travel

Retreating!

In Vancouver we are usually lucky with a beautiful summer, this year Mother Nature seems to be on vacation. As the rainy days continue to pound down on us and the torrential rain pounds outside the window, I’ve begun to look deeper into sunny and warm yoga retreats.

{Source: www.yogaretreatgreece.com}

Not only are there many studios locally who offer there own annual or semi-annual yoga retreats, there are retreats offered world wide, so where do you begin. Here are some tips to think about when planning a yoga retreat;

  • How much can you afford?
    Set yourself a budget, start here and set yourself a budget. Most retreat costs do not include airfare, keep this in mind.
  • Who are you travelling with?
    Many retreats are based on double occupancy and the price increases if you are a single occupant, while others offer shared accommodations. Decide if you are looking for a solo journey, a journey with you partner, friends or use it as an opportunity to make new ones.
  • Meals;
    Make sure you read the fine print and determine what meals are not included in the price and that you will be responsible for.
  • Type of Yoga:
    If you are going to take a retreat with a teacher you have never practiced before, find out as much you can about the teacher and what style they teach. Many retreats offer two classes a day, are you going to be happy with the teacher.
  • Other Activities:
    What other activities are included in the retreat? Tours, events etc?
  • Free Time:
    How much free time do you get to explore and be on your own?
  • Where do you want to go?
    We are lucky living in Vancouver to have places like Galiano and Salt Spring Island to find a retreat close to home. Decide where you want to go; somewhere far (Europe), somewhere closer (California), somewhere tropical (Costa Rica) and see what’s in your budget.

These gloomy rainy days have got me looking deeper into the yoga retreat wish list. Here are a few that are on the top of my list;

Have you been on a yoga retreat? What did you like or not like?

KARMA YOGA: DO YOGA, DO GOOD

Yoga for Social Change! 

Karma (meaning to do or action) Yoga (meaning union):  in its simplest meaning literally translates to selfless service, the discipline of action or the union through action; which ultimately brings us closer to dharma.

A growing trend in the West, Karma Classes have been gaining momentum at a steady Vinyasa. More importantly, karma classes are finding their own place amongst social change makers and the Sports Philanthropy Movement; harnessing the Ying to the Yang in the therapeutic sense. This movement is designed to engage industry leaders and professional teachers in a dialogue about the value of sports/therapeutic philanthropy and aims to connect them with social change tools and causes that best fit their passions, recognizing their efforts to inspire others.

About a month ago I posted an article on Yoga & Activism, and karma class, my Yogic friends is the vehicle from which the compassionate-asana is driven! Karma classes also allows for a unique space, where the energy from inside a class is solely dedicated to a greater purpose!

From a business perspective the Yoga Industry can leverage their business in a socially responsible manner and showcase great grassroots initiatives/causes that can have a deep impact towards sustainable, positive change; both locally and internationally. More over; foster social change from a place of hope, opportunity and positive prana on a larger scale.

You can find a karma class at almost any Yoga studio these days, but if you are looking for a larger unified front, this has recently come across my radar and I felt compelled to share…

“Why stretch when you can reach?”  – The Engage Network

…is their tagline. Founded by Sean Crone, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling” Off the Mat, Into the World ® (OTM),” is a non-profit program of The Engage Network, and is dedicated to bridging yoga and activism and is geared towards communities around the world who collaborate for social change. Understanding the idea that we are stronger and more powerful together then we are apart, making a difference starts from the foundation, our roots.

As Yoga teachers and advocates for compassion, a karma class is an incredible tool in our toolkit to bring awanress to social change and connection to our global community!

Sources:

 The Engage Network: http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/community.html

 Charter for Compassion: http://charterforcompassion.org/site/

 SAVE THE DATE: Camp Moomba Yogathon & Blissfest, July 24th Vancouver BC.

Passport To Prana

If you haven’t yet purchased your Passport to Prana yet, it’s not too late, they do not expire until July 31, 2011. For only $30, you only have to use it twice to get your money’s worth as most drop in fees are $15.00 plus.

This is the second year I have purchased the Passport to Prana, and while last year I probably only did use it twice, this year I’m hoping to get more use of it and am well on my way. With almost 30 locations there are LOTS of options for taking in a class here or there, however if you don’t drive or don’t have the time to venture out to some of the locations then you probably will only use it a few times.

A few wonderful friends of mine have all purchased the Passport to Prana and we use this time to catch up as we venture out to try a new studio & a new teacher and have brunch or dinner after. It’s a great and affordable way to check out new classes and studios, and especially if you are hunting around for “your” space to practice in, this is a fantastic option to get a feel for the studio and see if you want to become a member. For me, I use it to try different styles of yoga, Bikrams, Anusura, Kundalini with different teachers and get a different feel for my favourite styles.

Are you planning a vacation anytime soon? Make sure you check out wwww.passporttoprana.com and ALL the other Canadian cities plus many US cities and purchase your Passport to Prana for wherever you are going.

Yoga for Wine Lovers

Yoga for Wine Lovers

While some yogis believe that we shouldn’t partake in alcohol, I personally do not. While anything in excess amounts can be harmful, a glass a tasty red wine, can sometimes be just as sweet as savasana, so for you wine, yoga lovers:

..too bad you couldn’t really pull this off….well maybe with a little practice.

And that got me thinking, what a brilliant idea. A yoga retreat at a winery…the best of both worlds. And low and behold…a wine yoga retreat in a French vineyard…sounds lovely, The “Vin et Vinyasa” Package, picnics, wine tasting, meditations and vinyasa classes all in the french countryside or of course, something a little bit closer to home, Yoga in the Vineyard located at Niagara on the Lake.

Now somebody just needs to start one in the Okanagan & summer vacation here I come!

Intro to the Blissful Burbs!

Having grown up in the Lower Mainland and lived here my whole life, my path to yoga was not something instilled in me since I was a little kid. In fact, the first class I took was in a local rec centre, with a friend who had to “drag” me with her, long story short, a lot has changed since that first class & the friend who first introduced me doesn’t practice at all, ironic I suppose.

I have gotten to think over the last couple of weeks how do people get introduced to yoga and do they know after the first class that this is where they need to be or does it take weeks & weeks to discover that? I have heard from many yogi’s over time that while they may drift away from their practice it is always something that they inevitably come back too, for it gives you this feeling of “coming home.”

We all know that Vancouver has a wide spectrum of yoga to offer, which is completely fantastic, but Vancouver doesn’t just consist of the downtown area or Kitsilano. Yoga studios are popping up all over BC and throughout the Lower Mainland, with a wide spectrum of teachers and styles to choose from.

Blue Skies in the Burbs! Taken on a walk through one of the many beautiful parks that the Tri-Cities has to offer.

Being a resident of the “burbs”, and while it may not have all that Kitsilano or the downtown core has to offer it does have a lot, with lots of parks, trails, lakes and so much more, the burbs kind of stand up for themselves. I’ve heard from some Vancouverites that say, Coquitlam is so far away, in fact by car it’s only 20 minutes without traffic, not bad!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you some of the fantastic studios that 15, 20, 30 or 50 minutes out of Vancouver can offer you. Stay tuned & get ready to plan that trip out on a Saturday or Sunday to explore it yourself and in the meantime tell us, how did you find your path to yoga?

If any studios from Burnaby out to Abbotsford are interested in participating in my Blissful Burbs series, please drop me a line at [email protected] First up next week; Vital Energy Yoga, Port Moody.

yoga and community.

i’m starting to feel a bit weird posting on a blog about yoga in vancouver, when, in fact, i haven’t done yoga in vancouver in almost two weeks.

i miss my vancouver yoga–i miss my power classes, i miss danielle (mika nagel–she teaches the power classes i miss attending at y yoga), and my only interaction with her has been the occasional ‘girl, where are you/don’t worry, i’m not cheating on you, just traveling’ emails.

while i travel (which is often) i rely on podcasts (per my post last month, posted while traveling) or dvd’s (i ‘borrowed’ a baron baptiste dvd from the library at work i’m going to try today).  but so far, nothing replaces the feeling i get when practicing with other students in a classroom.

one of the things i love so much about yoga is the sense of community.  i’ve been to some pretty bad classes (i shouldn’t say bad, i should say: classes that weren’t for me) but as loooong as that hour has felt, i still felt better leaving the studio.

i’ve been living a fairly nomadic lifestyle for the past 5 years, and yoga has always been a grounding force in my life:  i started a consistent practice in ohio, and since then the first thing (aside from a grocery store) i’ve sought out in every new city i’ve visited or lived in, is a yoga studio.  and what’s amazing, is that no matter what the city/country/language (yoga in hong kong is phenominal) that sense of community, and being of one is always the same.

there really is no point in my post this week other than:  i love you guys.

namaste.

mobile yogi.

i travel.  a lot.

so much that i could probably post ‘@ YVR airport’ to my facebook status permanently.

luckily for me i’m a bit of a nomad so i LOVE to travel…but what i don’t love about traveling is having to leave behind my studio and my practice.

it’s not the major cities that are the issue.  new york, LA, hong kong…all have fabulous studios and best-in-class instructors just waiting for the chance to bend me into a pretzel.

it’s the smaller off-the-radar places i frequent, like china for work, or michigan to visit my family, that prove a bit more problematic.

usually when i know i’ll be traveling someplace where i won’t have a studio available, i’ll throw a couple baptiste or bryan kest DVD’s in my luggage.  not ideal, but like double-sided tape, they’re good in a pinch.

for some reason, however, last thursday when i packed for my week-long stint in michigan i remembered to pack the 4″ wooden platform sandals but forgot the yoga DVD’s.

faced with the prospect of not practicing this week, i quickly hopped online and began googling ‘free power yoga podcasts’.

below is a list of the best 3 ‘OMG how can a podcast make me feel so sore’ yoga podcasts i found that are guaranteed to make you sweat and save your asana should you ever find yourself in the middle-of-nowhere fill in the blank with no studio and no DVD’s to feed your type-A ‘i cannot possibly survive a week without practicing’ self.

these are all power yoga classes, since that’s my preferred style of practice, however, they are great for all levels.  (please feel free to add any other recommendations/styles below in the comments section.)

1. http://www.davefarmar.com/

my number one pick, hand’s down.  dave is a yogi based out of denver, colorado.  he’s got a massive selection to choose from, he’s super easy to follow along to, and best of all: he’s funny.   i’ve never done so many chatarungas in my life.  usually when i work that hard i expect a proper introduction and a couple of drinks first.

2. http://www.yogatothepeople.com/tryOnlineClass.shtml

i love love LOVE yoga to the people.  i used to frequent their studio when i lived in new york, and i love their philosophy toward making yoga accessible to everybody.  since moving to vancouver, i am no longer a regular, however, i still occasionally hit up the YTTP website where they have 9 recordings of actual classes available free for downloading.  i think it was class number 7 where i actually thought my thigh might give out.

3. http://www.baronbaptiste.com/podcasts/index.htm

the good baron has 1 full length 75 minute power yoga workout as well as a 20 minute meditation podcast for free on his website.  if you’re good with sanskrit, you shouldn’t find the practice too hard to follow along with.  i’m not that fluent yet, so i struggled…and i was just listening along while surfing the internet for other podcasts.

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