postural alignment.  These poses are also highly beneficial for people with asthma.

The inspiration for this piece came from watching a video about artist Anthony Howe, who makes incredible sculptures that dance in the wind.** (see the video) Watching the organic movement of the sculptures recalled the sense of freedom I experienced in yoga. The ebb & flow of the wind through the sculptures made me think of natural expansion of the breath within the body. A euphoric feeling, I imagine one experiences also in dance, music and other forms of intuitive movement. To move and to breathe is so liberating. This feeling inspired me to pull out my mat this morning, which I am grateful for as I have had little desire to practice asana of late. (I will explain why in a future post.)

Here are six descriptive ‘infographs’ of these postures for freedom — open your heart, expand your breath and facilitate an abundant flow of energy:

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This posture is great as opening or closing pose and note that you can also have your legs extended.

You may want to do your first cobras gradually to open the front body: Starting slowly, inhale lift the chest, exhale release and then repeat 3-5 time each going a little deeper.

You may want to do your first cobras gradually to open the front body: Starting slowly, inhale lift the chest, exhale release and then repeat 3-5 time each going a little deeper.

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Often this posture only focuses on balancing. Make this version about Heart Opening.

 

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Best to keep your dristhi (gaze) at the tip of your nose in this posture.

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I suggest doing this asana 3-6 times in different stages.

You are, of course, welcome and encouraged and incorporate other yoga poses into this sequence.  However, I recommend that if you are going to do a chest / heart opening and back bending practice that you save forward bend until the end.  In fact, it might feel nice to finish in balasana (child’s pose) or some other supported forward bend. Follow your intuition and enjoy your practice!

** Thank you to yoga teacher Kreg Wise for sharing Anthony Howe’s video on his inspirational facebook page

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Yoga for Immunity & Seasonal Affective Disorder

Spring may be on the distant horizon, but seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter blues or winter depression affects a lot of people in the Northern hemisphere at this time of year. In this post, I propose a yoga practice to boost immunity and uplift this seasonal affective disorder.

But first, what is this condition? According to the definition on Wikipedia:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression,winter blues, summer depression, summertime sadness,* or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer.

* I might be naive, but I don’t think summer depression exists in Montreal…

The sequence below focuses on opening the chest to clear congestion and stretching the abdomen to warm up and support agni (the digestive fire). This practice is also beneficial for stress management and when a gentle energy boost is needed.

YASMIN’S SLOW FLOW YOGA FOR IMMUNITY & SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
(This practice is approximately 60 mins in length, but can be decreased to 45mins or increased to 75-90 mins)

GET A PERSONALIZED PROGRAM: I also offer ayurvedic consultations whereby you will receive a personalized program to help you improve your digestion, boost your immunity, increase your energy and address any other health goals you may have. Contact me to book an appointment: yfgow @ yasminyoga.com

GET A PERSONALIZED PROGRAM: I also offer consultations for ayurveda whereby you will receive a personalized program to help you improve your digestion, boost your immunity, increase your energy and address any other health goals you may have. Contact me to book an appointment: yfgow@yasminyoga.com

OPENING & PRANAYAMA

  • Pawan Muktasana / Wind Releasing – Knee to chest – Begin reclined on back. INHALE and stretch arms overhead. EXHALE and pull RT knee to chest. Then repeat on LT side. (3-5x – can also try bringing both knees into chest);
  • Twist side to side – reclined: Exhale, twist knees to side; inhale, knees to centre (repeat);
  • Virasana / hero’s pose – breathing – alternate nostril breathing & kapalabhati (click here for pdf of how to);
  • Virasana – side stretching: Inhale, sit tall & extend RT arm in the air; Exhale, side bend to LT; Repeat 3-5x each side.

OPENING FLOW

  • Cat / Cow to Downward Dog:  Starting in Ddog, Inhale, lift heels; Exhale, knees to floor – back rounded; Inhale, arch back – cow pose; Exhale, ddog; Repeat 3-5x;
  • Surya Namaskar with low lunges  (Hatha Salutation) 2-4x;
  • Surya Namaskar A 4-6x;
  • Surya Namaskar B   3x (optional).
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Natarajasana / Dancer

STANDING POSES (5-8 breaths each side – start on RT side)

  • Windmill – Stand with feet wide apart and rotate torso right to left; Arms relaxed; Use momentum to loosen;
  • Trikonasana / Triangle;
  • Parsvakonasana / Side Angle;
  • Pavritta Parsvakonasana / Side Angle twist;
  • Natarajasana / Dancer.

SEATED POSES & BACK BENDS (5-8 breaths each)

  • Malasana / Garland pose – Low squat;
  • Bakasana / Crow (optional);
  • Navasana / Boat pose: 2-3x;
  • Purvottasana / Inverted plank pose or Fish pose;
  • Plank: On elbows or hands – 30-45 seconds or 6-10 slow breaths;
  • Shalabasana / locust;

    Dhanurasana / Bow

    Dhanurasana / Bow

  • Dhanurasana / bow or half-bow;
  • Ustrasana / Camel.

CLOSING 

  • Setu bandasana / Bridge;
  • Urdhva dhanurasana / wheel (optional)
  • Supported inversion
  • Ananda Balasana / Happy Baby Pose
  • Balasana / Child’s pose or forward bend of choice
  • Suktasana / easy cross
  • Savasana or restorative pose of choice (5 – 15 mins)
  • Meditation (optional);

    Balasana / Child's pose

    Balasana / Child’s pose

  • Om

SUPER LOW ENERGY?

A restorative practice is preferred when energy is low and the flu is starting to take over. Do long hold poses supported by props for 3-6 mins each. Meditation and pranayama is also good during this time. (Side note: It is not recommended to practice yoga if you have a fever.)

 

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Black Light Yoga & Dance

Music pumping, neon body paint and glow sticks may seem more fitting for a night club or after hours party than a yoga studio, but this was the setting for Bouge Yoga O’Neon, my black light yoga and dance event held recently at Yasmin Yoga Loft (YYL) in Old Montreal with DJ FREEFLY. What could have been just a yoga practice with cool lighting became a magical, powerful and therapeutic practice.

YYL had hosted a black light event for yoga teacher Lauren Rudick last year, but impetus for Bouge Yoga O’Neon arose when the organizers of the Wanderlust Tremblant asked me to lead a yoga dance party with black lights during their August Festival. Without hesitation, I said yes and I spent several months contemplating how to make this an experience that was fun and also meaningful and purposeful.

Given my background in Ayurveda, I designed the practice in five ‘chapters’ corresponding to the elements and their qualities — Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Space. I also worked with the DJ so that the music would follow the energy of each element. I suggested an intention and loosely guided the first part of each section leaving space for participants to interpret the music and movements themselves. The event ended with a free flow of dance and final relaxation.

Bouge Yoga O’Neon at Wanderlust Tremblant sold out weeks before the festival. It was a blast. We had over 100 participants and the practice was even more powerful than I expected. The lighting, the music, the body paint (yes, we had a body paint station) along with the carefully arranged sequence created an environment for people to loosen up and be playful. As result, the atmosphere was light, joyful and full of community spirit. There was also a palatable authenticity in the room.

With this in mind, we (the team & I) decided to offer this event at the Loft. And it was no less spectacular.

The studio was decorated with black lights, of course, and dozens of glowing neon stars. Doors opened at 6pm. We had a table of brushes and non-toxic, water based glow paint, allowing guests to be creative and paint themselves and each other. This was a great ice breaker.

The practice was about 90 mins and as one yoga teacher present said, “I couldn’t wait to get the yoga part over with so we could dance.”  And we did. DJ FREEFLY was fantastic and the vibe in the room was electric.

After enjoying a post-practice spread of fruit, Roo Bars and Cocos Pure coconut water, people left with big smiles.

Much gratitude to RooBar, Cocos Pure, DJ FREEFLY (aka Marcel Capito), Carlo Kuhlenschimdt, Chrissy Skerritt, Kelly David, Amanda Roemer and the rest of our YYL family for their efforts in making this event a success and thank you guests! Your energy and enthusiasm were invaluable.

Be sure to view our events calendar to see what other interesting workshops are coming up at YYL.  See more photos of the event on our facebook page.

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Words from some of the participants:

The Bouge Yoga O’Neon event at Yasmin Yoga Loft was amazing! This is the kind of yoga event that you do not want to miss! It loosens up the body, and mind and let’s you express yourself however you’re feeling in the moment. Yasmin’s vision for the class is inspiring, and while we travel through the 5 elements, you begin to really feel and understand each of them. I would attend this event 1000 times, and it would never lose its excitement.    – Jaime Schmidt-Little

Yasmin’s imaginative Black Light – Yoga Bouge O’Neon event – with the electrifying beat moving the crowd through the yoga poses to the peak with everyone free flow dancing under the magical black light and fluorescent stars was fantastical and transformative for me.  – Tessa

What an amazing sensorial and social experience! A playground for yoga; Body paint, neon lights, falling shooting stars and the most uplifting yoga instruction. Came in feeling tensed and left feeling uplifted and inspired! Black light yoga won over my salsa night.  – Vanesa
What a magical evening! The loft was filled with this terrific positive energy from all the participants, the amazing music and lighting and that energetic practice, not to mention the dancing! I still feel lifted up by the whole event. Thank you Yasmin, and my gratitude to DJ Freefly for that awesome set. Namaste. – Bruce

If you weren’t able to make it to the Yasmin Yoga Loft for Bouge Yoga O’neon, make sure you don’t miss the next one! The blacklight class, guided by Yasmin with the beats of DJ Freefly, was a great yoga dance party. Yasmin incorporated ayurvedic elements into the practice that made it quite special. There was an amazing energy in the room from all that attended!  – Kelly

 

Why Practice Yoga

Why practice yoga is a question that comes up often for me. In fact, I consider the purpose of my practice every time I step onto my mat. I set clear intentions before every personal practice and every class I teach. This keeps me focused, present and motivated. Ayurveda also has a huge influence on my ability to see the big picture and understand the vast impact my yoga practice has not only on my life, but on the environment around me.

I had the honour of speaking at the opening of the Montreal Yoga Festival 2015 about the Purpose of Practice.  Being an ayurvedic practitioner, I talked about the five elements and how they relate to the subject “why practice yoga”.

Below is a link to the 45 min recording of my bilingual talk and here is a short summary about why practice yoga:

In ayurveda, we believe that everything is composed of the five elements and the qualities that these elements embody. These elements — Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Space– also relate to the first five chakras and their functions.

  • EARTH is our foundation, our roots and history. It’s also connected to the first chakra, to stability, strength, stamina and survival.
  • WATER is fluidity, connection, balance and the ripple effect our practice has on everyone and everything around us. Associated with the second chakra, it is also the intimacy we have with ourselves and others. I also believe that our teachers’ guidance is like the water that nourishes our practice and our soul.
  • FIRE is our discipline and our passion for the practice. Related to the solar plexus or third chakra, it is our emotional power that motivates us and gives us courage to overcome challenges, because we know that challenges are inevitable in life. Fire is also the force of transformation and the light that dissolves the darkness within us and around us.
  • AIR is our breath and our life force. It brings lightness, flexibility and mobility into our practice. Air is associated with the heart chakra and the energy of compassion, forgiveness, love, self-love and letting go. Our breath carries us into the present moment and centres us.
  • SPACE is what is created in our body, mind and soul when all the other elements come together. Space is also the perspective needed for us to ‘think outside the box’ and act from a higher state of  inner consciousness. Related to the throat chakra, the qualities of this element also allow us to speak and act mindfully contributing to a more harmonious outer environment.

Understanding the nature of these five elements,  I understand that my yoga practice is not only about me. My practice has a far greater purpose and a far reaching effect. Yoga is about what I contribute to this world when I am in a state of happiness and health. It’s about all beings everywhere.

Click here to download the full audio recording. (48 mins)

 

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

What’s my dosha?

Balancing the chakras

Guinness Book of World Records 2015

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The 60th Anniversary edition

Did you or someone you know receive the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records over the Holidays? If yes, go grab it and turn to page 106… Now, look at the top right of the page and you’ll find me. Well, not my photo, but you’ll find my name…  :)

Yes! For the first time ever, my 32 hour Guinness World Record for the longest yoga marathon achieved in Aug. 2010 was published in The Book!  And not just any GBWR, the 60th anniversary edition! I found out on Boxing Day, when my friend sent me a photo text from the Book a young relative of his got as a Christmas present. I was stunned.

 

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My Record for the longest yoga marathon is on pg 106

Turns out, the editors of GBWR don’t necessarily publish all the records from the previous year, so my Record never made it in before. I had my certificate and was listed on the Guinness website, but it feels different now that it’s officially in The Book. The little kid inside me that was blown away by crazy World Records she read about in elementary school, thinks that being published in this book is pretty damn cool.

 

 

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My cousin Alex Fudakowska’s Guinness World Record is also published pg 148

 

 

AND what makes this even more special is that my cousin, Alexandra Fudakowska from London, UK, also has a Record published in the same 2015 GBWR edition! In April 2009, she co-organized and played in the ‘Highest-altitude cricket match’ at the Gorak  Shep plateau near Mount Everest. The game was played at 5,164 m above sea level.  (This entry is on page 148 of The Book, if you want to find it.)

I know, what a family!  :)

 

 

I am forever grateful for this experience and for all the amazing people who came together to make my yoga marathon possible. Those 32 hours remain among the most powerful, transformational moments of my life. Breaking that record is when I truly realized that life is magical and we all have potential to tap into a rich power that can stretch us beyond expectations.

 

Related: 

I’ve done it longer than anyone – Elephant Journal Aug 2012

How the yoga marathon happened – Aug 2010