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Behind the Scenes at The Luscious Life

This week I wanted to share with you a behind the scenes sneak peek of what goes on at The Luscious Life.

It’s an opportunity to check out:

  • a tour of our studio space, Remedy;  
  • children practicing yoga-based self-regulation at schools in Behchoko, NWT;
  • teens relaxing in yoga nidra; and
  • images of the fun times I have with my students.

 

http://https://youtu.be/92y_TP0gnbo

 

Is there anything that goes on behind the scenes at The Luscious Life that you are curious about? Share in the comments.

xox

Krystal

Trick or Treat: Ground Yourself with Bhu (BOO) Mudra

Bhu Mudra Meditation

In the spirit of Halloween I wanted to offer a fun, easy and short practice of Bhu Mudra meditation. See what I did there? Bhu mudra. Boo mudra.

In all serious, fall time can be a chaotic and busy time. Many of us are getting back into routines and filling up our schedules. Ayurvedically fall is a time that can cause vata imbalances. Vata is the air element of our constitution. Symptoms of a vata imbalance might be excessive worry and stress, difficulty making decisions, feeling scattered in your mind and light or unrestful sleep.

To help balance vata we need to ground. So today we will practice Bhu Mudra a very grounding and calming mudra. It is associated with your first chakra and can increase a sense of safety and stability.

Pose: Sukhasana

Mudra: Bhu

Affirmation: I am supported by the earth.

Check out the video here.

Tell me how this meditation makes you feel. Do you feel calmer afterwards?

Krystal

My 5 Top Tricks to Turn a Body-Loathing Day into a Body-Loving Day

We are always learning, always growing, always changing. Or at least life is always providing the opportunities for these things. In the beginning of my body love journey I thought, maybe one day I won’t have to think about this so much. Maybe one day I could fix this problem. Maybe one day all the mental, emotional and physical energy I put into loathing and punishing my body will be mine again. I used to wonder what people who didn’t have to work on their body (i.e. thin people) did with all the extra mental, emotional and physical energy that I was dedicating to the process of trying to comply with beauty and health standards. I know better now and I know that this struggle is definitely not one that “thin” people are immune to.  

I also know that loving your body is a lifelong journey.

That magical moment of never having body loathing or shame ever again will possibly, and probably, never come. Because if the world around me is forever changing, and my body continues to age and change, and my LIFE JOURNEY continues to follow its winding, bumpy and beautiful path, how could my relationship with my body remain unchanged? So that means there will be times when I might feel body-shame and body-loathing. Even as I work as a body positive advocate, there will still be these days. Yes, I put WAY less energy into hating, fixing and changing my body, and when I get the bad-body-feels they don’t last too long, but my relationship with my body will always be an ever-changing journey.

So I thought I would offer you my 5 top tricks to turn a body-loathing day into a body-loving day.

1 – Be a REBEL

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When I have thoughts of hating my body or that I am not good enough as I am to show up in the world, I like to use my rebellious nature to my advantage. I really don’t like being told what to do and I don’t do well with feeling like my choices are limited. Sometimes this part of my personality can be a challenge, but when it’s me and my self-limiting beliefs restricting me from living the life I want, I can take my inner-rebel and unleash her wrath on all that shame. ‘Take that negative self-talk! You can’t tell me what to do! I’m the boss of me!’

2 – Body Love Outfits

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I LOVE clothes and costume and make-up. I love using my body and face as a canvas for expressing my creativity. It is an important part of feeling free and authentic in my day to day life. However, big events that I get really excited about and create grandiose outfit visions for are often a trigger for my body-loathing. And the more excited I am, the more triggering they can be. Lately though, I have started doing this thing that’s changing it all. I’ll put on my ensemble of choice for the event, usually an ensemble that pushes me out of my comfort zone, and then I will stand in front of the mirror assessing the situation like I normally would. And the usual boring negative thoughts about my body may come up. If they do though, I say to myself and my body, “I am going to love you. I do love you. And I am going to keep loving you so hard that you will rock this outfit. I will love it so hard that everyone else will just have to get on board. This is a body love outfit.” And then I rock that outfit HARD!

3 – Move it and Lose it (the Loathing that is)

When I move my body in ways that feel nurturing, empowering, and delicious, I forget about all that body loathing and start enjoying my body here, exactly as it is, in the present moment. I forget about what I look like. I don’t care about how my body appears. I care only about how good it feels to exist in my body. Yoga asana is absolutely a practice that brings me back to loving and appreciating my body. But I also could truly dance forever. Dancing fills my soul and I feel most free when my body and mind are lost in moving to the music. When I move my body I feel free, I feel strong and I feel powerful.

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4 – Through My Eyes

When I am hating on my body, sometimes it is good for me to remember how I see the world. Where do I see beauty in the world? It shows up in a smile. In the warmth of a breeze on my skin. In feeling seen and heard and supported by my loved ones. It has nothing to do with conventional and commercial concepts of beauty. I fall in love with people for their humour, their incredible mind, and their heart. These things have nothing to do with the way they look. So maybe the way I look isn’t really that important in being able to show up in the world and be loved.

Anahata Mudra

5 – Flawed and Imperfect and That’s Okay

On that note, there are days where the positivity can’t drown out the negative thoughts. Days where I feel like I am not enough. Where I feel like I am not good enough to show up in the world. On those days, I let go. I accept that maybe, just maybe, I can still show up in the world as my flawed and imperfect self and maybe I can let people love me anyway. Maybe I can even let people love me because of those flaws and imperfections. And I turn to this quote from the wise Brene Brown, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.”

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So that is my wish for you – to allow people (even yourself) to love you “flaws”, “imperfections” and all!

Krystal

Thoughts on Practicing Yoga in a Bigger Body

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Twice now I have had the honour of being a part of the Chat, Chew and YOU sharing body positive yoga. While preparing for the last show, I took some time to think about what it’s been like practicing yoga in a bigger body and what I maybe wish I had known back when I started, what I wish I had access to when I started, and what my yoga practice has done for my relationship with my bigger body. I want to share those thoughts with you today.

First of all, everyone has access to the benefits of yoga, any body any size and any ability. If you can consciously observe your breath you can do yoga. See Yoga is Not Just Asana.

However, I totally get the intimidation around starting yoga or any movement practice in a bigger body. When I started going to yoga classes, I was always the biggest body in the room. And even today as a teacher, I am often the biggest body in the room. Most yoga classes out there focus on asana and moving your body can make you more aware of it. Which can be a big trigger when you loathe your body and can bring on increased feelings of body shame.

This is why finding the right teacher is so important. You want a teacher who doesn’t 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.

It’s also important that your teacher be well versed in the many variations and modifications of poses. If they are a bigger bodied person they are more likely to have found modifications that will work for bigger bodies, but it is really on the yoga instructor (of any size) to learn modifications and offer them to their students. It is on the teacher to meet their students where they are. On the other hand, I also highly encourage you to modify during class for what works for you, even if the teacher doesn’t offer it. You know your body best and you know what works best for your body.

 

When you find the right teacher and the right space to begin a yoga practice, how can yoga help you make peace with your body?

  • Find pleasure in moving your body in the moment and not some future benefit
  • Find peace through connection to breath
  • Learn to be in the present moment because the present is where our power lies
  • Learn to observe your thoughts, question them or accept them, and not to attach too much value to those thoughts, especially if they are self-harming thoughts
  • Stimulate your body’s relaxation response for increased energy and a sense of peace

And eventually this will hopefully lead to:

  • Creating a space to appreciate your body for everything it can do and everything it does for you
  • Noticing where your body is strong and capable and focusing on that
  • Seeing your body as an ally, not an enemy you have to be at war with
  • Seeing your worth as more than a number on a scale
  • Redefining health – My definition of health includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. You can be healthy at any size. There’s even an organization dedicated to this topic called “Health at Every Size”. Check it out. 🙂

If you would like to continue, or even start, your yoga journey, I have an online meditation program called Daily Luscious ReTreats that would be a great place to start or to deepen your yoga practice. The 21-day program talks you through the meditation process from learning how to meditate to themes of gratitude and unconditional love. Sometimes as we rush around trying to be everything, we forget to JUST BE! Breathe and just be.
 
Daily Luscious ReTreats is here to give you that time to just be!

For more info on the program click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. I will be revamping my online programs soon so this meditation program will only be available until August 31, 2015.

I’d love to hear about your yoga journey and any questions you might have. Write me any time.
Krystal

 

Yoga is not just asana!

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First of all I just want to say thank you from the very bottom of my heart

for all the lovely responses I got to my last post. It was truly overwhelming and uplifting in the best way possible. Hearing that my message that you are enough touched so many of you gives me the boost I need to keep going. Because along with the feeling of not being enough, I often question whether I am making the difference in the world that I wish for or if there is a better way for me to make a difference. So your feedback is everything to me. Basically, I really need you guys!

So with the idea of promoting mental health and the hope of making yoga seem more accessible (Yoga is not just asana!), I wanted to share three benefits I feel from my meditation practice. And if it inspires you to meditate today, then I have attached a link to one of my online meditations. 🙂

 

Only Love and Compassion

Sometimes it can feel like any action I take may have a negative effect in the world, even if my intention is positive. So my meditation practice can feel like this huge sigh of relief. I feel that as I sit in meditation I am only bringing good into the world. All I feel is love and compassion for myself and others, and I like to start my daily action in this way.

 

Connection

It has been said before about meditation and I will say it again here: I feel connected to everyone and everything during and sometimes even after my meditation. One of the teachings of yoga is that suffering and disease come from feeling separate. When we feel isolated, alone and unsupported in our world we tend to be on constant alert for threats and our stress levels rise. Feeling connected helps us see others’ pain as our pain. It builds compassion. It builds community. We are not alone.

 

Present with What Is

When we sit in meditation we are forced to be present with what is – what is happening in our mind, what kind of thoughts are we thinking (or trying not to think), what kind of sensations are we feeling in our body today, how easily our breath is flowing or not flowing. This can be scary sh*t. As the men of Dhamma Brothers expressed, Vipassana meditation was harder than being on death row. But being in the present is where we have power. The past has already happened and the future has not happened yet. The place where we can effect change in in the present and my meditation practice brings me there.

If you would like to give a meditation a try here is my 10 minute meditation on Loving Kindness.

Please share any thoughts you have on this post with me. The make me the happiest!

Love,
Krystal

Celebrate Mother’s Day With Yoga

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It’s Mother’s Day this weekend! Time to celebrate the women who brought us into this world, and what better way to do that than with some yoga. 😉

Check out my ideas for how you can share yoga with the Moms in your life below.

Moms-To-Be and New Moms

For the Moms-To-Be and the New Moms in your life, I am just releasing my brand new Mom and Baby Yoga Nidra CD this very weekend! The CD has three audio tracks, including:

    • Baby Bonding, connecting you to the magic and power of the life growing within you;
    • Beautiful Birth, helping you to visualize a beautiful birth; and
    • Mom Time, giving you some time for yourself after the baby has arrived.

Yoga Nidra is one of the most powerful and relaxing yoga practices. I know the Moms will LOVE it!

Moms with Kids

For the moms with younger children, you can give yourself the gift of sharing my Yoga-Based Games for Kids E-book. Set your kids up with the e-book and then take a few moments of quiet to yourself. If you want even more of a guarantee of entertaining these little ones, or perhaps some help getting them to bed, check out the guided relaxation audio that is included right in the e-book!

Moms with Teens

Moms of Teens might enjoy doing a Partner Yoga practice with their child. Partner Yoga offers a fun way to spend time together, create memories and learn new ways of communicating and supporting each other. If you are looking for some ideas, check out this great resource for partner yoga ideas.

Moms who want to Connect

Meditation is typically seen as a solo activity, but when you practice together you are each holding the space of meditation for the other. Doing a meditation together gives you the shared experience, which can then be discussed after the meditation is complete. If you are looking for a meditation, you can check out my meditation on Unconditional Love here.

Moms who want some Alone Time

For Moms who really need some downtime, a restorative pose (like the one pictured above hugging a bolster) and some yoga nidra can really help you forget about any troubles in your world. I have some free Yoga Nidras up on my YouTube channel or you could gift your mom my original Yoga Nidra CD, Yoga Nidra from the Heart.

I will be at the Yellowknife Trade Show this weekend with all of my CDs and DVDs. I would love it if you stopped by my booth to say hello!

Let me know what you plan to do to celebrate your mom in the comments.

Have a great weekend Moms!

Krystal

Tips for Developing a Home Yoga Practice (Infographic)

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Yoga is essentially an inquiry. An inquiry into ourselves. An inquiry to observe our actions and reactions. An inquiry to get to know ourselves a little better.  An inquiry to tolerate the consequences of being ourselves a little more. And hopefully an inquiry to LOVE ourselves a little more.

A home and personal yoga practice is essential to receive all of these benefits. The experience is yours. The practice is yours. You get to shape it into whatever you need, whatever you want.

OWN IT! The journey of self-inquiry is profound and endless.

Below are some of my best tips to get you started on this rich path to deeper SELF LOVE in your home yoga practice!

1. Give yourself the gift of space

Creating a space at home or the office where you will do your practice can help remind you of your intentions and also encourage you to practice. Knowing that you have a space that you can use can be half of the battle. And the more you practice in it, the more that space will remind you of how good you feel during and after your practice. Your space can be filled with your props and any other visual cues like an altar or a poster displaying an intention or affirmation. Often anxiety about the other obligations we have in our life can overpower our desire to begin or maintain our own home daily practice so having those visual cues of your dedication can be very helpful. Give yourself the gift of creating a little space in your life and in the day that will be a sacred practice for self-care.

2. No rules

A yoga practice is just that, a practice and twenty minutes of daily yoga practice is more likely to show positive results sooner than two hours of occasional practice. So allow yourself to let go of a rigid idea of what your home daily yoga practice should look like and see if there are any natural breaks in your day that might lend themselves to begin a practice with the time available.

3. Listen

Take some time at the beginning of your practice to notice how your body is feeling. Are there places in your body where you need to release tension and stretch? Are there place that need more gentleness and compassion? Do you have energy you need to release? Also notice what is happening in your mind. What kind of mood are you in today? What kind of thoughts are you thinking? Are there any shifts you would like to make in your mind that your yoga practice could help you with? Notice your breath too. Your breath can be an excellent indicator of how you are doing. Is your breath fast or shallow? Are you able to breath easily into all parts of your torso? Use this information to get a feel for what you need from your practice each day.

4. Use your breath

Use your breath at the beginning of your practice to clear your mind, setting the intention that you will be present with your body, mind and breath for your whole practice. You can begin with deep belly breaths and work into a three-part breath or ujjayi breath.

5. Choose Your Asana

Asanas are the poses we do in our yoga practice. For your asana practice it is nice to start with some poses to warm up your body like the six movements of the spine (cat/cow, side stretch and twists) and a few sun salutations. From there you could move into other poses based on how your body and mind are feeling that day. You can get ideas for which poses to do by making some mental notes in class on how the different poses make you feel and which ones you like or feeling like might be healing for you. If want some more help and guidance with a personalized therapeutic home practice, you could see me for Private Yoga Therapy Sessions.

6. Get Creative

  • Have kids and find it hard to make time for your practice? Make your yoga practice “Family Fun Time”.
  • Standing in line at the grocery store? Come into Tadasana and take a few conscious breaths.
  • Feeling tension in your neck and shoulders at work? Take a five minute break and do the 6 movements of your spine right from your office chair.
  • Having trouble sleeping? Lay in your bed and swing your legs up the wall coming into the Great Rejuvenator, Vipariti Karani.

Infographic - Tips for your home yoga practice

EARTH WEEK 2015 CELEBRATION – FREE MEDITATION AND YOGA CLASS!

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As a celebration of this lovely planet that supports our needs every day, The Luscious Life is offering you a free online meditation to Connect with the Earth. This meditation will deepen your connection to the earth, allow you to feel the energy of the earth and send some love back. Check it out here!

Also, there will be a FREE Yoga Class with the lovely Anneka Westergreen as part of Ecology North’s Earth Week celebrations. The class is at the Collective Soul Space, Tuesday April 21, 12-1pm. Hope to see everyone there!

Last but not least, there are still a few spots left in the new round of Next Level Yoga: Invert Yo’self. Inversions can improve circulation, increase immunity, reenergize and relax you. And they can be TONS O’ FUN! It starts on Wednesday, and you can register online here!

And let us know what you are doing for Earth Week in the comments below! Happy Earth Week 2015 everyone!

Tips for Your First Yoga Class

Curious about yoga but afraid to try it out?

I will be offering a new round of my Empowerment Yoga for Beginners class, starting April 19th, and I know that yoga can be intimating if you’ve never tried it before. However, yoga is a beautiful practice that can be beneficial to your overall health. Here are a few tips for your first yoga class to ensure that your experience as a beginner is as smooth, beautiful and healing as can be!

Short version - yoga tipsTip 1: Be an earlybird

We all have our zone of comfort and arriving early to       meet with the teacher, set yourself up, and pick your favourite spot, will help you begin your first class from a more relaxed place.

Tip 2: Dress for comfort

Speaking of comfort, you want to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and that will also allow you to move your body. Dressing in layers is a great idea because, depending on the style and flow of the class, you may be warmer or cooler. Most classes end with a pose called Savasana, where you will be laying on the floor in a relaxed state for a few minutes, and you don’t want to miss out on the bliss that is Savasana by being chilly.

Tip 3: It’s about Practice, not Perfection

Please do not worry about what the other students’ poses look like or even how the teacher appears in the pose. Every body is different and every body has different needs. Always practice in a way that is minimizing your risk for injury while maximizing the benefits of yoga. One of my favourite things to remind students about is that we always adapt the poses for our body’s needs rather than trying to adapt our body to the pose. Yoga is a practice not a state of perfection.

Tip 4: Choose wisely

How do you know how to adapt a pose? Look for a teacher who will offer modifications for any needs you might have like an injury, illness or life stage. This goes back to 1 – Be an earlybird so that you can discuss any needs or concerns with your teacher. It’s also a great idea to check out the different styles of yoga offered where you live online beforehand so that you can make an informed choice. Not all styles of yoga are the same so you want to choose the best one for your needs.

Tip 5: The 8 limbs of Yoga

Most classes focus on the physical aspect of yoga, asana, or poses. In truth, asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga, which also include guidance for everyday life, breathwork and meditation. Asana was primarily developed to allow the yogis to sit in meditation for longer periods of time. So I invite you again to let go of worrying about how “perfect” your poses are, and maybe notice more what is happening in your mind during your asana practice. How we show up for yoga is how we show up for life.

Tip 6: “I really regret going to yoga” said no one EVER!

Yoga is an incredible practice offering so many benefits to our bodies, minds and spirits when it is practiced safely and with awareness.

I hope this guide helps you to feel ready to start your own yoga journey and I hope to see you on a yoga mat soon! You can register for my upcoming beginner class here.

Love,

Krystal

Try these fun spring detox yoga sequences!

Welcome Spring!

Can you feel it in the air? I can! There is an energy and an excitement as the world comes back to life. Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal; a time to clear out the old and make way for the new. In our Next Level Yoga Series we are practicing a fired up, core strengthening, twisting and third chakra focused sequence, using the element of fire to burn through this past season’s energy so that we can move forward.

I wanted to let you all in on our practice with these short sequences that you can do from home.

Do you have other favorite twists? What do you do to get fired up? I wanna know. Drop me a line in the comments.

Happy Spring!

Krystal