Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.
- Ramana Maharshi


Turn your Asana into an AH-HAsana with Blissalicious Retreats

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!

Stay Blessed,

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!

Date Added: April 14, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga

Asana of the Week with Darin & Wendy

Warrior 2  (virabhadrasana 2) 

By Darin & Wendy

Wendy & Darin, Mazunte, Mexico

Warrior 2  (virabhadrasana 2) is a beautiful pose with so many benefits at the level of the physical body. There is a  powerful stretch for the legs, groins, and chest. It also increases stamina, and helps to relieve backaches, and stimulate healthy digestion.

This is a deep hip-opening pose that strengthens the muscles in the thighs and buttocks. It tones the abdomen, ankles, and arches of the feet. This pose also opens the chest and shoulders, improving breathing capacity and increasing circulation throughout the body. It is also known to be therapeutic for flat feet, sciatica, infertility, and osteoporosis.

As with all  yoga poses virabhadrasana 2 is much more than just a physical posture. It increases your ability to concentrate. As you hone your gaze, you direct your mind clearly and with intention. Distractions disappear and your energy becomes powerful and focused. From the level of the energy body and the chakras it works with the third chakra (manipura chakra) which associated with the qualities of courage, confidence, dynamism, will-power and determination.

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 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 .

Date Added: April 8, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga

Win a 4 day getaway to Shanti Retreat

We are excited to announce that in partnership with  Alive Magazine Canada, we will be offering one free ticket (4 day all inclusive package) to the 1st annual Wolfe Island Yoga & Bhakti Festival to be held this Victoria Day Long Weekend (May 16-19, 2014).  

Escape to Shanti Retreat, located on beautiful scenic Wolfe Island, for a 4 day weekend of yoga, performances and workshops by Canadian and International kirtan artists including David Newman (Durga Das), Brenda McMorrow, Adam Bauer, Lea Longo, Lana Sugarman, John de Kadt and more, delicious vegetarian cuisine, bhakti dance party and the opportunity to tent in nature or sleep in a yurt!

This truly is a one time offer!

The contest is open until April 30, 2014.




Date Added: April 1, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Green Living,Living Seasonally & Locally,Living with Yoga,Whole Foods Living

Connecting with Nature and Spirit..even when it gets cold!

When the cold breeze starts to rush off the St-Lawrence river, its easy to spend an entire day sitting fireside in the lounge.

Thankfully, wanting to be outside in the fresh air, to spend time in nature and to reflect in stillness is an innate part of our Being.

Because of the mild weather today, I feel more inspired (and maybe even called) to spend some time outdoors…and I know exactly where to head…One of Wolfe Island’s hidden gems: Big Sandy Bay Beach.

From the first steps, I really begin to appreciate the uniqueness of each season. The natural surroundings look completely different from how I remember it on a hot day this summer.


Although all the leaves are fallen, the trees are barren (and making loud and scary cracking sounds) and the sun is hiding behind the clouds, there is still so much beauty to take in.

Nature seems to bring out our wisdom and creativity which is lies within us – I feel a sense of stillness, yet at the same time, my thoughts are filled with a bouquet of inspirational quotes.

“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.” – Oprah Winfrey


Mother Nature has such subtle yet grand ways of reminding us of her magnificence. Without saying anything, this amazing tree really knows how to put things into perspective as it stands here so majestically.

This lovely walk is not only calming and inspiring but let’s not forget to mention educational. Lucky me gets to sharpen my tree distinguishing skills… from ironwood, to birch, oak and white ash.

A little further down the path, I am greeted by the beauty of this amazing red bush..What a contrast! Like they say, there is a pearl in every oyster. This bush is a red osier dogwood (Thank you educational signage!)

I can tell I am getting closer to the beach as I begin to hear the roaring of the waves in the background. I have done this walk before so I know that the only thing standing between me and the water is this last little hill. I have no problem with any hill covered in white beach sand.











WOW….lost for words. I always love walking to Big Sandy Bay, but this time was like no other. The immensity of the wind and waves completely blew away any last thoughts I had left in my mind and brought me to complete stillness and peace. Nature is amazing, water is amazing!

I gaze up to the sky and see a few seagulls and of course I ask myself “how amazing it would be to fly?” They say anything is possible, right? Although, maybe it is not so much my dream today since the wind is so strong… they seem to do this effortlessly.

“Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease . . . with carefreeness, harmony, and love. And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.” – Deepak Chopra

I spend a few minutes just gazing into the horizon, nothing but blue sea ahead (it really does look like the ocean today!) and feel completely re-connected and grounded with nature, and also within. Its so interesting that even a walk in nature can turn into a spiritual experience. Like Saul David Raye reminds us, spirituality can be anything we put our spirit, or our intention into…well, my spirit is definitely here!

It is time to turn back and find my way down the trail again. I continue to be an observer of my surroundings and notice many new things on the way back. With the sun out from behind the clouds, shining her rays down around me, it makes my return voyage a completely new experience.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust

I’m feeling pretty good today, but its comforting to know that if I needed to take a break, I would be supported by this lovely rock couch…part of me wants to sit on it anyway (don’t get to do that everyday…nor would I want to..I dont think??)

I am usually in a mentality of “needing to go for a walk” to get my exercise, or vitamin D or fresh air, but today was such an amazing reminder that taking a walk in nature is so important for not only the physical body, but our mind and spirit.

So this fall (and winter), make a promise to yourself to spend time in nature, and to nurture all of your layers.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Date Added: November 15, 2013 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living Seasonally & Locally

Lentil Dhal


1 ½ cup red lentils, rinsed

4 cups vegetable stock

2 chilies, whole dried

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp coconut oil, olive oil or ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp ginger, fresh grated

1 cup tomato, chopped

1 tbsp Lemon, freshly juiced

1 tsp garam masala

photo credit: Anne Bertand


IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN, combine lentils, stock, chilies, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender, stirring frequently. You may add up to an additional cup of water or stock until desired consistency. ADD tomatoes and sauté for another 7 minutes.

HEAT oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and sauté for about 30 seconds, until seeds are fragrant but not burning.

ADD onions, garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes, until onions begin to brown.

DISCARD chilies once lentils are tender. ADD onion mixture to lentils with lemon juice, garam masala, and sea salt.

Makes 6 servings


Date Added: October 22, 2013 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living

Asana of the week with Wendy: Plough Pose

This past weekend we were blessed to offer a Journey Dance and Expressive Arts Retreat with 2 great facilitators, Diane and Nicole. Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy morning yoga classes with Wendy. Read below as Wendy explains the various benefits of Halasana.

Halasana, or the plough pose, has so many wonderful benefits and is one of my personal favourites.
As an inverted asana there is the benefit of reversing the flow of blood in the body, increasing blood supply to the head and all of the glands located there. You are also reversing the effects of gravity on the body and therefore some yogis claim it is an anti-aging pose.
There is also the benefit of keeping the spine healthy and flexibility which is vital for one’s overall level of health and longevity. As well, there is the very beneficial effect that the pose has on balancing the thyroid gland.
From an energetic perspective, in the Agama Yoga tradition, halasana works on ajna cakra; the mental command centre of one’s being. Working with this chakra has the potential to improve clarity, concentration and focus of the mind.
With so many incredible benefits, it is no wonder the yogis consider halasana a powerful addition to one’s hatha yoga practice.
If you are new to the pose start slow; be mindful and aware of your body while performing it. In the beginning you may need to modify your performance. As you become more comfortable, increase the length of time you spend it. Perhaps working up to holding for 5 minutes.
Afterwards, pause and savour both the physical and energetic benefits.
Om Shanti, Shanti…..

MoonDance and Expressive Arts Retreat with Diane, Nicole and Yoga with Wendy

October 4th – 6th, 2013

Date Added: October 7, 2013 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga

Easiest dessert ever!!! Maple Flax Cookies

Sometimes we crave a delicious homemade, all natural dessert, but don’t have the time to spend hours in kitchen.  If you can relate to this, this is the recipe for you.

Whenever we need a quick dessert for a retreat, I turn to Jae Steele for her delicious and simple cookie recipes. I have never tried this recipe before, but when I saw that there were only 6 simple ingredients, that I didn’t have to use/wash 2 separate bowls for wet and dry.. AND they only took 10-12 minutes to cook…I knew it was the winner!

The best part about these cookies (other than the fact that they melt in your mouth and taste like shortbread), was that all the guests loved them. Mission accomplished Shanti Kitchen!

Maple Flax Vegan Cookies

The cookies were gone so fast, that we didn’t think to take any photos. But the good news is, these cookies will be back again soon!

2 cups spelt flour

1/4 flax seeds (not ground flax, but the seeds)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine together flour, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

Add syrup and coconut oil and mix until just absorbed.

Roll dough into walnut size balls and place them on the baking sheet.

Use a fork to or your peace fingers to make an impression in each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.


Enjoy and be sure to share with your friends, family, co-workers or neighbors!

Date Added: | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living

Something Sweet: Lemon Bliss Balls

Even with the publication of our new (and first!) cookbook, there is no way we could have included all of our favorite recipes. Good thing for the Shanti Whole Foods Living Blog! We will continuously be posting recipes that you love (which are not found in the cookbook), so stay tuned!

There is nothing like sharing the benefits of whole foods – especially when it’s something sweet:)


Raw Vegan Lemon Bliss Balls (Makes about 15 balls)

2 1/4 cups almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp maple syrup

5 lemons (juiced)

3 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut oil

coconut, raw sugar for rolling


Place almonds into a food processor and pulse into small pieces (not into a flour).

Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined.

Take out a spoonful at a time and roll into a ball shape.

Roll half the balls in coconut and the other half in raw sugar.

Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.



Date Added: | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living

Asana of the Week with Hali Schwartz: Ustrasana: camel pose
Ustrasana: The camel pose

This hatha yoga posture is the consummate back bend.  it has it all!  The opening of the heart center (anahata chakra); the stimulating and toning of the spinal nerves especially of the lumbar and sacral regions; the expansion of the principal respiratory muscles – the diaphragm; improves the functioning of the digestive organs, and also helps to energize the entire system.

Weekend Yoga Retreat with Hali Schwartz

September 20-22, 2013

Date Added: September 24, 2013 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga

Meditation with Manu: resetting your inner clock
Meditation is for me like a love story that started more than 20 years ago.
To bring regular meditation into your life is really beneficial, among other things, it helps relax the body, reduce stress and improve focus. It is like resetting your inner clock. It is as essential as regular body hygiene, without that you tend to be the play of your thoughts and emotions and get lost in the labyrinth of the mind.

True meditation is like coming home, home sweet home, where you can finally relax, be yourself and feel nurtured by consciousness itself. I wish you all to also fall in love with meditation and to find your way back to the source of who you truly are.

Manu, guest instructor in Shanti
August 30-September 1st Evolution of Consciousness Retreat
Sept 6-11th Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat

Date Added: September 15, 2013 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga

About Us

Enjoy the tranquil 11 acre property where our spacious century inn and cabins are situated on 1000 feet of private shoreline. Now in its tenth season, Shanti has become a popular retreat destination in Ontario. More…