Organic Abundance & Seasonal Delicacies
Date Added: July 19, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living Seasonally & Locally
The Shanti garden is in full bloom …especially those zucchini and cucumbers crawlers (They sure know how to make themselves at home!) Just this week we harvested rainbow Swiss chard, zucchini and garlic scapes from the mandala garden. From the HugelKulture, we harvested peas, beet greens, green and purple beans, a few cherry tomatoes (a gift from the God’s), cucumbers, and a few different kale varieties.
The Shanti kitchen is getting creative with all of this fresh, organic and seasonal produce. We made our favorite beet dip (recipe is in Shanti at Home cookbook) with fresh herbs from the garden. The vibrant color of this dip is almost as hard to believe as the amazing taste.
We also experimented with a new phyllo recipe (inspired by closet cooking) instead of our usual Zucchini and Feta Pie with spelt crust. It’s full of fresh herbs and a combo of Shanti zucchini and local Wolfe Island ones from Okee’s farm.
Okee’s Farm has also been providing us with salad greens (since May 1st!), snap peas, beets, cherry tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and more!
We have even been sprouting mung beans here in the Shanti Kitchen and making basil-garlic scape pesto at least once a day:) Why would we do that, you may wonder? Because we can…and we LOVE it!!!
Asana of the Week with Wendy & Darin: Child’s pose
Date Added: June 18, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Balasana, also known as child’s pose, is a resting/restorative pose practiced
in the fetal position. It is a wonderful counter pose for backbends. The name is
derived from the Sanskrit words “bala” and “asana”, which translate to “child” and
“pose”. Its main focus is the thighs, although it’s also useful in relieving back,
shoulder, neck, and hip strain. When performed with an open mind Balasana
can induce a great sense of physical, mental and emotional relief.
The Benefits of Child’s Pose:
• Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
• Recommended if you have dizziness or fatigue
• Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
• Compresses the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple
• It lengthens and stretches the spine
• Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and
• It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
• Normalizes circulation throughout the body
• It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
• Calms the mind and body
• Encourages strong and steady breathing
About the Authors
Darin and Wendy have been studying, practicing and living yoga for more than 20 years. Their desire to explore this ancient philosophy has taken them on many journeys around the globe. Both are trained in classical Hatha yoga, in the Sivananda tradition, and have studied extensively a form of energy and chakra yoga, Agama Yoga, in southern Thailand www.agamayoga.com. Their daily Spiritual Heart (Hridaya) meditation practice follows Ramana Maharshi’s Self Inquiry Method. During the winter season they take the opportunity to deepen their practice by participating in 10 day silent medition retreats in Mazunte, Mexico at Hridaya Yoga School www.hridaya-yoga.com . – See more at: http://www.shantiretreat.ca/2014/04/#sthash.baitU7KM.dpuf
Asana of the Week with Loren Crawford: Pigeon
Date Added: June 16, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Pigeon pose has many permutations, ranging from a full resting version (pigeons get tired too!) to a big bold back bend. This bound version has always made me feel open and creative. Having long limbs helps with finding some of these deeper binds.
My word of caution when doing any deep back bend is to a) not do too many as they can over stimulate the adrenals, and b) make sure you are stable in your pelvis and lumbar – especially those of you who are very flexible (it is easy to compress vertebrae and over years of doing this quite literally cause deterioration). Be happy, proud (and safe) in pigeon!
About the Author
Asana of the Week with Lacey Budge: Sirshasana
Date Added: June 9, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Headstand (Sirshasana): a whole new way of seeing the world!
Headstand, and inversions in general, are seen as one of the most important groups of asanas. Performing headstand includes many physical and energetic or pranic benefits.
As humans beings, we spend so much time standing on our feet, so when performing headstand, we begin to reverse the effects of gravity on our body. On a physical level, the inversion increases blood flow from the lower extremities of the body (feet) to the higher ones (brain). This increases the amount of oxygen that is being delivered to the brain and stimulates glands (pituitary and hypothalamus glands) important for mood, energy levels and overall well-being. As an extra bonus, this all happens with little effort from the heart which is so designed to pump blood upward to the brain.
Headstand also improves circulation and digestion and strengthens the arms and upper body. Headstand can cultivate a greater sense of self-confidence when practiced regularly.
On an energetic level, as energy and life force is carried from the lower chakras to the higher chakras, a sense of clarity and concentration may follow. This is also a great way to bring energy from the lower parts of our being, to the heart, third eye and crown. When headstand is held for longer duration (3-5 minutes), you may begin to experience deep sense of stillness and calming of the mind.
About the Author
Lacey teaches yoga at Shanti Retreat for programs such as mid-week getaway, Sunday Cycle and Stretch as well as Spa and Detox Days. She is traditionally trained in the Sivananda yoga style, yet draws upon various styles and includes teachings from inspiring instructors during her classes.
Asana of the Week with Ichih Wang: Side Crow
Date Added: June 2, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
As one seeks balance, imbalance is just right around the corner. The very thing we seek is also seeking us. Let’s face it, who isn’t seeking more balance?
Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) is a dynamic and liberating pose improving physical and mental concentration. It may look advanced, but it’s relatively easy to do once you get your balance. The posture will strengthen the arms, wrists and abdominal muscles, improving digestion. The key to securing your balance, is to lower your forehead gaze and transfer your weight onto your hands as you lift your feet of the floor simultaneously. Modify the pose by using both elbows as leverage for a hip and knee as I have done here in the photo. It’s fun to practice, requires focus ~ Give it a try and let me know how you do.
About the Author
Ichih Wang is a Yoga Teacher, and a Yoga Life Coach based in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Ichih Wang. She has been around the world 3 times and visited over 60 countries, lived on 3 continents and 4 cities as a search to connect and be a student of life. Her life travels and training experiences are infused in her yoga and life teachings, connecting people to their own abundant possibilities. She is known for her inspirational style of yoga teaching that incorporates both eastern spiritual philosophy and western techniques for mind (mental), body (physical) and spiritual life transformation.You can find Ichih Wang’s workshops and retreat information on www.LiveLifeYoga.com
Asana of the Week: Ayurveda..Springtime and side bends with Mona Warner
Date Added: May 28, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Sidebends to eliminate kapha dosha
According to Ayurveda, spring time is an ideal time to move the accumulation of the water element (kapha dosha) out of our systems. Kapha accumulates in the winter, leaving us feeling heavy, dense, cold and sticky (like mucous). The primary site of accumulation of Kapha dosha is in the lungs. From an asana perspective, we need to warm things up to liquify kapha, and so I have found flowing side-bends followed by gentle inversions to be great.
The following side bend sequence includes a flow to generate heat and liquify kapha dosha, side bends to open through the ribs and lungs, as well as a gentle inversion to allow for the physical and energetic elimination of kapha.
Start standing in mountain pose (feet a comfortable distance apart):
- stack your bones,
- ground into the earth through your feet to lengthen your spine to the sky, and
- stack your head on your neck.
As you inhale (breathe in) flow your right arm out to the right and up to the sky. As you exhale (breathe out) keep your feet grounded as your right arm moves over your head and your torso bends to the left side. Once you get to the place in the side bend where you cannot keep going, bend your knees slightly, allow your right shoulder to come forward of the left one, and circle your right arm down towards the floor and all the way back up to mountain with one arm over heard.
Repeat this flow 5 to 10 times. Then repeat this same flow to the other side.
When you are done, notice if there’s a difference in how you feel in your body-mind – heavier or lighter? colder or warmer? dense or liquid/fluid? sticky or clear?
About the Author
Mona Warner is the founder of Janati Yoga School in Kingston, Ontario. She is a teacher of yoga and ayurveda and offers a light yet profound approach to yoga…Did we mention she is hilarious…and everyone loves her! Mona feels everyone has their own path to walk – and they won’t all be the same. This is where cultivating open-mindedness is really helpful (or at least it has been to me). I do not believe in “one way” for every body… I believe in helping every body to find THEIR way – be in in yoga, Ayurveda or life.
Asana of the Week with Andrea Robertson: Grasshopper pose
Date Added: May 14, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Grasshopper pose with Andrea Robertson
A massive power pose, grasshopper has it all. It’s a twisting, arm-balancing, hip-opening, and major arm-strengthening pose all in one!
I just finished leading a group of 22 amazing women this past weekend for a Women’s Wellness Retreat at Shanti. I am still feeling the effects from the weekend, the awakening felt from all as we grew strength from one another, shared joy, laughter and much needed moments of stillness. I feel complete gratitude toward the Shanti family and the outstanding group of strong women who attended the retreat.
My featured pose is called Grasshopper, a strong pose intended to open the hips, spine and draw strength from the core and upper body. Grasshoppers are seen as symbols of good luck and happiness, it is seen as a sign of nobility. Grasshopper’s have a knack for seeking out warmth and light and knowing just when to jump so they can be symbols of knowing when to trust yourself and take a chance that will propel you forward. Another feature of a grasshopper is that they have an organ in their front legs that let allow them to locate things by sound vibration, which would be another metaphor for listening to your inner voice. Try a new venture, take a leap and jump forward, grow and embrace change.
About the Author
Andrea Robertson, founder of Body and Balance, provides group and personal fitness plans, group and private yoga classes, and she teaches and trains at numerous locations around the city of Ottawa. Andrea offers several retreats a year in Canada at Shanti Retreat and around the world.
Banana Walnut Oat Muffins – a result of too many ripe bananas!
Date Added: April 26, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living
By Lacey Budge
I love being creative in the kitchen especially when it means turning leftovers into a new masterpiece or experimenting with recipes when you really have to use something up. In my case today, it was too many bananas. I made muffins, banana chips in the dehydrator and froze the rest in freezer bags to have on hand for smoothies. My inspiration came from a recipe in the cookbook, Refresh, but as always, I felt the need to add my own touch!
This recipe is delicious, made with organic spelt flour and has no sugar- sweetened with dates and bananas. I also love the crunch of the walnuts.
1 cup dates
6 ripe bananas, blended
2 cups rolled oats
4 cups spelt flour
3 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 F. Coat muffin tins with coconut oil.
Soak dates in 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Blend dates with water until smooth. Add bananas with up to 2 cups of water, blend until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a sauce pan, on low heat, melt coconut oil if required. In a separate bowl, combine oil, apple sauce, vanilla and banana-date puree.
Add wet ingredients to dry as well as the walnuts. Mix until flour is just combined.
Scoop 1/2 cup of batter per muffin into the tray. I like to place a walnut on top of each muffin as a nice treat (and decoration).
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (the best test!). Cool for 10 minutes.
Best enjoyed straight out of the oven as an afternoon snack or in the morning for breakfast with some almond butter.
About the Author
Lacey is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga instructor and manager at Shanti Retreat, located on beautiful Wolfe Island. She is always looking for unique, wholesome and creative recipes for the Shanti menu. Lacey loves all things food including experimenting with raw food, seeking out local ingredients, spending time harvesting in the garden and of course sharing food with others. Any meal prepared with love is a good one!
Get inspired (And meditate) outdoors! By Lacey Budge
Date Added: April 20, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living Seasonally & Locally
First bike ride of the year…and wow, did it feel amazing. As the snow melts and the days get longer, it’s so hard to stay inside. I think it’s natural for us to want to get outside and explore after being indoors all winter. It’s so important for our body and mind, to spend as much time as we can getting fresh air and sunshine (Hello Vitamin D…although I was biking as the sun was setting, I was taking in every ray I could!).
Get outside! Go for a walk, a bike ride, spend time in your garden or just sit outside…you will feel refreshed and more present. Do yourself a favor and keep the music and headphones at home. Use this time outdoors as a meditation. You don’t need to be sitting cross-legged in order to meditate. Just become more aware, present and still. You can do this by counting your breath and becoming fully aware of the sensations that you feel with each inhale and exhale as you walk or pedal.
You could also become aware of all the sounds around, really listen to the sound of the birds or the trees cracking…feel the the wind on your face and hands, and take it all in. Smell the scents that come with Spring, this time of transformation and revitalization.
In this case….you may not want to take in ALL the smells..or actually … maybe you do, become present with everything as it is, without trying to change the situation (I mean, nature is perfect).
Without getting too distracted, take in the scenery and stay present…you will never know what you may see… Look an owl!
Ok you got me, it’s not real, but at least I was mindful enough to notice it..right?
With Spring officially here (going by the weather, not the calendar), there is so much to see, smell and feel when we are spending time in nature. Being outside automatically lifts the spirit and this bike ride sure did inspire me. I never went out with the intention of taking a bike ride so I could blog about it, but it just felt so amazing and rejuvenating that I wanted to share and inspire people to get outside and get moving…that’s why we were given this physical body! Try to create a mind-body experience by bringing your meditation outdoors and truly feeling the connection, the oneness,
About the Author
Lacey is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga instructor and manager at Shanti Retreat, located on beautiful Wolfe Island. She loves being outdoors, spending time in nature, exploring the island by bike… and taking in the rays of the sun! Being outside inspires her and allows her to feel more connected with the Universal Energy that surrounds us all.
Turn your Asana into an AH-HAsana with Blissalicious Retreats
Date Added: April 14, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga
Turning your asana into your AH-HAsana! By Zak and Josie
In Sanskrit an asana is defined as a body position or series of positions that are done in Meditation and moving asanas encompass coming into the pose, holding the pose and getting out of the pose.
During meditative asana, the position is held longer than in a moving asana.
Without the mind, body and spirit involvement an asana feels “just” and I emphasize “just” feels like an exercise. When we involve the spirit it becomes an awakening! What does it look like when our mind, body, spirit is connected through our asana? When we come into the pose or stretch it can feel easy, fresh and new or it can be uncomfortable in many different unsettling ways.
Why is this? As we hold the position, we allow time to be in stillness and we begin to delve into layers of different areas within ourselves, within our soul and our ego. When we learn to accept, we let go!
When we experience our AH HAsana it can be in the form of an old wound, an emotion or a realization. Whatever it is we are holding onto we awaken and we deal with it. Once we lift the veil we realize what is blocking us from acquiring our true bliss. When we rid of the dark, we allow light to radiate within us. This feeling may resonate when we come out of the pose until we decide to let it go. Once we fully let it go we are able to taste, to feel the sweetness of our true essence, our true self and we feel bliss!!
At our Blissalicious Retreats you will smile, laugh, sigh you may cry, and you will become more self-aware through yoga, qi gong and healing meditations, that will keep YOU feeling EMPOWERED, RELAXED and FILLED TO THE BRIM with BLISS!
Josie & Zak
About the authors
The Yogi & The Meditator
Josie is passionate about guiding people into balance though natural means. She believes strongly in integrating mental, emotional, spiritual and physical realms in order to help clients achieve and maintain healthy and fulfilling lives. Josie loves the creative aspect of teaching and she brings a smile, positive spirit and insightful meaning to her classes. Through the use of Homeopathy, Yoga and Qi Gong.
Josie will help you regain and maintain balance!
Zak “zoe” touches the lives of everyone she meets through her healing hands and heart. Whether in a group meditation or one on one, Zak has this innate and magical ability to connect on such a deep level with others. She surrounds herself and her clients with the powerful energy of angels, archangels, ascended masters and elders. Each session is more flavorful than the last addressing mental, emotional and physical realms to help clients leave feeling rejuvenated, blessed, strong and grounded!