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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.

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Swamp goddess photoshoots.

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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.

 

 

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Found on a wall in Nipissing.

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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

 

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and unapologetically spending ALL my time in my bikini.

 

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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

 

 

RADICAL INTENTIONS FOR SELF-LOVE

Happy New Year everybody!

with RADICAL INTENTIONS FOR SELF-LOVE

In my blog this week I am revisiting a post from 2 years ago, “Radical Intentions for Self-Love”. It was one of the first blog posts I ever wrote and I still believe in the message.

With the New Year comes reflection and projection. We look back on our year and assess how we did, how we felt and what did we achieve and we use this information to dream and scheme about what we want for our lives in the coming year.

I love this process. I am a big fan of learning as much as I possibly can from my experiences. And I am kinda addicted to planning. Seriously. It’s one of my favourite procrastination and stalling techniques for when I am about to launch into something scary and that my heart is attached to. From all of this reviewing and planning we start to develop goals for the next year. And goals can be very healthy and helpful guideposts for how we want to live our lives.

In the loving your body to wellness world, the New Year and the New Year’s resolutions that come with it are dangerous territory. It can seem like everyone around us is setting food restriction and exercise regimen resolutions. It’s tempting to jump on board.

But most of these New Year’s resolutions have been “broken” by January 15. Setting you up to feel like a failure and that’s definitely not my wish for the start of my 2016.

Instead of New Year resolutions, I would like to offer the concept of New Year intentions.

Resolutions are hard. Immutable. Breakable. There isn’t much room to listen to your body’s wisdom. There isn’t much room to respond to the inevitable unplanned and unforeseen events in our lives. There isn’t room to change our minds. There isn’t much room to learn and grow into a different way of being.

Intentions are open. Responsive. Present. They create space for possibility. Intentions are grounded in listening and being present with what is. They grow as we grow. This is not to say that we cannot bring discipline to our intentions. My favourite definition of discipline is practicing what is possible with consistency. And what a beautiful way that is to think of our intentions, practicing what is possible with consistency!

The Power of Self-Love

Taking this one step further, I’d love to suggest that the intentions be grounded in self-love. We may have a desired change that will come from this intention, but does it pass the self-love and self-compassion test?

  • Will you be able to listen and respond to your body’s needs?
  • Will you experience pleasure as you practice your intention?
  • Will you be living in the present moment?
  • Will your intention help you find greater contentment and gratitude?

Here’s an example of a Resolution versus an Intention:

Resolution – Stop eating sugar to be healthier

The morning of January 4th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. When you get to the office, your co-worker has brought in some delicious looking treats and after the morning you had you just can’t resist. You feel horrible. You feel like a failure. You ate the “bad” sugary food and now you feel bad.

Result = Resolution broken

Intention – Be more present in the moment so that you are eating intuitively and listening to your body’s needs.

The morning of January 4th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. But on the drive to school and work you remember your New Year’s Intention to be more present in the moment and so you take a deep, slow breath and begin to notice the beauty around you. Your kids. The scenery. The anticipation of getting back to work. And once at the office, still living in the present moment, you are offered a delicious looking treat. Rather than feeling like it is the distraction you have to have after that stressful morning, you get to choose whether you want to eat it. You are not good or bad if you eat it. You just eat it or you don’t.

Result = You immediately feel the benefit of this intention and feel empowered to keep up the PRACTICE.

So take the pressure off with a smaller number of New Year’s Intentions that can be reasonably achieved and still make profound changes in your life. Here are a few suggestions of Radical Intentions for Self-Love!

Radical Intentions for Self-Love

  • Let go of worrying about what others think.

Not everyone will like you or always like the choices you make. Stay true to your values and know that you are doing the right thing.

  • Don’t “Should” all over yourself.

As in, “I should go to the gym today”. “Should” represents some externally imposed expectation and comparing ourselves to a perceived cultural ideal and can make us resentful of our own imposed requirements to be a “better” person. Instead of “should” statements ask yourself, “What would be most loving to myself right now?”.

  • Accept what is.

When we accept what is we allow ourselves to be in the flow with life rather than resisting what is. There are things that we can change about our lives, but often it takes time to make those changes and we have to be patient with ourselves. And then there are the things we can’t change. For both the things we can and the things we can’t change, accepting what is releases us from wasting all that time and energy getting frustrated and annoyed.

  • Be in the present moment.

Probably one of the most powerful intentions you could practice. Being in the present moment lowers stress levels, opens you up to more joy, allows you to make better choices, and let’s you see the beauty around you.

What are your Radical New Year Intentions? How will you be practicing great self-love in 2016?

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!

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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.

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Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Krystal

 

How to Love Your Body Through the Holidays

The Reverse Bucket List (1)

The holidays are a peak time for finding yourself in situations that trigger feelings of body shame:

  • all of the chaos and busyness;
  • seeing family you haven’t seen in awhile who think they can freely offer up their opinions on your body;
  • large group meals;
  • food focused events; and
  • New Year, New You pressures.  

I know some of you might even be feeling anxiety about the holidays and your body before we even get there. And I too am starting to get anxious. So for me and for you, here are some posts we can put in our Body Love Toolbox to get through the holidays loving our bodies as best we can and hopefully nip any body loathing feelings in the bud.

  1. From Adios Barbie: How to Stay Body Positive Through the Holidays

I particularly liked the idea of the redirect – when someone inevitably brings up weight loss or their great new diet, try to redirect the conversation back to less body-shaming territory. Like when your friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, try “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!

If you are feeling bold, or just over any shame-y comments friends or loved ones might send your way, instead of the redirect, go for the the directActually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.

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  1. From A Healthy Paradigm: A Body Positive Guide to the Holidays

Being mindful is a great strategy for staying sane and shame-free for the holidays: Mindful of your body’s needs; mindful of how you are feeling; mindful of what you are eating; mindful of your thoughts; mindful of how you are moving your body; and mindful of your environment and any changes you might need to make. Check out the article for more great tips.

  1. From Huffington Post: 4 Tips to Stop Holiday Body Shaming

Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh. These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. For our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So I love the tip of openly talking about body-shaming if you are feeling up to pushing against societal norms. And if you are feeling keen you could arm yourself with some data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

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  1. From Persephone Magazine: 5 Body Positive Gift Ideas

This fun list of body positive gift ideas includes some great books and I would add to that list, Dietland, by Sarai Walker, which is an interesting take on flipping the script of our patriarchal society. But I gotta say the Yay! Scale is my fav. After smashing my actual scale a while ago, I’m ready for a more accurate scale that let’s you know how you’re doing this morning from “Lookin’ fine!” to “Hey sexy!”

  1. From Psych Central: Create Your Own Body Positive Traditions

This article offers up some great ideas for creating our own body positive traditions around the holidays to help keep the body-shame at bay. I think I will try the idea of writing a love letter to my body extending gratitude to my body for everything it did for me in 2015 and dreaming about everything I hope we can experience in 2016. Anyone want to join me on this one?

What is in your Body Love Holiday Toolbox? What ideas will you try?

Wishing you all lots of body love this holiday season,

Krystal

P.S. Give the gift of a Personalized Yoga Nidra this holiday 2018! Orders must be place by December 18, 2018 to receive your gift before December 25, 2018.

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

Women Who Rock My World – Happy International Women’s Day!

 

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Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day was yesterday and in celebration I thought I would highlight five BAD ASS women who totally rock my world and are rocking the body positive movement. If you aren’t following them already, today’s the day to get inspired!

For some next level body positive yoga inspiration check out these two ladies! They are my two favourite yogis to follow on Instagram.

Mynameisjessamyn

I have been following Jessamyn Stanley for a while. This girl doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She takes it on! Watching her progress has inspired me so much and I know it will inspired you too. I also love the realness of her videos: yoga in your living room dressed only in your undies!

Biggalyoga

I’m newer to following Valerie’s yoga journey, but she does not disappoint. She’s got a wicked sense of humour and as she says “Anything you can do, I can do almost”.

Taryn Brumfitt

I traveled from Yellowknife down to Victoria just to see this woman! She is a powerhouse! Taryn’s Kickstarter Campaign for her Embrace documentary was the third most successful in the world and THE MOST successful in Australia. Thanks in part to Ashton Kutcher blogging about it. If you haven’t seen the Embrace trailer yet, check it out here. And learn more about Taryn’s Body Image Movement here.

Jade Beall

Jade Beall is a woman bursting with life, joy and creative feminine power! When she is in the room, you feel it. You have probably seen her stunning black and white photos of nude woman post-pregnancy. Their rawness and realness captures so beautifully not only the soft, caring side of motherhood, but also its strength and power. Jade’s amazing body of work can be found here. Please don’t get mad at me if you get lost in the photos for hours.

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday blew my mind! I met Tess at The Body Love Conference, organized by the AMAZING Jes Baker. Tess was the keynote speaker for the event. I believe she said it was her first time giving a speech like that. She seemed a bit nervous at first, but as she started to tell us her story, we were right there with her on the journey. Spontaneous declarations of love and support began to come from the audience. And we all wept for the pains she shared with us that day. Now Tess is the first plus-sized model to score a major contract with a modeling agency, MiLK Model Management, and her #effyourbeautystandards campaign is a global movement.

Believe me this list could have been WAY longer, but I cut myself off. Who inspires you? I want to know what I’ve been missing out on! 😉

I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating women.

Krystal

Bonus shout out to Sonya Renee Taylor of This Body is Not an Apology just cuz. She rocks hard and inspired last summer’s Bikini Body Project. Oops I think I actually mentioned 7 women in this post.