A Neighbourhood Gem: Robson St. Yoga

Vancouver is known as the yoga capital of Canada. According to my wonderful yoga instructors, literally, in every corner you walk to, there’s a yoga studio tucked in somewhere.  True enough, if you’re in the heart of downtown Vancouver, you’ll find a yoga studio somehow and somewhere.

While staying in Vancouver a few months ago, I didn’t want to miss out on trying a yoga class. After all, I was in the yoga capital of Canada! In between my packed itinerary, I managed to squeeze in a little time for some yoga. To my joy, I found one a few steps away from my hotel on Robson Street, west end of Vancouver.

The location of this yoga studio is so discreet that if one passed by it, you wouldn’t notice it. The outside studio sign is mixed with other signs. It is located in a little market/plaza/mall called “Robson Public Market”.

2014-07-08 11.46.36

The yoga sign is on the side of this market, underneath the Canada Post sign

When I entered this building, I had no idea what to expect. I only had a feeling it wouldn’t be like the fancy studios that I’m used to due to its location.

2014-07-08 11.45.29

Robson St. Yoga shares space with an eclectic variety of shops

Robson St. Yoga is on the second floor, above the produce market. Yogis are greeted by this nice entrance with its logo sign plastered at the front, and leave their shoes outside before entering the yoga space.

2014-07-08 11.45.03

2014-07-08 11.24.31

To my pleasant surprise the yoga space was simply a basic room with minimal decoration (there are 2 photos of people doing a yoga pose, a buddha statue and a handmade yoga sign on the high back wall). The room was only big enough to fit in 12 people, which was why, I found out when I arrived, students were supposed to sign up online for a space in class. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in as the last student and pay the drop in fee ($15). Our yoga instructor had an iPad to sign all of us in. Another delightful surprise awaiting me was that yoga mats were provided for free and already laid out for every student who signed up. Instead of using my travel yoga mat, I decided to use one of these mats. I really liked this idea and after class, we just had to clean the mat with the studio’s spray and towel.

2014-07-08 11.22.35

Yoga mats already laid out for students

2014-07-08 11.22.57

A view of yoga room from the front

 

2014-07-08 11.28.05

Cleaning towel and spray provided for us to clean our yoga mats after class

I did the one hour “Morning Flow” class with Katy as my instructor. Since this was a morning class, it had an energetic pace to it and the poses were based on Ashtanga. Katy introduced me to a few new poses I’ve never done before and I really liked the way she taught us through her easy to follow instructions. Therefore, I felt even though I’ve never done these poses before I could do it! At the end of class, I felt rejuvenated and calm and could continue my hectic day of sightseeing around Vancouver. 🙂

At the end of class, I had a chance to chat with Katy about this studio, life and the simplicity of it all. I learned that the owner of this studio wanted to offer a quiet sanctuary that is easily accessible and affordable for everyone in the neighbourhood; hence, Robson St. Yoga was created. This is why only the locals know about it.

From my conversation with Katy, and this yoga studio, I learned that”less is more”. You don’t need a lot of fanciness to open a yoga studio or do yoga; all you need is a welcoming space (room) where the students feel safe to participate in an ancient healthy practise that’s good for the body, mind and soul. In the same way, keep life simple by following your heart and do what you love, and then you’ll find happiness and peacefulness: body, mind and soul.

I think Robson St. Yoga is a true reflection of the simplicity of life and the use of a purposeful space for community building.

I highly recommend this gem of a yoga studio to anyone living in or visiting Vancouver! 🙂

2014-07-08 11.25.06

This inviting table is placed in front of the entrance door, and allows anyone in the community to browse through the resources and learn a bit what yoga is all about.

To learn more about this yoga studio, visit http://www.robsonstyoga.ca

 

 

Advertisements

Lazy Sundays are Good for You!

To my dear readers:

The past 2 weeks have passed by like a whirlwind. I’ve been so busy adjusting back to my regular and new routines, also fitting in socializing and family times that I realize I am neglecting something very important in achieving work-life balance. It is ME!

Where I am, we have been blessed with warm summer-like weather for the past 2 weekends even though it’s Fall. Last Sunday I was thinking I should take advantage of the beautiful sunny day by doing something outdoorsy. However, I finally listened to what I really wanted and needed which was a lazy Sunday spent in my pajamas and doing nothing at all. I have been mentally and physically exhausted for a while now. My version of a lazy Sunday was being in my PJs and baking some goodies with the windows wide open so the sun can shine into the kitchen, while listening to peaceful music. Having a lazy Sunday all to myself made a world of difference for the rest of the week whether I am at work, exercising or being with other people. I felt more refreshed, energized and happier. 🙂

My lazy Sunday reminded me gently that all of us have to slow down once in a while and really listen to what our body and mind need to rejuvenate our soul. Having “Me” time allows us to enjoy and live in the moment and makes us feel more calmer, re-energized and confident in dealing with anything that comes our way in the upcoming days.

What is your version of a lazy Sunday? 😀

Wishing you all a happy beautiful Sunday & week ahead!! ❤

XO,

Violet

I found this awesome online poster on pinterest and it describes my version of lazy Sundays perfectly! Enjoy! :)

I found this awesome online poster on pinterest and it describes my version of lazy Sundays perfectly! Enjoy! 🙂

 

Mind Food: “Our body has the power to self-heal.”

The past week has been grueling from completing various deadlines at work, baking for a variety of events, to attending a few family celebrations (which I absolutely love).  I was literally rushing from one task or event to the next, with hardly any time to stop, breathe and think.  I feel as if I’ve been running on adrenaline for about a week now, and finally today my mentally and physically exhausted body told me to stop, think and listen to myself.  I’m reminded that I promised myself to focus on balancing my life, and right now my health and I am top priorities.  I was craving for some tranquility and relaxation, away from the hustle-bustle.  Without hesitation, I postponed an obligation because I realized that if I went there, I would simply exacerbate my exhaustion further.   Therefore, I escaped to one of my favourite places in the world: my regular go-to yoga studio.  It is a place where after a class, I feel rejuvenated, serene and balanced.

I’m happy I made the right decision to attend a yoga class today.  I met a fantastic instructor whom I have not taken a class with before, and found out why everyone raves about her.  She truly brings the term “yoga” to life.  A simple way to describe yoga is that it’s a union between body, mind and heart, and the continued practise of it brings  a sense of peace and well-being, and a feeling of being one with self, others and the environment.  This yoga instructor started our class with an “intention” (a promise we make to ourselves about what we intend to do, say, be etc. throughout our practise) which was that our own body has the capacity to self-heal.  Her intention for our class really resonated with me and I found it very thought-provoking, so I would like to share it with you here.  You don’t have to practise yoga to understand this message.  I believe it applies to everyone, whether you are beginning or already on your journey towards healthy and balanced living, in whichever way you choose to achieve this lifestyle.

My instructor said that we are conditioned and especially our mind to think that we need prescription drugs to heal, and that we can or cannot do certain things due to our age.  In other words, our mind limits the potential that is within us.  If we change the way we think, we can do anything and be able to broaden our horizon, which also includes the strong belief that our own body can heal itself naturally. Furthermore, we should let go of the fears, anger, self-hate, pain, and any other negative feelings and thoughts, bottled up inside us from past experiences and memories, and just focus on the present, opening up ourselves to the positivity and possibilities of life.

During class, I truly felt as if my body, mind and heart were one as I held the intention mindfully through every yoga pose.  Our body is indeed a powerful self-healing mechanism tied strongly to our mind.  You see, when I entered class, I felt weigh down by the past week’s grueling activities, hopeless towards the load of work waiting for me to be completed, and even restless.  However, at the end of class, my exhaustion and all the negative feelings and thoughts totally disappeared.  I felt re-energized and that I can accomplish anything to the best of my ability.  I just experienced that union of body, mind and heart:  As my mind rid itself of the “negative” energy, my heart was filled with self-belief and self-empowerment, and my body naturally felt more vibrant and strong.  That’s the power of positive thinking and self-healing!

Hope you find this mind food for thought meaningful and applicable for whatever stage you are at right now in your journey towards balanced living! 🙂

Namaste & Love, Violet

Power Within You

Grateful for Green Smoothie

I'm beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast!  I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs.  Yum!! :)

I’m beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast! I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs. Yum!! 🙂

In my search to find satisfying and healthy gluten-free breakfast, I came upon Kimberly Snyder’s book The Beauty Detox Solution- Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You’ve Always Wanted, and began reading it avidly.  I got inspired by her “Glowing Green Smoothie” (see her blog for recipe: http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/ggs/).  She claims that drinking a green smoothie or drink daily is the most powerful way to increase our mineral and enzyme consumption, which are critical to our health and beauty.  She says “green-based drinks are the real super foods- not exotic, expensive or hard-to-find fruits or plants from foreign countries.” (Chapter 4: Beauty Minerals and Enzymes)  Furthermore, dark, leafy greens are packed with many nutrients that are good for our bodies, and they’re better than any other food groups.  Basically, having vegetables, especially the greens (e.g. kale, spinach, celery etc.) and fruits will nourish us completely.  According to Health Canada, we should have at least 7-8 servings (if you’re female, and for males: 8-10 servings) of both fruits and vegetables per day (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/fruit/need-besoin-eng.php), which translates roughly into 2-3 servings of fruits and 7-8 servings of vegetables (I confirmed this information with my naturopathic doctor).   Therefore, having a nutritious and fiber filled green smoothie is such a great way to consume our vegetables and fruits early on in the day.

As I’m going gluten-free, I decided to give the green smoothie a try.  Although I am nowhere near in drinking one per day, I do drink it 2-3 times a week for my breakfast.  Perhaps, in the summer, I will challenge myself to drink Kimberly Snyder’s “Glowing Green Smoothie” every single day and see if it is true about becoming even more energized, more beautiful with radiant skin and leaner.  She claims these are all the positive health effects one will have in drinking it daily.  Keep you all posted on this!

Here’s a recipe that I tried with whatever ingredients I could find in my kitchen, primarily with the intention of making a “green” smoothie, and the result was quite refreshing.  It wasn’t as sweet as I usually prefer, but I was surprised I liked the taste and the energy boost I got from it!  I love how adding the fruits balances the taste of the greens.  So,  I am grateful for discovering the power of green smoothies for my breakfast! 🙂

VIOLET’S  GREEN SMOOTHIE   

Makes: 1 smoothie

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups of baby spinach

2 stalks of chopped celery (excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, fibre,  potassium, folic acid, fiber, vitamins B1, B2 & B6)

1 chopped nectarine

2 tablespoons chia seeds (makes the smoothie filling as it has protein, and provides 4.4 g of protein)

1 cup unsweetened cold almond milk (if you prefer a sweeter taste, go with original)

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

Instructions:

1. Put all ingredients (except the cacao nibs) into the blender and mix.

2. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and enjoy!

I’m discovering there are so many possibilities in making a “green smoothie” that it’s deliciously fun!!  I keep Kimberly Snyder’s mix and match rule in mind when creating a green smoothie:  “Your favourite fruits are your favourite go-to jeans and your leafy greens are your many different cute tops.  The jeans (fruits) are really the support for the fabulous, eye-catching tops (leafy greens) which are the most important part of the outfit.” 😀

What ingredients do you put in your green smoothie? 

Thanks & Love, Violet

*If you want to know the nutritional values and health benefits for the following ingredients, please see these links:

Baby Spinach: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258415-what-is-the-nutritional-value-of-baby-spinach/

Celery: http://www.foods-healing-power.com/celery-health-benefits.html

Nectarine: http://www.livestrong.com/article/408098-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-nectarines/

Cacao Nibs: http://www.livestrong.com/article/462015-benefits-of-cocoa-nibs/

The Best Drink in the World!

Good morning friends!

It’s the middle of the week, and some people may call it  “Slump Day”.  I used to be one of those people who think so.  However, as I slowly moved towards a healthy eating & balanced lifestyle, I no longer feel this way.  One of the reasons is this simple, small and yet very effective habit or action that I think contributed to my increased energy level throughout the day.  It is simply having a glass or cup of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon (about half of a lemon) every day, first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast. It works wonders!

I have been doing this for almost a year now, and let me tell you, I have never felt so alive, as if I can accomplish anything, even challenges thrown my way on a regular basis.  Today is one of those days, that I have like a million tasks that need to get done, but I feel I can do it all, and part of the reason is all due to my favourite and I think, the best drink in the world: Warm Lemon Water! 🙂

If you have not started this yet, I encourage and challenge you to give it a try now!!  Let me know how you feel in a few months! 😉

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!! 😀

Love, Violet

P.S. I found this awesome poster online that explains all the health benefits of drinking lemon water, enjoy!! 🙂

Lemon Water Benefits