Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wrapping up 2015 with Gratitude


We are approaching the end of another year. Time flies when you're having fun! That is why it is so important to live each and every moment mindfully. Savour every hug, kiss, laugh, tear, smile. Live each moment in the now. Don't dwell on the past and worry about the future. Live in the only moment we are promised, the now. 

Each year around this time, I like to reflect back on my year. In this journal I will write about my good times, my not so good times, my dreams come true and the dreams I am still chasing. I'll also set my intentions for the next year coming. I'll express all my love and gratitude for everything that has come and that has yet to come. I encourage you to do the same. Grab a journal, a piece of paper or even your phone or computer and just write. Write about everything that makes you smile and that makes your cry. Write about all the things that you love and that you are grateful for. And write about the things your want in your life in the next year. Set your intentions then write about how you can put them into action! 

Namaste! ❤

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Grow with the Flow Yoga Workshop


Grow with the Flow
Connect. Nourish. Reset

After a busy season of socializing, shopping and indulging, it can be a challenge to get ourselves back on track and back into a healthy and relaxed state of mind. 

Our body's are exhausted and our mind's run ragged with stress from the rushing whirlwind of the season's festivities.

Grow with the Flow is built to help you get back on track! Reset your mind, body and spirit.

This 2 hour workshop will start with a Power Yoga flow. Created to focus on strengthening and building heat in the body to detox and purify. A mindful, guided meditation will follow to cleanse the mind and spirit. Then, we'll work on building you a mental toolbox to help you live as your best self. Your truest potential!

Out with the old and in with the new. Setting fresh, new intentions for your 2016!

When: Saturday, January 23rd, 2pm-4pm (healthy snacks and water provided)
Where: Kitchener Soccer Club, in the Lounge (1111 Homer Watson Blvd)
Cost: $40 Per Person OR Purchase a Buddy Pass, 2 Tickets for $35!

Registration for this Workshop closes January 18th. 
Cash, check or Paypal accepted(please note, a 3% processing fee will apply for Paypal)

If you're looking for the perfect gift this holiday season, consider the Grow with the Flow workshop!

*Bring a mat, something comfortable to practice Yoga in and an open heart!*
*Change rooms available if you wish to bring a change of clothes*
*Free Parking*
*Giveaway and Draw at the event*

Space is limited. Please register with Cathy to secure your spot!

Payment required to secure your spot.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hello November, Hello Gratitude Challenge


Happy November!

As we enter a new month, and a month that comes with it a little more stress than normal with the holiday season approaching, I thought I would take on a gratitude challenge. 

Almost every night, I mentally create a list of things I am grateful for before going to sleep:
The roof over me head
My family and friends
Food on my plate
etc,

But how great would it be to take part in this while creating a community?! That is why I am taking part in Robin Long's of The Balanced Life, gratitude challenge on Instagram. Please join me! Check out full details on the challenge here. And be sure to join me on Instragram to see all the things I am grateful for!


Gratitude Art - Square 3  


Sunday, October 11, 2015

What's New at Alter Ego Yoga this Fall?

Join me for TWO new classes this Fall!
 
 
Join me at Zehrs in the Laurentian Plaza at 7pm every Thursday night for Yoga in the beautiful upper community room!
 
This class is a 1 hour Vinyasa-style class that is all levels friendly! Savings if you are student or Zehrs employee!
 
Details attached in the image above!
 

 Alter Ego is now at Anytime Fitness! I am so excited to be teaching at this beautiful facility! And the most amazing perk? You don't have to be a member to attend the Yoga classes! You can drop in for $10 and join me every Tuesday at 7pm!
 
Details attached in the image above!
 
 
Alter Ego Yoga is also SO excited to be offering By Donation classes at The K-W Humane Society. These classes will be monthly or bi-monthly(depending on popularity). Cost is a monetary donation of any amount to the K-W Humane Society.
 
Stay tuned for upcoming dates!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

In a Word



I came across this article in an old issue of Good Housekeeping today; It was a challenge to sum myself up in one word. At first, I let my eyes graze the headline and was about to move on, but then I started thinking...Hmm, if I were to sum myself up in one word, what would it be? Happy, Sweet, Funny? Sure, I am all of those things, but really they just skim the surface. There is more to me than just being funny and sweet. I started to think deeper. This short article was now prompting me to dig deeper into my truest self.

Sometimes, we can get lost in the motions of our day to day lives, and even as a yogi and a person that actively practices mindfulness, I, too, get lost in the gears of every day life. This little article was now challenging me to examine the world around me and my role in it. How I see myself. It brought to surface things I want to work on and things I have already achieved. It made me both grateful and eager to go after my passion, and what I believe to be my purpose in life.

It's quite the challenge to take one word to describe you as a whole, but when I really thought about it, there was one word that kept coming back to me: Observer. I would sum myself up as an observer.

Often, my intention for the day(and on my yoga mat) is to be an observer: Of my yoga practice or my life, rather than a critic. To not judge myself, criticize or belittle myself. Instead of this, I will observe and grow.

My one word: Observer

I challenge you to look within and take part in this exercise. Pause from your busy life and take time for reflection and self love. And whatever your word may be, embrace it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Classes This Fall!

Alter Ego Yoga is beyond excited to announce new classes coming this Fall! Starting October 1st, Alter Ego Yoga will be at Authentika Studios teaching a fun, energizing, 1 hour flow every Thursday at 7:30pm! 

More details attached. 

Sign up at yogaalterego@gmail.com


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Morning Musings

 


As I was sitting on my deck this morning, enjoying my cup of Dandelion tea and reading, I was loudly distracted by the thunderous sounds of my 2 dogs playful banter. Their clumsy feet thumping the floor as they playfully barked and pawed at each other. Usually, when they get loud, I will let out a 'Shh' to settle them down, but today something stopped me. As I lowered my book and pursed my lips getting ready to shush them I was halted by their pure joy. Tails wagging and opening, smiling mouths, they were simply enjoying their moments. Who am I to take that away from them? Our pets can teach us so much: They do not have a slew of electronics to entertain them. They have no regard for selfies or food grams. They don't turn to Social Media or mindless distractions when bored, or have an abundance of friends to call on at their fingertips. They only have us, and themselves. They have no regrets of their past and no worries of their future. They live purely in the moment. If they are tired, they snooze, if they are bored, they play. They know nothing more than to live in the moment.

This morning, my fur babies reminded me to savour the moment. To be grateful for all my life's blessings; To be calm, flexible and playful.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 1 of 21 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 1 is almost over and the motivation is fresh and exciting! Although, I am fully aware that this spirit might not last the whole way through. I know I may have to muster up the motivation to continue on with my goals and to hold myself accountable, but either way I WILL DO THIS!

Today I carried on as I normally would. My daily routine didn't change much. I started my day off with my hot turmeric and lemon water then did 15 minutes of moving meditation, staring off my Monday like I usually do. 

Breakfast consisted of Ezekial bread with sliced bananas and strawberries, half  of an ambrosia apple and a glass of Cashew Milk.

Lunch was a spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts dressed with apple cider vinegar and a cup of diced Watermelon.

My mid-day snack was chopped veggies with homemade hummus (recipe to come)

Dinner consisted of homemade Caldo Verde soup, or in English, Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup. Recipe below.

My Yoga practice is kicking off a 7:30pm with a strong Vinyasa flow to heat up the body, loosen the muscles and cleanse the mind.

So far, Day 1 kicked serious arse!

Caldo Verde Soup

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
6 cups water
Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
8 oz kale, stems and ribs removed, sliced into thin ribbons.

Directions
1. In a big soup pot on medium-high heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent(3-4 minutes). Add potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for another five minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked.
2. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes in this soup. Or you can puree and return to pot.
3. Stir the kale into soup and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until kale is tender and bright green. Serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Caldo Verde soup traditionally has Chorizo sausage but I always omit. Feel free to add if you desire.

21 Day Vegan Challenge...It's On!

I have joined my amazing Pranalife family for a 21 day Vegan Challenge where we will live a vegan lifestyle for at least 80% of the time. Although my diet is mostly plant-based to begin with, I do eat eat Chicken and Fish from local, naturally raised sources. My dairy intake comes from Almond and Cashew butters, milk and spreads. Although I do indulge in frozen Yogurt and Yogurt at least once a week.

My main goals for this challenge are:

1. Eliminate processed sugar. My intake is limited, but it is still more than I would like to consume...Damn you, Chad for being a Funnel cake-making master! I may have to slip in a nibble here and there as my 20%...Don't judge me! ;)

2. To enjoy this journey! To be mindfully throughout my meal preparation, cooking and eating. I tend to speed through this process and would really like to focus on savouring my food and all the steps that come with making it!

3. Commit to my Yoga and Meditation practice 4X a week.

4. Commit to my gratitude and meditation journal after each practice rather than only doing it when I feel like it.

5. Educate myself more on the Vegan lifestyle. Doing so by watching documentaries, reading articles, books, etc.

6. Document my journey through this challenge by blogging, social networking and checking in with my challenge family!

Let's do this thang-thang!




Saturday, June 27, 2015

Asking Questions and Setting Intentions


" Right now is the only moment we are promised and the only moment we are truly living in. We are always looking at the next step ahead: The next errand to run, the next work project, the next conversation, the next argument, etc. We are always planning what we are going to do, say or how to act. Stop. Just breathe..."


Do you ask yourself questions? Do you 'check in' with yourself on a weekly, daily, hourly basis? When you wake up in the morning, do you give yourself time to set up your day? Do you set an intention for yourself?

When wanting to improve our spiritual, emotional and mental health we often start out with good intentions:

I will write in a journal
I will start each day with meditation
I will be more grateful

The list goes on...And yet, sometimes life just happens. We wake up late, after hitting snooze on the alarm (or forgetting to set the alarm entirely!) and have to rush out the door, barely having time to down our breakfast let alone sit for a few minutes to meditate or to write in a journal. That traffic jam make things seem even worse and then n ungrateful employer or co-worker may make it hard for you to find things to be grateful for.  This can go on and on starting a downward spiral. It's like Buddha said: What we think, we become. If we focus on all the negative energy, that is all we are going to see. That is the only energy that will come our way. If  begin to focus on the good and the love, then that energy will be what surrounds you.

Sometimes our good intentions seem to get buried beneath the demands of every day life and we are left wondering what's the point? Well, What is the point? What was the reason why you wanted to improve your mind's health? What sparked that fire for you to become more present and to care for yourself? Instead of brushing your goals under the rug when life gets in the way, return to the 'why'. Return to the reason you wanted this in the first place. 

What's important is that you don't beat yourself up when things life happens. Most of that is out of our control so we cannot dwell on it. That is counter-productive and that negativity isn't going to serve you in any way. Instead, just focus on the little things that you can do for yourself for that day.

Setting Intentions

The beautiful thing about an intention is that it takes no space out of your day to accomplish. Don't get that mixed up with effort. It takes effort to live your intention but when setting your intention you can simply do it upon waking up, brushing your teeth or even driving to work. You can set your intention to last you through the whole day, or even change it as your day goes on. Your intention is a seedling. Setting your intention, you are planting a seed with how you want to live your day, what you aspire to be or something deeper that is more personal to you. Living your intention is watering, caring for and growing that seedling into something bigger.

No matter what, I like to start my day with the intention of: Today will be a good day. It's as simple as that. As my day begins my intention may change, for instance: When I step onto my Yoga mat, I may want to release tension or rid myself of stale energy; to let go. Or, if  know I may be facing challenges that day, my intention may be to stay grounded and strong. There is no right or wrong way to set an intention. It's personal to you. It can be a quote, a mantra, an image, whatever comes to mind for you.

Ask Yourself Questions

If something challenging is happening to you, ask yourself: What can I learn from this? Where can I grow from this experience? Take anything valuable from that experience and then let the rest go.
     If a boss didn't thank you for that presentation that you spent hours and hours on, don't harbour anger towards your boss because that only hurts you. Holding on to that negative energy doesn't change the situation. Instead, recognize your own value. You don't need validation from your boss. You know how hard you worked and how dedicated you were, and your thoughts about yourself are the only feelings that matter.

Am I Present Today?

How often do we stop, and I mean stop. Completely! And only focus on the now? Right now is the only moment we are promised and the only moment we are truly living in. We are always looking at the next step ahead: The next errand to run, the next work project, the next conversation, the next argument, etc. We are always planning what we are going to do, say or how to act. Stop and just breathe. Breathe right from your belly and then exhale. I like to place my palms on my stomach and feel the rise and fall of my belly as I inhale and exhale. Repeat this exercise and say to yourself: Thank you. Thank yourself for coming to the present moment and giving yourself that time to nurture yourself. To relax the mind and body by coming into stillness. How often do you thank yourself?

Have I been Good to Myself?

I used to be pretty hard on myself. I may catch that old habit creeping into my thoughts from time to time but I am more conscious about it and am able to let it go(most of the time!). As a woman, I used to look into the mirror and pick apart every flaw, or I used to second guess my every move at work or in my relationships. I wouldn't speak my truth because I was so concerned what others may think. What good comes from this? Nothing! Be good to yourself. Practice daily self love. Set yourself up with some exercises:

Do at least 2 favours for yourself a day. This may be a hot bath and reading a book. Or practicing some yoga and meditating. Even just going for a walk and calling a friend to chat. Just take some time for YOU and spend it however YOU want to.

Have compassion for yourself. Respect for yourself. Love yourself.

Set your intentions and ask yourself questions. Check in with yourself! And if you find questions popping up like: Am I even worth it?, Why do I bother? Or Am I good enough, please know that the answers are always: Yes, you are worth it(all of the time!), because you matter,  and yes, you are more than good enough, you are great enough!
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."-- Maya Angelou

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free/By Donation Yoga in the Park!

Yoga in the Park!

Join me on Trailview Drive in Kitchener for Yoga in the Park every Wednesday evening at 6:45pm! Reap all the benefits of Yoga all while soaking up the sun and gentle breeze. 

Classes are 1 hour, all levels and suitable for ages 12 and up. They are drop in so no need to sign up ahead of time! Just come on by, roll out your mat and enjoy a great full body flow. 

Classes are free but donations are accepted. All donations will be given to the K-W Humane Society. Classes will start Wednesday, June 23rd at 6:45pm, weather permitting. 

Please 'like' Alter Ego Yoga on Facebook to stay updated for class cancellations due to weather and other updates.

Free Street parking is available and this field is close to great walking trails!




Monday, April 6, 2015

Yoga and Meditation forced be to Get Real!

Wherever you are, it's likely you'll stumble across an ad promoting how Yoga or Meditation changed a person's life; And yes, while this may be true, a lot of people shy away about the not-so-fun things you have to go through to get to the good stuff. And not to mention, it's a constant practice!

My meditation and Yoga practice forced me to get real with myself. I once thought I knew myself so well, but really it was only superficial and materialistic thoughts about myself. The things on the surface: I had a job that I mostly liked, a loving partner, I liked to read, workout and blog. Those are the things that I thought made up my life. It wasn't until I started practicing Yoga and including a regular meditation practice into my day that I realized I really had no idea who I was deep down, under all the layers.

At first, it wasn't the greatest experience. Things were rising to the surface that made me second guess my happiness. When I look back now, that was exactly what I needed, and that was the reason why it all came bubbling to the surface. I realized I harboured a lot of anger and regret. I held onto past arguments and would suppress my true thoughts and feelings on subjects at risk of creating another. I learned that I held grudges and would store a lot of the negativity that came my way rather than focusing on the positive or letting go of all that bad stuff. I would get frustrated during meditation because it seems like my mind would never be still (and letting that completely defeat the purpose of my meditation). I realized in my Yoga practice that when I would hold postures for a period of time, I would grow anxious, maybe even a bit of panic. Why? Because all those feelings, judgements, etc were desperately trying to escape me. Instead of turning inward, focusing on the breath and being in the present, I would immediately start wondering when the heck I could get out of this posture and move on. Again, another blessing in disguise.

At first I felt defeated. Was I truly happy? I would walk away from my mat or cushion discouraged and unsure. But, this was just the beginning. This was point of my practice, unbeknownst to me at the time. My meditation and Yoga practice was actually taking care of my "dirty laundry". It was going through everything that was stale and unnecessary. Everything that didn't serve me. Everything that didn't allow me to be my best self. And in this process, it replaced those dirty hampers with a new open space, fresh and citrusy clean! I no longed harboured all this negative judgment towards myself. I valued and practiced living in the present moment. This practice resulted with me "getting real". I was not happy. I wasn't thrilled with my current situation and learned that I needed to change. And that began a whole new process.

I want to make I very clear that this is a daily practice. Like brushing my teeth or bathing, this is something that I need to continue to do. I still get frustrated with myself(or others), I still sometimes hear the negative self talk trying to break through, but my daily yoga and meditation provides me with the tools that I need to overcome, to be still, quite and live in the now.

Namaste!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Upcoming Power Yoga Class-April 11th, 2015


When: April 11th, 2015 from 12pm-1pm
Where: 44 Queen Street, S, Kitchener
How Much: $15 Per Person

Details:

A fun, energizing, 60 minute flowing yoga class that will stretch, tone and strengthen! This Power Yoga class will open your body, strengthen your muscles and calm your mind.

We will work our core, arms, legs, back and everything in between! Expect to get a little sweaty!

This is a co-ed class and open to all levels of experience. From beginner to seasoned Yogi.

Suitable for ages 14 & up.

Space is limited. Register today!

To register, contact Cathy at: yogaalterego@gmail.com


Yoga Mats are available to rent for $1.00. All other props are provided!

Website: www.alteregoyoga.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/alteregoyoga

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Boom! March Madness is here. Savings Galore!

March Madness begins today! Savings on packages and more!
*Buy 1 Private Yoga session get 1 free!(Savings $55)
*Buy 1 Mother-Daughter Private class get 1 free!(Savings $50)
*Save 20% off the 'New to Yoga' 8 week Introduction package(Saving of $55!!)
...
**Plus- A GIVEAWAY! Share this post and enter for your chance to win a FREE 60 minute private Yoga class with Alter Ego Yoga!!
 
'March Madness begins today! Savings on packages and more! 
*Buy 1 Private Yoga session get 1 free!(Savings $55)
*Buy 1 Mother-Daughter Private class get 1 free!(Savings $50)
*Save 20% off the 'New to Yoga' 8 week Introduction package(Saving of $55!!)

**Plus- A GIVEAWAY! Share this post and enter for your chance to win a FREE 60 minute private Yoga class with Alter Ego Yoga!!'

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Importance of a Home Practice

Practicing in a class or privately under the guidance of a Yoga teacher is very important. You learn proper alignment and safety in postures and are given the guidance for postures to feel good in your body; May it be through modifications, variations or physical adjustments to make the posture suit your body, not your body to suit the posture.  With that being said, once you have established a familiarity with postures and feel confident to execute certain postures safely, why not take this opportunity to keep your practice at home.

I love a classroom environment and I love practicing under an instructor as well,  but I also think there is a very strong importance to practice alone with nothing but you, your breath and your mat(although the mat is optional!). When practicing in class, you are flowing along to a sequence that the teacher creates for the class. When practicing at home, you are flowing along to what your mind and body are saying. I call this an intuitive practice.

What is an intuitive practice?

Rolling out your mat, closing your eyes to set an intention, breathe and when you are ready, begin moving. Say you begin in Child's Pose, you may be thinking, "What the heck am I doing? I don't know what my body wants right now" but that couldn't be further from the truth. You know exactly what it is you need. You just need to breathe and listen. Just start out by doing a few simple postures: Child's Pose, Cat/Cow, Downward dog for example, and eventually, your body will start speaking to you: "Open my hips please," "Oh that feels wonderful, can we hold that a little longer?," "Your feeling strong today, let's try an arm balance"...All this will come from within you once you allow room for it. All it takes is you: Listening, letting go of expectations and just going with the flow ;)

My intuitive practices have been some of my favourite moments on my mat. Why? Because those are the times I am truly listening to my body. I am giving myself that time to just be.

Next time you are wanting a practice why not keep it in house? You don't even need your mat! Sometimes, I love using the space around the room rather than being restricted to my mat. Whichever way you choose to practice, whatever way serves you best, why not stay in your pajamas and see where your body takes you?

Namaste <3



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Feed the Good Wolf

Happiness is a choice. I know, this may sound like a crazy statement! And, of course, easier said than done, right? If it were that easy than the world would be a much different place. But, like a Yoga practice, practicing happiness can be done. As each day goes by, it will get easier to choose happiness rather than another emotion that may want to surface. It's like the saying goes:

" We cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how to react to it"--Author Unknown.

This is a true statement. Ask yourself: What takes more of your energy: Holding grudges and resentment? Or letting go and choosing joy? Sure, this isn't to say that you should let someone walk all over you. But, having a "Happiness practice" may help you react differently. You can say your peace and then leave it at that. Leave it in the moment. There is this beautiful story about a Cherokee and his grandson that I want to share:

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

 He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

How beautiful is that story, right? It puts in perspective exactly what I am trying to say to you here. Everyday is a fresh start, a blank canvas, a slate wiped clean of yesterday. Everyday, we have the choice to feed the good wolf or the bad wolf.

If we chose to feed the bad wolf, than it will show up in negativity, tiredness, greed and more. If we feed the good wolf, it will show up in our character, our personality. We will be more positive and happy. And we will lead by example. If we show others that you are nurturing your good wolf, they will be more inclined to do the same.

My Happiness Practice:

1.The Loving Kindness Meditation: Everyday, I will send out love to myself and all beings. Sending out this loving energy gets my day off to the right start.
2. Set an intention: At times, this may be just a quote or a mantra, at others time it is just a word or two: Breath, Let go, be present, stay grounded, etc. These intentions are often practiced in Yoga as well, but starting my day with an intention not only starts it off well, but serves as a reminder throughout the day.
3. Gratitude Journal: I write every night in my journal and always end it with things I am grateful for. I will also do this practice first thing in the morning, before my feet have even touched the floor. I will also journal my hopes for the day.
4. Do one thing, first thing in the morning that makes you happy. Whether this is brewing a cup of coffee and sitting quietly reading the paper or a book. Putting on your favourite song and doing a little dance in your bedroom or living room. Having a cuddle with your kids or fur baby. As human beings, we can wear so many hats: Mother, Father, husband, wife, employee, boss, etc. We need to focus on the self as well. Starting your day off with doing something for you can be just what you need. What do I do? I read a chapter of a book. It could be my latest read, or a passage from an old favourite, but I always read at least one chapter while sipping my warm lemon water.
5. A Yoga practice: Duh! Of course, this is one the list. Once I am out of bed, I will roll out my Yoga mat(or practice mat less!) and move around. Re-awakening my body after being in bed for 8 or so hours. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes an 1 hour. But, I will always move around.

So, that is my happiness practice. That is how I feed my good wolf. And since I have been focusing on this more since Christmas, I have noticed a tremendous shift! I don't let others have control over my feelings or give negative Nancy's my energy. I choose to surround myself with love and positivity. Sometimes, it takes more of an effort, but it is always worth it. Practice happiness. Nurture your good wolf!

Namaste!





Saturday, February 7, 2015

Nourish Your Soul Workshop: March 28th!

UPCOMING WORKSHOP
 
Invest in yourself with this empowering, women's only workshop. Nourishing the temple of you! Cathy Benjamin(Alter Ego Yoga) and Krista Harrison, RHN, Certified Reflexologist are joining forces again for another powerful workshop!
 
We'll get physical! Prepare to move around on your mats and explore yourself through Yoga. We'll work on the essentials in takes to live your best life: Mind, body and soul. If your interest lies in gaining more awareness to the relationship you have with yourself, than this is for you!
 
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” -Steve Maraboli
 
When: March 28th, 2015
Time: 2-4pm
Where: Queen Street Yoga Studio (44 Queen St S, Kitchener)
Cost: $45 until March 18th. $55 until March 27th.
 
For more information: Contact Cathy at:
yogaalterego@gmail.com or visit: www.alteregoyoga.com
or www.kristaharrison.com
https://www.facebook.com/alteregoyoga
Space is limited. Secure your spot today!
 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Yoga and Digestion

Before you reach for the tums, beano or the laxative, why not try a little Yoga?

There are quite a few factors that can come into play when it comes to digestive problems: Bad diet, stress, allergies, low/sedentary active level, etc. However, if you are suffering from bloating, gas, constipation, stomach cramps or acid reflux, then turning to your Yoga practice may give you the relief you are looking for rather than turning to over-the-counter medicine.

How does Yoga aid the Digestion?

Pairing your breath with Asana does wonders not only for your digestion but for your stress levels as well(which can play a big part in your stomach troubles).  The movement linked with your breath can help relieve any tension or discomfort you may be experiencing. Yoga stimulates the pancreas, intestines and stomach. It can decrease acid reflux, increase gastrointestinal circulation, decrease gas and aid constipation.

What Poses Should I do?

Well, even just 15 minutes of any Yoga practice may help but here are a few specific poses that will target your digestion.
 
 
Child's Pose
 
Paschimottanasana
Seated Forward Bend
 

A regular Yoga practice, and these postures will ensure that your digestive system will get stronger! But please note that Yoga does not take the place of any diagnosed medical conditions that require medication. There are cases that medication is required. Also, please note that this is strictly from my own personal experience and should be taken as medical advice.
 
A healthy digestive system is a happy digestive system!


Photos from:
Yogaoutlet.com
smscs.com


Monday, January 19, 2015

My Morning Ritual

To me, how I spend my morning is how I set my intention for my day. There were days that as soon as my eyes would flutter open I would immediately be thinking about my 'To-Do' list, or checking my e-mails. Those days usually ended up with me frazzled and exhausted. 

Over the last year or so I have been practicing a morning ritual. This routine sets the tone for my day! My head will be clearer, I move with purpose and I am more present. 

My Morning Ritual

As Soon as I Wake Up

Drink Water: I keep a water bottle by my bedside, and give myself a few big gulps upon waking up.
A few easy stretches: 
A easy twist,
Body stretch
Shoulder/Neck Rolls

2 minutes of deep or belly breathing.

I set my intention for the day:
Stay grounded
Stay present
I am Here
Love
Clarity

Then I crawl out of bed!

Up and At 'Em

Hot Lemon Water then after that mug is empty, I have a cup of Green Tea Or
10-30 Minutes of Yoga: Depending what I have going on that day, sometimes I can only squeeze in 10 minutes, but I usually aim for 30 if I can. 
5-10 Minutes of Meditation
BREAKFAST TIME!

So, that's it! Practicing this ritual every day has had such a positive effect. I strongly recommend creating a ritual for yourself. Even if all you can squeeze in is 10 minutes. Creating a routine that give you some  'you' time and sets your day on a positive foot is worth it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Curiousity on the Mat

cu·ri·ous adjective \ˈkyr-ē-əs\

: having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone

How often are we curious about something? As a child, we are constantly learning and observing. Getting into things to see what they are, how they work, what makes them do the things they do, how they taste, how they feel, etc. As a child, curiousity lies around every corner! When we grow older, I find that curiousity fades a little. We either know how this or that is, what it does, how it feels, tastes, how it works, where it goes, etc. Unless we experience a brand new thing in our life, then curiousity doesn't play a constant role in our daily lives like it once did when we were eager little kids. That almost saddens me in a way. There is something whimsical and fairytale-like when it comes to curiousity. You are dabbling your toes into the unknown; Whether big or small, discovering something can be exhilarating! 

How do we incorporate this curiousity on our Mats?


  • One of my favourite things to do is to play on my Yoga mat. My intention: To be curious. Often I will run through a Yoga flow, or even just a few Surya Namaskara A's and B's with my eyes closed. Taking in all the sensations and allowing room for sense of humour. Most likely, you will wobble or sway. It may feel funny and awkward but that is part of the joy of that experience. You are observing. 



  • Another fun thing is leading with your non-dominant side first. If you are right handed/sided, then lead with your left side first. When I add that into my practice, I love the extra spice it adds. It reawakens your mind, body and spirit. It's almost as if your senses heighten.



  • Pick a posture and hold the pose. Ask yourself:

How does this feel?
Where am I feeling this pose?
What sensations are happening in my body
Can I add something to this pose (i.e. a variation, an arm/leg movement, a twist, etc)


  • Pick of posture that you want to explore, and explore it! Arm balances, strength postures, balance poses, the list goes on and doesn't end!



  • Play with props! Add a block to your core work. Roll up the end of a blanket for a neck roll in Savasana and/or add a pillow under you knees. Trying different things with props may enhance your experience. Or not, but you never know until you try! 


The most important message I am trying to convey here is to always remain a student. Always be open to learning more and exploring more. You don't have to travel the world or spend your savings to explore either. Just being in the present moment and taking in what is around you. Taking the blinders off and feeling, looking, touching, etc. Be open and curious.

Below is an Apple Meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh.  I feel it speaks to what I was touching on with you today. Taking time to notice, being present, observing, being curious to all that is around us.


An Apple Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
(Source: Movemequotes.com)

Take an apple out of your refrigerator. Any apple will do. Wash it. Dry it. Before taking a bite, pause for a moment. Look at the apple in your palm and ask yourself: When I eat an apple, am I really enjoying eating it? Or, am I so pre-occupied with other thoughts that I miss the delights that the apple offers me?
If you are like most of us, you answer “yes” to the second question much more often than the first. For most of our lives, we have eaten apple after apple without giving it a second thought. Yet in this mindless way of eating, we have denied ourselves the many delights present in the simple act of eating an apple. Why do that, especially when it is so easy to truly enjoy the apple?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Eating for You in 2015


We need food. We need it to survive. However, nowadays, individuals have developed an "auto-pilot" approach to their eating. Distracted, mindless eating. Eating in front of their computer at their desk, eating at the T.V., standing up in front of the Kitchen sink, etc. Not paying attention or eating with intention. Mindful eating is a beautiful practice to develop into your life.



What is Mindful eating?
  • Paying attention when eating. Savouring, noticing and enjoying your food
  • Eating with intention. The food that you're consuming is nurturing and providing your body with energy. 
It is so easy to get distracted. We're human and we all have obligations or days where some things get the better of us. A little while ago, I was busy running errands, trying to get caught up after the busyness of Christmas. I came home and prepared a Sweet Potato Squash. I baked it with some ground Ginger and Coconut Oil. The house smelled lovely, and I couldn't wait to dig into it! **My mouth is watering thinking about it all over again!** I sat down in front of my computer hoping to catch up on e-mails while I ate my dinner. A short time later I looked down to take another bite and realized all my food was gone. I had eaten it, and barely even noticed. I was looking forward to that Squash the whole time it was cooking, but as I sat to answer e-mails, I lost all attention on my food and just ate it on "Auto-Pilot".

Mindful eating is a process:
  • Are you Hungry? Or eating due to emotional/physical stress? Eating mindfully brings awareness to these cues.
  • Choosing food that will not only provide your body enjoyment but with energy and nourishment.
  • Using the food you are eating to not only Survive but to thrive!
Ever since that day where I devoured my squash without tasting it, I have put a huge focus into Mindful eating. When it comes time to eat, I enjoy that experience. I give 100% of my attention during meal time just as if I was during any other activity. My mindful eating practice has also transitioned into other tasks. Being in the moment; Living in the now is so very important. When spending time with your partner, kids, friends, co-workers, anything that uses your time, you spend that time the best way you can. Putting your energy into this quality time. Why should eating be any different.

We dedicate so much precious time into cooking meals and preparing our food, and a lot of the time, we just chow it down in 10 minutes or less. Let's give that beautiful food the attention it deserves.

Try this: Next time you eat a meal. Turn off any distractions. Put the phone on silent, or better yet, don't even have it in the same room. Switch off the computer and steer clear from the T.V. Then, eat. Chew each bit, and savour the taste. Take your time, and you may realize half way through how beneficial a mindful eating practice can be!

**Disclaimer: I am not a professional. This is based purely on personal experience and general information. This information is not advice and should not be treated as such**
 
Designed by Beautifully Chaotic