Posts

Can you diet on your body love journey?

4

 

TW: Diet talk

Can you diet on your body love journey? The truth is I don’t really know. I think everyone has to answer that question for themselves. Your body, your rules. But if you are wondering about this, here is my story of going on a special diet, every thing that I did and everything that happened.

I have been suffering with digestive issues for quite a while but at the end of 2016 they got much worse. And I won’t go too deep into the specifics, but it seemed like the best course of action was for me to go on a special diet recommended by my medical team.

This was SUPER triggering for me. I knew it would provoke my disordered eating, my body dysmorphia, and depression. I knew it was going to be hard, like so fucking hard.

I’ve been on a body love journey for years and for years I have worked to dismantle diet and weight-loss culture from my psyche. Since the winter of 2014 I have been practicing intuitive eating to help to rebuild and heal my relationship with food.

Because of all of this I knew I would have to tread carefully into this health choice.

So instead of calling this special diet a diet, I came up with some alternative less triggering terms. I called it a healing journey through food or food selection healing and even a healing journey opportunity so that it didn’t even mentioning food.

I used the intuitive eating approach as much as possible within the confines of the diet. I have this great magnet on my fridge courtesy of the awesome people at Be Nourished.

fullsizerender

And I would use it to assess my hunger, and what kind of food I desired from the selection of food available to me. So even though I was restricted I could still listen to my intuition and listen to my body.

I also said affirmations to myself while I did the food prep: This is an opportunity for healing. This is an opportunity to put myself first. I make this food with love. This is what loving myself looks like.

I even went for an aromatherapy session to create a special essential oil blend that would be my power scent to help me get through the rough times that were coming.

All of the work I did to prepare and supports I gave myself really helped…

 

The only thing was, this diet was actually making me sicker.

 

Like really sick.

 

Even though it was making me sicker, on some level I felt this sense of accomplishment for having conquered my fear of food restriction to point that I didn’t want to let the diet go, and I also didn’t want to let it go because I really believed it would be the thing to help heal me.

But the choice was being made for me. This diet that I was trying to use to heal me was just making me sicker. So under the supervision of medical professionals I stopped.

And this was when a new journey began. I began to think about my digestive issues from a different perspective, from a more energetic perspective.

I don’t doubt that my digestive issues have come from years of trauma and abuse being stored in my belly. Through many very hard years when I was young I would feel sick to my stomach all of the time. It would feel like I just couldn’t digest food. If I put food into my belly it felt like it would just sit in my stomach undigested. And any time something horrible happened, I felt it in my stomach.

Through the guidance of my amazing friend and body positive Naturopathic Doctor, Kyla Wright, I now I know more about digestion. And I know that what my body was telling me was true. We cannot digest our food properly while in our stress response or the “fright, flight, freeze” response. If we need to be in immediate survival mode (stress response), our body just doesn’t have time or energy for longer term survival processes like digestion.

This was very helpful and adaptive for humans at one time. But now, today, in our world we can tend to feel threats all around us throughout our day in the form of emails, social media, traffic, and constant messages that we aren’t good enough and that we need to fix ourselves. And all of these “threats” put us in a stress state for most of our day, which can seriously affect our digestion.

This has been a HUGE aha for me.

I just had never really thought about it before. So I began to implement a softer approach to my digestive issues. I started getting better rest. I did more restorative yoga as my personal yoga practice. I wrote myself a yoga nidra for digestive health. I used mudras (hand positions) to help my digestive processes. I talked to my belly telling it loving thoughts before I put food in it. I filled my belly up with healing light to continue the process of mending from my traumatic past.

And today, I am happy to say I am back on my intuitive eating journey and also on a new intuitive healing journey. And my digestive issues have been steadily improving.

This is what I would like to offer to you. If you are struggling with digestive issues or would like to work on your relationship with food and digestion, my Yoga Therapy for Digestion Workshop is for you! In this workshop we will explore how yoga therapy can help improve our digestion through poses, mudra (hand gestures), and yoga nidra (guided relaxation).

The early bird price for this workshop is ending this Thursday January 12 so register today for only $31.50 with GST by sending an e-transfer to krystal@thelusciouslife.ca with a note about which workshop you are registering for and your email address so I can send you a welcome email.

If you aren’t able to make the workshop, I also made you this Yoga Nidra for Digestive Health that you can download and use any time to help you on your own healing journey.

I hope to see you this Sunday!

Happy digesting,

Krystal

What is Body Positive Yoga? Why it should matter to you!

what-is-body-positive-yoga-1

As a Body Positive Activist and a Body Positive Yogi, I get asked the questions, “What is body positivity?” and “What is body positive yoga?” a lot.

The Body Positive movement is so near and dear to my heart and I don’t think I could offer yoga any other way. If yoga today is only for a select few who to fit into the narrow mould of a Yoga Journal cover model (white, thin, cis, able-bodied, affluent), then I am not interested in it.

I want our yoga practice to heal us. I want our yoga practice to be a place where we feel safe. I want our yoga practice to be a place of radical self-love. I want our yoga practice to be inclusive. I believe in the power of yoga to heal and transform and I believe that everyone should have access to the benefits of yoga. This is why Body Positive Yoga is so important to me!

 

First, let’s talk about Body Positivity. When I started practicing yoga, I didn’t think it was for me. I didn’t look like the other people there and I was always the biggest body in the room. So once I started teaching yoga, I wanted to make it a safe space for other people who might feel like yoga was not for them. Back then the Body Positivity movement wasn’t as popular as it is now. I didn’t even know about the term. Over the years the movement has grown and changed to become more inclusive and intersectional. A move in the right direction in my opinion.

As an evolving movement, everyone’s interpretation of body positivity might be different, but at its core the term represents the idea that all bodies are worthy of self-love, self-care, and acceptance. It includes the idea that all bodies are allowed to feel beautiful, regardless of their colour or jean size or health status or how attractive you personally find them to be. Although the mainstream media has been focusing the Body Positivity movement on feeling beautiful in our bodies, I am more interested in finding ways to love and respect our bodies, even if we desire for our bodies to change. This allows for space in the body positivity movement for someone who might still want to lose weight, or for someone who might be ill, or for someone who wants/needs to modify their body.

 

How does body positivity apply to yoga?

Yoga is for Every Body! Everyone should have access to the benefits of yoga! Yoga is not just asana (the postures), which yoga in the West tends to focus on. If one can consciously observe their breath one is practicing yoga. I have worked with people who are in palliative care. People who are unable to get out of bed and are in so much pain from cancer and the healing power of Yoga Nidra (a guided relaxation) has been the only thing they found to relieve that pain.

For me Body Positive Yoga is so much more that just body size. Yes, there is a lot of focus on body size in the Body Positivity movement as a push back against Western yoga’s focus on thin bodies and because of North America’s fatphobia erasing bigger bodies from movement based activities. If we never see larger bodies being physical, then we start to believe that it isn’t possible for larger bodies to be physical, to be healthy, to be an athlete, or to be a yogi. Here are some great resources proving otherwise:

Fat Girl Running – A blog about being an active larger girl in a thinner world via the individual yet universal sport of running.

Louise Green – Louise Green is a globally recognized plus size athlete, trainer and advocate with a leading voice at the forefront of the Body Advocacy movement.

FabUplus – FabUplus is a health, fitness and lifestyle magazine dedicated to women with curves. Their goal is to empower, encourage and inspire women to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter what your size.

Body Positive Athletes – This is a closed Facebook Group forming a community of people who believe that the term ‘athletic’ defines a lifestyle and not a body shape or size.

Jessamyn Stanley – Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga teacher, body positive advocate, and writer based in Durham, North Carolina.

 

As a Body Positive Yoga Therapist I do my best to make sure I know as many variations and modifications of poses as I can. And I make sure offer those modifications to the poses in a way that doesn’t sound like the are a lesser pose. I also like to affirm at the beginning of the class that each student has full permission to move their body in the way that feels right for them. I believe you know your body best and you know what works best for your body. Throughout the class I will also encourage you to listen to your body and modify your poses so that you are maximizing the benefits for your body while minimizing the risk of injury.

I also use Yoga Sutra (The Book of Yoga) cards in class to help me know whether people are comfortable with hands on adjustments. The cards offer an opportunity for learning something new about yoga philosophy and then the students are invited to place the card face up near their mat if they would like hands on adjustments. Or face down near their mat if they would like to be left alone today. This way the student doesn’t have to communicate verbally and I will still check in with the student before putting my hands on them even if their card is face up. Knowing the people and the bodies in my yoga space helps me to make my classes safe. This is one of the reasons I have moved away from offering drop-in classes and now only offer pre-registered classes and workshops where people can let me know about any issues or concerns beforehand and then we can work together to make it the safest most beneficial practice for them.

I am also very aware of the language I am using during class. I never want to use body shaming language in the class, like “to burn more calories do this” or “if you are trying to lose weight try this”, or even calling a certain expression of a pose “the full expression of the pose”. The benefits of an asana practice can be experienced and felt in any variation and any body. And I want to make sure that I am using non-gendered, non-agist language, anti-racist, anti-colonial, and LGBTQ+, body positive and body ability positive language.

I strive for the space that I create for yoga to be a space to:

  • Appreciate your body for everything it can do and everything it does for you
  • Notice where your body is strong and capable and focusing on that
  • Feel your body as an ally, not an enemy you have to be at war with
  • See your worth as more than a number on a scale
  • Redefine health – My definition of health includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I know you can be healthy at any size. If you are not familiar with this topic look into “Health at Every Size” by Dr. Linda Bacon.

For my business I have guiding principles that help to frame how I operate a body positive business:

1 – Honouring the Tradition of Yoga

I always strive to offer a practice that holds reverence for the lineage, history and culture from which yoga arose. I do this by studying the philosophy of yoga, knowing the history of yoga and the culture in which it arose as well as how culture has shaped what we know as yoga today, including the history of colonialism in India. I also do this by stating at the beginning of my workshops and retreats that I honour the path of yoga, I honour that it is an Indian tradition and I thank my teachers for guiding me on this path. Yoga is not mine. It is something I honour and offer to others.

2 – Unceded Chief Drygeese Traditional Territory of the Yellowknives Dene

I always strive to recognize who’s land my services are being offered on. So when I am home in Yellowknife I will state at the beginning of workshops and retreats that I thank the Yellowknives Dene for allowing me to offer my services on the unceded Chief Drygeese Traditional Territory of the Yellowknives Dene. When I am traveling, I take time to learn whose land I am visiting and will thank and honour them at the beginning of my workshops and retreats.

3 – Anti-Oppressive Space

I always strive to make the spaces I create as anti-oppressive as possible and this is challenging since we do live in oppressive spaces. I focus on making my spaces:

  • Anti-racist;
  • Anti-colonial;
  • Patriarchy resistant;
  • LGBTQ+ positive; and
  • Body and ability positive.

And I acknowledge my privilege. I can’t possibly have all the answers on how to make my spaces anti-oppressive so I always welcome conversations on how to achieve this.

4 – Accessibility

I explore ways to make my services as accessible as possible, including, but not limited to:

  • Offering free classes;
  • Offering classes-by-donation;
  • Offering classes from which proceeds will be donated to a cause; and
  • Offering to work with individual for whom cost is a barrier to make my offerings accessible.

 

I do all of this because I believe feeling safe, and this includes feeling free from oppression as much as is possible, is so important to helping us to heal. And as a Yoga Therapist, I want your yoga practice to be healing. I believe that through yoga we can heal ourselves and ultimately our world.

 

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts. What does body positive yoga mean to you? Did I miss something? Why is body positive yoga important to you? Share in the comments below.

xox

Krystal

 

P.S. If you want to watch a little video of my talking about Body Positive Yoga you can do it here.

P.P.S. If you want to practice Body Positive Yoga with me, you can get started with Body Love Yoga CardsBody Love Yoga Cards is designed to get you started on your yoga journey as well as your body love journey. And you if you are already on your way, it will help you continue on that path! With Body Love Yoga Cards you are committing to a 10 day practice. It’s made for people just like you who feel like they don’t have enough time for their yoga practice.

Big shifts can come from small changes! Get started today!

 

 

 

Body Love True Stories: Part 2

the-luscious-life-program-promo-images-3

 

Yay! It’s time for the second instalment of Body Love True Stories – Inspirational stories of people’s body love journeys and where that journey has taken them. These stories are from people I have worked with and they are my inspiration. Their stories are so powerful and I want the world to know what is possible when we begin on our body love journey.

 

Today’s story is super powerful and reminds us that loving our bodies is truly a journey. Here’s what she has to say:

 

On her experience of yoga with me…

 

I’ve never been in a class except Krystal’s where I can move (or not move) however I feel in that moment, while still following her guidance. It has been a good gateway to give myself permission to listen to my body and be in the present, with whatever arises. I’ve also found a new appreciation for the way my body feels and moves, when I started listening to it more.

 

I remember starting yoga when I was on Weight Watchers and things have changed so drastically since…

 

I still struggle with body image regularly, but nothing compared to before, where it was almost debilitating. Now I can show up and be me more. Krystal’s classes have opened my eyes to the fact that I can give myself permission to love myself exactly as I am today. This has all been helpful on my body-love journey.

 

On her body love journey…

 

Hating myself and being on diets used to take ALL the energy and all my mental energy on a daily basis for so many years. Body positivity has given me permission (or even just a glimpse at the possibility) to love myself just as I am. It has helped me on my journey to self love and on my recovery from eating disorders. It has also helped me see the other people around me less harshly. I feel less judgmental about others because I judge myself less. I’m also more careful about the things I say, even the things I say to myself, because I don’t want to fuel negative self image. I remember spending a year not being able to look at myself in the mirror. I would avoid mirrors at all cost, just so I didn’t have to “endure” the sight of me.

 

I do not wish that on anyone… It was a difficult difficult time and I think that body positivity, paired with self discovery and nurturing self worth (for instance by doing yoga for myself now, instead of doing it for burning calories) helped me be where I am today. Two weeks ago, it dawned on me how far I have come, as I found myself dancing naked in front of the mirror.

 

Yes! She is living a Luscious Life in the body she is in right now! And even dancing naked in front of the mirror. I LOVE IT!!!!

 

Come and experience the power of body love yoga with me! The Luscious Life Program starts next Monday (Oct 24). The program is 6 weeks of diving deep into your body love journey with weekly yoga practices, meditations and lifestyle tips, plus a private Facebook group where we will all cheer each other on! I am so pumped!

 

Find out more by clicking this link to The Luscious Life Program and let me know if you have any questions. I am always here to help! Oh yeah, did I mention that as a subscriber I am offering you the program at 50% off?! And if you register today I’ll send you a bonus chakra balancing meditation for FREE!

 

Lots of love,
Krystal

Body Love True Stories: Part 1

body-love-true-stories

 

All this week I am going to be sharing Body Love True Stories with you. Inspirational stories of people’s body love journeys and where that journey has taken them. These stories are from people I have worked with and they are my inspiration. Their stories are so powerful and I want the world to know what is possible when we begin on our body love journey.

Our first story comes from a woman who had been practicing yoga for a while, but found group classes intimidating because she worried about being judged for ger lack of abilities and coordination. And because when she started practicing yoga with me she had recently given birth so her body was heavier than she was used to.

Sound familiar?

 

Now after practicing body positive yoga and building her body love journey this is how she feels.

Where to even begin?? I really enjoy the sense of calm I feel when I arrive at class and the culture of supportive women that attend. It’s instantly soothing. I also love the way it physically feels to move my body, it makes me feel energized and cleansed of nervous energy buildup all at the same time. I also feel a sense of accomplishment each time I practice and notice an increase in my flexibility and strength. I’m in awe at the things my body can do now that just a few weeks ago it couldn’t. I could go on, but these are the main reason I love yoga!

I am still my toughest critic, but I definitely feel more confident and comfortable in my body since starting a yoga practice. I have always loved to challenge myself to grow, but doing that physically was intimidating to me for a long time. Now physical challenges are fun and exciting to me and I can’t ever see myself going back.

Body Positive Yoga makes me feel 100% better about myself physically, mentally and emotionally. To illustrate this point, I want to emphasize that I used to avoid and cringe at any type of formalized, scheduled group exercise class. It was so intimidating to me and I could never commit to it. Now I CRAVE yoga classes and I can’t wait to go. I’m even inspired and not afraid anymore to try other types of classes that I would have shied away from previously.

Every person deserves to feel good about their body. Yoga, especially Krystal’s body positive yoga, is a super approachable and fun way to become more present and aware of the amazing things your body can do, which results in a sense of pride and confidence that for me has been truly life changing.”

Amazing! I love all the freedom her body love journey has opened up in her life! All the new experiences that feel possible for her!

And I want this for you too! The Luscious Life Program starts next Monday October 24 and I would LOVE for you to join us. The program is 6 weeks of diving deep into your body love journey with weekly yoga practices, meditations and lifestyle tips, plus a private Facebook group where we will all cheer each other on! I am so pumped!

Find out more by clicking this link to The Luscious Life Program and let me know if you have any questions. I am always here to help! Oh yeah, did I mention that as a subscriber I am offering you the program at 50% off?!

How could you say no? 😉

Lots of love,

Krystal

All of the Inspirational Moments from my Body Love Yoga Tour

All of the Inspirational Moments

 

As many of you know, I was very fortunate to get to travel this summer on a Body Love Yoga Tour with my partner as they toured with their awesome band Quantum Tangle. (You should definitely check them out.) There were so many amazing Body Love moments on the tour and I have come home filled up with so much inspiration that my hope is to pour some of that inspiration your way.

 

Our first stop, TORONTO – delicious food & family dynamics on our body love journey

Now usually I dread going to Toronto in the summer, with it’s thick soup-like heat and humidity, but I gotta say when you are embracing your body in tank tops and skirts it’s a lot easier to deal with. The chub rub struggle is real though. My picks for dealing with chub rub are to use Lush’s Silky Underwear on days without a tonne of walking, but if it is more of a serious movement day, I turn to a pair of spanx-like shorts in a size or two bigger than usual so that they prevent the rub without being restrictive. These are the ones I picked up from Pennington’s in Toronto.

In Toronto I also got to eat all of the delicious food; like fresh juices, gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns and gluten-free vegan ice cream sandwiches.

A rainbow of fresh juices!

A rainbow of fresh juices!

 

Tiffany Ayalik enjoying the gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns.

Tiffany Ayalik enjoying the gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns.

 

My delicious ice cream sandwich melting all too quickly in the Toronto heat.

My delicious ice cream sandwich melting all too quickly in the Toronto heat.

 

On Saturday July 9 there was a break in the rain just long enough for my outdoor Body Love Yoga Workshop in High Park. We had a beautiful intimate practice and the theme for our workshop revolved around our family members’ own internalized fatphobia and how this can make going home to see your family so triggering and challenging for your body love journey. I wrote about this in my blog post “How to Love your Body through the Holidays”. I know some of you will identify with the challenge of balancing enjoying spending time with aging family members versus speaking out against their body-shaming comments. It’s a tough one and one that I don’t think there is any one right answer for. Everyone’s family dynamics are different. In our discussion we talked about often using the “redirect” (which I discuss in my blog post) and then directly addressing specific shaming situations when you know that it is safe and it feels right for you.

 

Next we headed to SUDBURY – nakedness & our relationships with our bodies

I think one of the best tools I have found on my own body love journey is spending time with my naked body. Before I started this journey I don’t think I even knew what my thighs looked like. I just knew there was a lot of cellulite, which meant they weren’t fit for public consumption and that meant I didn’t want to see them either. Back in 2014, I started wearing booty shorts around the house whenever possible. Slowly my relationship with my thighs changed. They might be jiggly, but my thighs are strong! I can hold a warrior pose or squat like nobody’s business.

I'm a warrior in the water.

I’m a warrior in the water.

Well on this trip we all got to embrace our naked or nearly naked bodies. Part of this was due to the freedom we felt be in a place where we experienced a degree of anonymity. We are from a fairly small city where sometimes it can feel constraining to fit into the identity you feel like people expect from you. So with this anonymity I think we all felt free to try out new sides of ourselves.

We had nude photoshoots in canola fields.

14001971_10154410830438221_1938984285_o

Swamp goddess photoshoots.

IMG_8586

 

IMG_8671

 

IMG_8632

And when there was a spontaneous opportunity to go swimming in Lake Nipissing under an almost full moon, I wasn’t going to say no just because I didn’t have a swimsuit. I just whipped off my clothes and walked in like it was no big deal.

 

 

IMG_8487

Found on a wall in Nipissing.

IMG_8477

At my Sudbury Body Love Yoga Workshop, our conversations were about how we define our relationship with our body. For example, today I would say that my body and I are falling in love. Since I have been on this body love journey, my body and I have been discovering all kinds of new ways that we can have fun together, like wearing short puffy dresses to weddings

 

13662196_10154341397212629_5282157686431954496_o

 

and unapologetically spending ALL my time in my bikini.

 

IMG_8272

 

IMG_8117

 

I mean, I even walked around a music festival for a day in my bikini! I never would have thought I could get to that level. And as my partner and I walked around the festival holding hands, them without their shirt on and me in my bikini, all I could feel from the crowd was that

 Not that it’s ours to give of course, but something happens when I make eye contact with the larger woman who is wearing the “approved swimwear” for plus-sized women, a maximum coverage bathing suit with built in skirt, like I used to wear. (Not that there is anything wrong with these swimsuits, if you are freely and shamelessly rocking them.) I see a twinkle of possibility in her eye. The twinkle of “if she can rock that bikini, maybe I can too?” and I know this because I have been there!

At my workshop other women reported that their relationships with their bodies are like that of an older sister who sometimes torments them, but ultimately loves them, or that they are best friends and supporting each other in health with compassion and love. And one woman shared that it feels like her and her body have been divorced for a very long time, but she is ready for the relationship to change.

If you were to define your relationship with your body, how would you describe it? I would love to hear! Just hit reply on this email or comment below. 🙂

 

And finally, HALIFAX – handstands and even more permission

During this tour I also got to travel to Halifax to attend the Yoga in the Schools Conference. It was incredible the number of women who brought up struggling with body shame in their personal introductions. I was so impressed with the general awareness at the conference of body positivity including: fatphobia, intuitive eating and skinny-shaming. There are still some things I would tweak, but I was pleasantly surprised. And I got to practice some beautifully deep asanas, going so deep that I removed my shirt to practice in my bralette at one point. (This was inspired by Jessamyn Stanley who seems to always be practicing in her bra. So thank you to Jessamyn for giving me permission!) My favourite moment of the conference was when we were practicing handstands and the woman I was partnered up with was convinced she wouldn’t be able to do one. So I showed her how I go up into a handstand and then right away she was up there too! It brought me to tears to see how lit up she was afterwards!

This idea of giving permission just seems to be showing up a lot lately. I feel that I am being given permission to be myself by watching all these inspirational people around me and I see others taking permission as they watch me growing and sharing more and more of my true self. And this is what I heard at the Halifax Body Love Yoga Workshop: You gave me permission to love my body as it is.”, “You gave me permission to buy a two-piece for the first time in my life.”, and “You gave me permission to rock a bikini post-babies!

But the comment that got me the most was from a woman who just seemed so ready for body love during the workshop. I could see the tears in her eyes when I was talking about how we can move towards loving our bodies right here and now without doing a single thing to change our bodies. And then next day she shared, Today is the first day that I have woken up and not thought bad thoughts in I can’t remember how long.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I love what I do.

Helping you on your body love journey means the world to me and I am ever so grateful that you let me be a part of it.

If you are outside of Yellowknife, I am hoping to offer online yoga workshops this month and you can answer a survey here to help me design the best workshop for YOU!

Plus, my Body Love Yoga Cards program is up and running and it is a great way for you to begin your body love yoga journey with just a few minutes of commitment each day.

And, soon, soon, soon, I will be launching my online body love yoga program, The Luscious Life Program. If you are interested in being the first to know when that happens to can reply to this email and I will add you to my special list. *hint, hint, there might be a bonus freebie in it for you!!!

Sending you so much love,

Krystal

 

 

Yoga for Anxiety and Insomnia

Legs Up the Wall (1)

 

 

I have heard from quite a few people that this season of change seems to be raising their anxiety. And I am definitely experiencing this too. That, and insomnia, my old friend, has come to visit me again. It is as if we all want to make some big moves, shake things up and see all of our dreams perfectly manifesting. And we want it right now!

All those seeds we had underneath winter’s snow are wanting to burst forth and immediately become full blown blossoms. But that’s not the way things happen. Things must sprout slowly. It must be the right timing. The necessary needs and nurturing must be met if our ideas are going to bloom into their full potential.

This drive to make things happen NOW is making us move faster, push harder, and lean into the future instead of being in the present.

All of this anxious energy combined with the increased sunlight in the evenings is creating the perfect recipe for insomnia for many of us. We’re wired but we’re also oh so tired.

Here are a few yogic techniques that we can use to help us through this time of transition.

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Vipariti Karani)

Legs Up the Wall

How

  1. You can use a bolster under your hips as I do in this photo, but if you are less flexible you might want to not use a bolster at all or use a lower form of support, like folded blanket. If your hamstrings are tighter you may also want to be a little farther away from the wall, rather than having your buttocks up against the wall. If you use support you will want to place 5-6 inches away from the wall to allow for your tailbone to float in this space.
  2. The easiest way to come into the pose is to kneel near the wall and place your buttocks against the wall and then roll into the pose. If this a try. It may take some practice to figure out the easiest way for you to come into the pose.
  3. Extend your legs up the wall feeling the weight of your legs into your hip joints. Feel your tailbone floating in the space between the wall and your support. And feel your pubic bone higher than your sternum.
  4. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat.
  5. Soften your eyes and stay here for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Roll out of the pose slowly.

Benefits

  • Can be done in bed
  • Balances hormones
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Lowers anxiety
  • Relieves back pain
  • Calms the mind
  • Reduces swelling in the legs and feet

Alternate Nostril Breathing

How

Follow along using this video on my YouTube channel of a simplified version of Alternative Nostril breathing.

Benefits

  • Balances left and right sides of the body and left and right brain
  • Calms the mind

Meditation for Grounding and Protection

How

Listen to this Meditation for Grounding and Protection inspired by Tamara Hawk.

Benefits

  • Help you to feel more grounded and safe
  • Lowers anxiety
  • Lowers high blood pressure
  • Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems

In general meditation also:

  • Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • Improves the immune system

Are there other things you do to help yourself when you are feeling anxious or experiencing insomnia? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Wishing you a calm mind and deep, restful sleeps,

XOX

Krystal

P.S. If you are looking for more ways wake up from our winter hibernation in a gentle and sustainable way, check out my Spring Retreat with Dr. Kyla Wright, ND and my spring yoga classes starting April 5, 2016.

 

All The Hot Pants – Yoga Pants Review

PicMonkey CollageI get so many compliments on my pants and so many questions asking where to get them. So I thought I would do a round-up of my favourite yoga pants so that you too can enjoy moving around in party pants all day long. I used to be so jealous of all of the fun new yoga pants out there until I found these companies. It seemed the only pants offered in plus-size were plain, old, boring black. And I wanted my ample ass to be outta this world in a galaxy pants.

IMG_5872

 

*This list is compiled from my personal experience. I didn’t receive any incentive from these companies to post about them. I just wanted to share the love of having super fun pants for your yoga practice.*

Fractal.9

When I found Fractal.9 I was overjoyed to see that they would make pants to your specifications from their Etsy site. Today Fractal.9 has their own website with sizes ranging from XS to 5XL and also have kids leggings in the same prints so if you want go matchy matchy with your child you could. They offer leggings, capris, shorts, shirts and headbands. The fabric feels nice and soft and I love the high waist. Their sweet cheeks shorts are super comfy for summer!

FRACTAL.9

 

From their website: “Fractal 9 is a brand created for every BODY. We welcome you to find the perfect way to express your inner beauty and strength with our unique patterns. Whether you’re a curvy girl, muscular build, or anything in between; we’ve got you covered! It is our belief that cute fitness wear should be offered to all, regardless of size or shape. Our goal is to create a judgement free shopping experience, spreading love and acceptance.”

Why they are Extra Awesome

Christine, Fractal 9’s owner is so AWESOME she encourages you to send your measurements for a custom fit at no extra charge!

My Current Wishlist

Starry Night Capris

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.26.19 PM

Lineage Wear

Lineage Wear has quickly become my go to for all the best pants. I started with their classic Peacock Pants and so many of my students have since bought them too, that we have joked about the Peacock Pants being our team uniform.

PicMonkey Collage 3

Lineage Wear has more than just pants. They have hoodies, jewelry, mugs and more. Their pants sizes range from XS to 4XL and are even more high waisted than Fractal 9, which I love! I also like their long mid-foot length of pant to help keep your feet warm during calmer practices.

From their website: “Lineagewear doesn’t believe in “one size fits all”. People are all shapes and sizes, clothing companies skew their size charts differently, and the BMI chart doesn’t take into account things like height, fitness level, or muscle tone. A hundred years ago, almost every piece of clothing you owned would have been tailor made to your specific measurements. That’s the type of fit we strive for with our leggings. We want our garments to fit true to size every time.

Please, don’t ever feel that there is something weird or wrong with YOUR body just because a garment doesn’t fit. YOU are perfect, YOU are beautiful!”  

Why they are Extra Awesome

Lineage Wear will ship for free anywhere in world on orders over $125. As a Canadian, that’s great news! Lineage Wear has a policy around environmental impact, fair employment, and is doing more and more to improve their business operations. They also raise money for different organizations including the National Eating Disorders Association.

On My Current Wish List

Semicolon Capris

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.27.41 PM

I love these. As someone who has lost friends to suicide and struggled with mental health, I am very supportive of the semicolon as a symbol of hope and support.

Just Curves

Just Curves is all about the ONEder Suit. The ONEder suit gives you the freedom of never wondering if your pants have started to head so far south during your practice that you end up showing a halfmoon rather than practicing halfmoon. As someone who is moving my body in different positions in front of large groups of people almost every day this is very important to me. This is exactly why Yolanda, the creator of the ONEder suit, designed this one piece bodysuit-leggings combo.

krystal_web-16

From their website: “Just Curves is body-positive activewear for women sizes 10-28. Every piece in the Just Curves collection is designed with your curves in mind. Constructed of high quality fabric and made in the U.S.A, Just Curves is chic, comfortable, and fashion-forward. Clothing is emotional. Whenever you put something on, you feel something about yourself and others feel something about you too. Why not feel sexy and confident while you’re working on your fitness? When you look good, you feel good, which boosts confidence, and helps you reach your goals, which is my mission for the woman wearing Just Curves. Designed with curves in mind, the ONEder Suit is a one-piece, open bust unitard that keeps your PANTS UP and your CONFIDENCE HIGH!  Just Curves is passionate about empowering plus size women through action to live their healthiest and happiest lives now…not 30 pounds from now.”

Why they are Extra Awesome

I love the lace prints. They make me feel extra fancy.

krystal_web-25

On My Current Wishlist

The new ONEder Suit

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.26.46 PM

 

Let me know if you give any of these pants a try and what you think.

Happy fun pants shopping!

XOX

Krystal

Free Meditation to Visualize Success in 2016

As a thank you gift from me to you I want to offer up a free meditation for visualizing success in 2016. 2015 has been a wonderful trip around the sun, filled with up and downs, but all of them valuable experiences. As the year ends I will be taking stock of my year; the lessons I learned that I want to take with me into 2016, as well as the things I want to leave behind because they are no longer serving me.

This guided meditation can help you to get clear on your goals for 2016. We will focus in on one goal and see clearly the successful outcome of this goal. This can be any goal you have for your life. It could be to have a regular meditation practice. A regular yoga practice. It could be to live more fully in the present moment. It could be a positive outcome for your health. It could be around a new job that you are searching for or perhaps improving the job you have. It could be goal to help improve the relationships in your life. Anything. 🙂

I hope you will join me. Share in the comments below what your goals are so we can cheer you on!

3

xoxo

Krystal

NEW HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Still looking for the right gift for the yogi or yogi-to-be in your life? Check out the Luscious Life’s NEW Holiday Gift Guide, including Yoga Therapy DVDs, Yoga Nidra CDs, New 2016 Yoga Therapy Programs and our upcoming retreat!
10% of profits from DVDs and CDs go to the Centre for Northern Families.

holiday gift guide

 

xoxo

Krystal

Uplifting Yoga for Winter Days [VIDEO]

uplifting yoga for winter days

 

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you probably can feel the shorter days affecting you? I know I can. Up here in the Northwest Territories it’s dark when I wake up and dark again by 4pm. Winter can sometimes have negative effects leading us to fear its arrival. However, winter can also be an opportunity to slow down, embrace being creative and connect with yin and kapha energies.

This short (10 min) winter yoga flow is for people for whom the darkness is scary and an unwelcome season in their life. For people who want to know how to channel or harness the winter energy. For people who want to let go of the past and move into the new year and the new light with new energy and new vision for their life.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 8.11.05 PM

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Krystal