Yoga has been an important part of my life for the past 3 years now. I began regularly in October of 2010 and have been hooked ever since. Although I have been practising several times a week (most weeks) I am still a beginner, all things considered. There is so much to learn and so much to discover. It truly is a lifelong practice, and I think it’s amazing.
How I feel when I come out of class truly is something special, a natural high that I will admit is a little addictive. I am so thankful for everything that yoga has brought to my life and want to share what I believe to be the benefits of a regular yoga practice based on my personal experience.
Note: Although I have practiced at many studios around the city, most of my practice has been at Moksha Yoga NDG and Moksha Yoga Montreal which is HOT YOGA. Most of the benefits listed below apply to both hot yoga as well as yoga practiced in a non heated room. However I do believe that some of the benefits are enhanced due to the heat.
The hot room is not for everyone. You have to try it to know, and be sure to listen to your body and be hydrated.
Another important note is that to truly experience these benefits one must give yoga a chance. I did not experience all these things the first few times I practiced in the hot room. It takes time. So, if you are interested in any of these benefits, be patient and stick with it.
Ayurveda is often described as sister science to yoga. As a yoga teacher, Ayurveda has helped me deepen and enrich my practice in ways I didn’t know were possible. It also taught me how to treat common aliments like indigestion, constipation, sleeplessness, heart-burn and other health issues that can’t be addressed with asana alone.
Every thing comes down to digestion in Ayurveda. When digestion is optimal, we say that agni or the digestive fire is balanced. This makes the immunity system and metabolism strong. We are energetic, we sleep well, we eliminate properly and we maintain a healthy weight. When digestion is poor, we can experience any or all of the following: gas, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, congestion, sleeplessness, low libido, inflammation, emancipation, heart burn and in serious cases, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohn’s disease or diabetes.
Today’s guest post is by the incredible Dawn Mauricio. I can’t say enough good things about this woman. She is an amazing person with infectious positivity. I hope that this post has a positive impact on your life.
When people find out I teach meditation, the most common reactions are “I tried meditating and it’s not for me. My mind is just too busy” and “I really wish I could meditate, but I can’t because I have (kids/full-time school or work/roommates/a small apartment).” The good news is that despite obstacles like a very busy mind or lifestyle, you can meditate. In fact, you should meditate. Already rolling your eyes? Don’t knock it before you try it, and read on.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice that encourages staying in the present moment with awareness. Through this awareness, you learn to see your thoughts without reacting to them. Imagine yourself lying in the grass one sunny day, gazing up at the clouds, and after seeing a cloud that you really liked you got up to run after it. A little absurd, no? Meditation teaches us not to run away with our thoughts, regardless how pleasant or unpleasant they are. Continue reading →
Reach Out- It’s all about Karma yoga….using our creativity and our sense of community to support others.
So what does reaching out mean to you? There are so many ways that you can help make a difference. For me it means: taking time to help someone, taking time to call someone and say hello, getting involved with a charity…along with countless other possibilities.
A year ago my sister told me about a charity called Blessings in a Backpack. It’s a unique program designed to support schoolchildren who simply do not have enough to eat on weekends. Kids take home a backpack filled with food every Friday and return the backpack empty on Mondays – ready to start their week.
How does this simple act help? The benefits and impact are immediately evident. Attendance and productivity soar; students report greater attentiveness and improved energy; teachers see improvements in study habits and demeanour; parents feel relief and support for their own family. Above all, communities grow and lives are changed. 100% of every donation is directed towards the program. Continue reading →
Today marks the beginning of week #3 of Moksha Yoga’s Grow Your Yoga. Week #3’s focus is Be Accessible and I was lucky enough to get Jen, an incredibly captivating writer, to write today’s blog post about it. Jen has an awesome blog called Memoirs of a Downward Dog. Jen’s blog is honest, real, and inspiring.
Grow Your Yoga Week # 3: Be Accessible by Jen Reed
The theme for this week’s Grow Your Yoga is to Be Accessible, and after a few furrowed brows and question-mark shaped pursed lips around the studio, it got me thinking: what does that mean exactly? To be accessible? Continue reading →
Allow me to introduce, the one and only Philly D. It is an honour and privilege to have Philly D guest post on Health is Happiness today. Week #2 of Grow Your Yoga focuses on Be Peace, and Philly D is here to drop some knowledge and wisdom on us. Be sure to follow him on twitter.
Philly D is a single dad who’s priority is always his sweet emJ. From here great love & passion flows into his yoga practice & teaching. He is the architect of Dharma Hip Hop Yoga, a class that is often called “yoga with a conscious swagger.” It’s message, music & dope ass movement.
RISE UP & Meet Your Moments with Peace by Philly D
“You wanna change the world, change yourself. But don’t think for a minute you can stop there.”– Guante, “Break (ft. Kristoff Krane)”
I really love this track. Guante is a local hip hop artist here in Minneapolis. The above lyric makes reference to the famous Ghandi quote, “Be The Change You Want To See In The World.” But what he is also doing is igniting you to go further. In many ways this is the essence of Moksha’s Grow Your Yoga event. It’s challenging you to go beyond yourself, beyond your mat.
Every time you come to the mat, yoga invites you to change yourself. It can peel aways layers of influence and lets you connect to self. With each breath you are encouraged to Rise Up and Meet Your Moments, and then it invites you to go further and meet your moments with peace. But here’s the truth, it takes practice, because so often the same moment can rise in our life and we keep letting it pass us by. Fear & doubt take over. It removes you from a peaceful step forward.
My sister Vieve is a great example of what were discussing here. She let the same moment pass her by, but as her awareness grew, so did her peace. With just a shift of one word she met that passing moment with unwavering strength. In the asana (physical practice) we call this a micro-movement. It can change you. “But don’t think for a minute you can stop there.” She didn’t. Continue reading →
“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy
Cause true wealth comes from good health, and wise ways
We got to start taking better care of ourselves”
Dead Prez, Be Healthy
The first challenge of the Grow Your Yoga month-long extravaganza is Be Healthy. From May 1st-7th, make your choices healthy ones. No matter what your lifestyle is, I bet you there’s some way you can move towards being healthier and feeling better.
Embrace this challenge by adopting a healthier diet for the week, thereby making a better choice for both you and the environment. The Grow Your Yoga crew have suggested you eat local, organic, vegetarian or vegan and you can read all about this great challenge at www.growyouryoga.ca
Be Healthy has a lot of meaning to me and I wish my words could have great power to inspire you to embrace and dive into this challenge for both this first week and the entire month, maybe even the rest of your life. I am so passionate about healthy living and the positive effect it has had on my life, if only there was some way for me to plug you into my brain and my heart so you could see and feel how my lifestyle has enabled me to feel so good-but I’m not sure that would be healthy!
So, instead, I’ll just tell you a little bit about the way I used to live and the way I live now. I used to work too hard, party non-stop, barely ever sleep and either barely eat or eat unhealthy foods. I lived that way for a long time and it worked great for a few years. I lived off adrenalin and stimulants. Then every few weeks I started to crash hard and I’d need stronger stimulants just to bring me back to neutral. My body rejected this lifestyle so strongly I actually caused my intestine to rupture and had to have emergency surgery.
Coming out of that experience, I made a few changes to the way I ate, but I didn’t change the rest of my habits. I smoked, I drank, I partied and didn’t sleep. I was so disconnected from myself, from the needs of my body, I didn’t even know I wasn’t ok. One day, I made the choice to walk away from my lifestyle. I was drained and alone and empty. I didn’t think I could ever feel good again, I didn’t think I’d ever have energy again. I’d see happy people around me smiling and all full of light and all I felt inside was fatigue and a deep sadness.
One day I picked up a book about food and healthy living and it made such an impact on me, I changed my eating habits that day and slowly, I started to feel better. It made me so excited to experience health and have energy, I kept reading and learning and because I had more energy I was able to practice yoga more. Yoga was so important to me, but had never been able to fit into my former lifestyle.
That was five years ago and I am so thankful every day for where my life is today and how I feel inside. I’ve cleared my body of all the toxins I fed it for so long and now I can really feel which foods drain me and which ones nourish me. It’s awesome! This path of eating healthy has guided me towards physical, mental and spiritual health.
I’ve chosen to live Vegan and eat a lot of raw foods. There are many ways to fuel and nourish your body in a healthy way so I really encourage you to get inspired and learn as much as you can. I use Kieran’s blog for recipes, find great local restaurants that serve healthy foods and make time to take care of myself. From the bottom of my heart I wish you health, and Kieran, you are some kind of genius, because health is happiness.
Todays post is a guest post written by Lindsay McCusky. Lindsay is a Moksha Yoga teacher here in Montreal, as well as a restorative yoga teacher.
Last year Lindsay created an awesome smoothie challenge within the Moksha community. This year we are teaming up to bring you the Health is Happiness 30 Day Smoothie Challenge. I am very excited to be working with Lindsay on promoting the challenge. If you are into yoga there is another great challenge happening in the month of May called Grow Your Yoga.
May 1st we begin our 30 day yoga challenge at Moksha yoga West Island, NDG and Montreal. In addition to the 30 day challenge, we also have another campaign running called Grow Your Yoga; a campaign designed to help “grow your yoga” on and off your mat while raising money to support the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.
Often we think that yoga can only be practiced in a studio when in reality you can practice yoga absolutely anywhere you choose! I passionately believe Yoga is more about the inner connection to self in any given moment or situation. On that note, I know that being intimately connected to yourself helps you become more aware of your body and your health. During the 30 Day Challenge, you are “challenged” to make it onto your mat for 30 days. During those 30 days, you can experience some incredible changes which is why Kieran and I have decided to partner up. Together, we would like to support and help you with what you are putting in your body.
I created a smoothie challenge last year and felt amazing after the 30 days and also got great feedback. I know when I am tired I don’t always make optimal food choices or if I am in a rush I might grab something to eat which in the end physically and mentally lowers my energy . Throughout the years I have struggled with an eating disorder and know that I am not alone. I know how important is it to “nourish your soul”. I strongly believe it starts with what you put in your body. Proper nutrition is key to a healthy and happy life, hence “Health is Happiness” – good one Kieran!!! Truthfully, the combination of yoga and smoothies has helped transform my health. So let’s get together this month and support one another to live a Healthier and Happier life!!!
With the smoothie support page on FB, Kieran and I will be here to help along the way with recipes and tips. Let’s do this, come sweat it up at Moksha yoga. I am crazy excited for this. We are confident only good things can come out of taking care of your health, surrounding yourself with positive people, and coming together as a loving community to help make the world a better place!
The best part of making green smoothies to kick of the 7 week Living You Moksha challenge at Moksha Yoga NDG was seeing how people who had never tried a green smoothie before reacted.
The majority of the people who came for a smoothie after their yoga class had never tried a green smoothie before and were very curious. I would also say that the majority of the people that tried it liked it. I was very pleased to see this.
So many people have negative thoughts about green smoothies mostly because of their colour. Guess what? They are green! What a surprise. Despite their appearance, which doesn’t bother me one bit now that I am used to it, most people who try a green smoothie are surprised to find out that they like it. It tastes delicious. Yes, some can be sweeter than others and some can taste very green. Be sure to start with a well balanced green smoothie.
So if you are someone who hasn’t tried a green smoothie because they are afraid of how they look let this inspire you to push yourself to try one.
If you are someone who wants to have more energy, lose weight, feel more alert or simply make a healthy change to your diet then I urge you to consider trying a green smoothies and if you like it, try incorporating it into your daily routine.
The recipe for the smoothie I made on this day can be found here.
Let me know how you like your first green smoothie.
Welcome to Health is Happiness! My name is Kieran. I am a foodie who loves to eat and cook plant-based whole foods. Health is Happiness is for those of us that love great tasting food but also want to eat healthy. You will find recipes, videos and more. Enjoy!