Laveanne Lavender Fields: A Touch of Provence

This summer for me is a time of exploration in my own country’s backyard and to my delight, I didn’t have to venture far to discover something extraordinary. Lavender fields! Laveanne Lavender Fields is about an hour away from Toronto.

My friend Karolina joined me on this adventure one warm sunny July day.

We decided to take the scenic route to get to Laveanne, as opposed to the highway and we were in for a treat. We not only passed by little charming towns, but also saw so many greenery and rolling hills. The further away we were from Toronto, the more surreal it felt that we were travelling somewhere abroad.

When we stepped onto the property of Laveanne, we felt like we were transported into the lavender fields in Provence, France. The view of more than 10, 000 lavender plants was breathtaking and the fragrance of them were definitely in the air.

At Laveanne, July is blossom month. I was glad that I took some time out during July to visit this lovely haven with Karolina.

laveanne_field.jpg

We started our early morning at the charming boutique and were in heaven browsing through so many lavender products, mostly made on site. Then we strolled through the plant nursery. Finally we stopped in front of the big maple tree outside and were greeted by our yoga teacher, Elizabeth. She guided us on a 60 minute gentle yoga class outdoors and then a 30 minute meditation walk through the lavender labyrinth. Elizabeth gave her students an option to walk through the labyrinth barefoot or with shoes. I chose barefoot, so I can feel more connected to nature, and at the same time draw energy from earth, which is a practise known as “earthing”. I loved how earthing was combined with the walking meditation here!

2017-07-25 15.53.52

laveanne_nursery.jpg

2017-07-25-15-24-35.jpg

2017-07-25 15.01.09

At the end of yoga class, we visited the pop-up restaurant on the terrace, overlooking the lavender fields, and enjoyed a variety of lavender infused food. Everything was so delicious!

2017-07-25 12.29.47

laveanne_restaurant.jpg

2017-07-25 12.59.10

2017-07-25 14.07.04

We originally anticipated spending a few hours here and ended up spending the whole day! We took time to stroll through the fields, take photos, and bask in the sun on one of the benches. Time seemed to just slip away quietly in this beautiful and tranquil environment.

laveanne_bench.jpg

In the words of Karolina, “I felt like I was at a spiritual retreat.” Truer words were never spoken. Laveanne is a sweet haven where one can find peace and beauty away from the hustle bustle of city life, and feel rejuvenated body, mind and spirit at the end of the visit.

Laveanne_butterfly

Advertisements

Top 4 Natural Home Remedies for Cold

Part of the reason that I haven’t been feeling well has to do with me getting the cold and losing my voice.  After a few months of being strong, despite many people around me getting the cold, I finally succumbed to it.  I didn’t want to go see my family doctor; I knew he would just prescribe me some antibiotics from past experiences.  Too much antibiotics is not good for the body, and I didn’t want any of them in my body.  I wanted to self-heal from this cold using natural ingredients, and see if they would work.  Amazingly, I did get better in a week! 🙂

Below, I will share with you 4 natural remedies that were helpful for me in combating and getting better from the cold.  Please keep in mind, this list is for informational purposes and based on my own experience; I am not a medical professional.  If you have any questions and/or concerns, please consult your doctor, before you try any of these.

1. TURMERIC HOT WATER

I learned from my cooking instructor that turmeric is anti-inflammatory and she has a glass of hot milk with turmeric every night.  She says her nightly turmeric drink has helped to boost her immune system and she feels healthy all the time.  As soon as I felt the beginnings of a sore throat (often the first sign of a cold), I decided to give the turmeric a try.  Instead of putting it into milk, I decided to add 1 teaspoon of it to hot water.  I had one cup daily of this for a week, and believe it is one of the reasons I feel better quickly. 🙂

2. RAW HONEY LEMON WATER

When my sore throat persisted, I began adding raw honey into my daily morning lemon water.  I learned that raw honey (not heated, pasteurized or processed) is an alkaline-forming food with natural vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. Furthermore, its antibacterial properties is perfect in treating a sore throat, as the honey coats the throat and eases the irritation.  To my delight, I discovered that pairing up 1 tablespoon of raw honey with half a freshly squeezed lemon into a hot/warm cup of water is such a natural soother for the sore throat.

3. HONEY DATES & AMERICAN GINSENG TEA

My brother is currently studying Traditional Chinese Medicine and he was the one who recommended me to drink this concoction after he diagnosed my tongue and heard my cough.

Here is an excellent link to the benefits of the ingredients in this tea and how to make it:

http://soupqueen.blogspot.ca/2007/07/cough-cure-american-ginseng-and-honey.html

4. SLEEP

Last but not least, the most important natural remedy is allowing our body to rest and recover on its own.  Despite my healthy eating and regular exercise routine, I knew I was lacking in sleep during the past few weeks due to various reasons.  When I finally lost my voice in addition to the above two symptoms of the cold I mentioned, I knew my immune system was endangered.  Therefore, I decided to take two days off from work.  I was lucky those days were attached to the weekend so I had four days to fully rest both my body and voice at home, and by Monday, I was almost back to normal. 🙂

Baby-Sleep

Here are 2 links that I found helpful in explaining why sleep is so important to our health.  Sleeping well is definitely one of the keys in maintaining good health.  Check it out when you have time:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health

Surya Kriya: Discovering the Classical Roots of Yoga

At the Surya Kriya Program,  Toronto, July 2013

At the Surya Kriya Program, Toronto, July 6-7 2013

Over the first weekend of July, I attended a two-day yoga program/workshop organized by Isha Foundation.  I learned about this non-profit and non-religious yoga organization when I attended the Yoga Show in Toronto with 2 of my yoga friends a few months ago, and was attracted by the intensive teacher training program it offered to aspiring yogis/yoginis like me. 🙂  Therefore, I kept in touch with this foundation and learned that it was offering a program in Toronto, so of course I signed up for it!

Although I had no idea what kind of program I signed up for, I found the title “Surya Kriya” very mysterious and its name promising me further enlightenment of yoga.  I was super excited and thrilled to attend the workshop and didn’t mind the fact that I had to practise yoga on an empty stomach for both days.  Each day was 4 hours long of yoga practise.  As it turned out, I was in for a pleasant and new yoga experience!

Firstly, my perception of yoga has changed as a result of this unique learning experience.  I didn’t realize that the yoga I have been practising is actually a fusion of or modified versions of classical yoga poses.  For example, I’ve always done the Cat Stretch in 3 steps in my yoga studio.  Boy, was I in for a surprise, when I learned that the Cat Stretch can be stretched into 9 steps at this workshop!  It’s truly yoga in its purest classical form.  Lastly, I have learned that yoga should be part of my daily life and can be practised at home.  Prior to this workshop, I would schedule to go to my yoga classes 2-3 times a week, and practise yoga only at the studio.  From this workshop, I discovered that the most powerful yoga practise is when you can do it every day, which becomes daily routine like brushing teeth in the morning.

Now, I will share with you a few things that really stood out for me in the Surya Kriya Program, which has helped to deepen my understanding of yoga & practising it:

1. Yoga is not exercise.  It’s a body, mind and spirit experience, where we become whole with the universe.

~On our second day of the workshop, I felt this body/mind/spirit connection when we were asked as we practised our Surya Kriya routine, to visualize (mind) our better self (spirit) performing the poses perfectly, as we are doing it (body) simultaneously.  All 3 should always be active during yoga.

 

2. Yoga practise is internal cleansing.

 

3. Yoga is an enhancement of perceptiveness.

 

4. Practise yoga with devotion and reverence.

 

5. Wearing loose and comfortable cotton clothing is best.

 

6. There is no ego in yoga.

~Unlike the studio I go to for my yoga classes, this workshop is held in a huge room with no mirrors.  Sadhguru, the founder of Isha Foundation, explains that we need to be simple, back to the origins, when practising yoga.  We don’t need mirrors to watch ourselves to be the best or even use any props to help us achieve certain poses.  We simply let go of our ego, and listen to our inner self/voice, and try our best and do poses at our own pace or level.  We do not need to perfect a difficult pose right away.  It is ok to work towards it slowly.  It is only when we let go of our ego, we can find true inner peace or well-being, which is what yoga is all about in the first place.

 

Ultimately, I learned that I need to make Surya Kriya as part of my everyday life.  Surya Kriya is a 21 steps yoga routine that is required to be practised with devotion and reverence.  The definition of Surya Kriya is activating the energy of the sun within ourselves. (see here for more details: http://www.ishayoga.org/hata/teachertraining/surya-kriya/)  It needs to be practised twice a day for 40 days, and then once a day daily.  The idea is that after 40 days, it becomes a habit, which makes yoga practise so much more powerful and profound.  I am now in the process of making Surya Kriya become my daily routine, and will keep you posted on the impact it will have on me, when I’m ready. 🙂  Namaste!

Here are 3 quotes I love from Sadhguru: 1. "With proper practice of yoga , you create the right kind of chemistry where you are naturally peaceful, naturally joyous, naturally loving within you." 2. "You know everything about the world, but you do not know anything about yourself. This is a ridiculous way to live." 3. “How deeply you touch another life is how rich your life is.”

Here are 3 quotes I love from Sadhguru:
1. “With proper practice of yoga , you create the right kind of chemistry where you are naturally peaceful, naturally joyous, naturally loving within you.”
2. “You know everything about the world, but you do not know anything about yourself.
This is a ridiculous way to live.”
3. “How deeply you touch another life is how rich your life is.”