Let Life Affect You – By Marie-Ève Bonneau

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We have a tendency to avoid our own tender spots and to walk around the potholes of our vulnerability. We’re afraid of getting upset, apprehensive of being hurt, terrified by the prospect of feeling things too deeply. We know there exist certain conditions of mind and heart for which there is no numbing pill. We tend to think our threshold for discomfort is way lower than it actually is in part because our true limit hasn’t ever been tested.

We dodge things that entail loss of control. We date people that we don’t love because that one time we fell in love for real it felt like a runaway car that smashed into a brick wall at full speed. We swore we’d never do that again.

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“I’m feeling steady right now” I tell myself. “I’ll just bypass anything that ruffles my feathers or gets me off course.” This is the equivalent of erecting a bubble and living inside it. In our protective avoidance we miss not only the grit but also the rapture. We keep out the danger forgetting that a little danger is actually good for us. A little turbulence reminds us that we’re alive.

We’re told from a young age to not get dirty, to keep our mouths, our hands, and our clothes clean. We look the other way when we walk by a homeless person, change the channel when we see appalling events on the news, and avoid our friend who just got diagnosed with cancer because we simply don’t know what to say. We’re afraid that one crack in our veneer will lead to the shattering of the whole vessel. We forget that we can’t be closed to some things and open to others. We can’t actually be closed and open at the same time.

We can only see ‘out there’ a reflection of what’s ‘in here’. If there are certain places ‘in here’ that we’re not willing to go, if there’s a certain depth ‘in here’ that we’re not willing to be with, then we’ll also not be able to be with that depth ‘out there’ or to even perceive that depth ‘out there’.

Some of my most cherish memories are of staying up way past my bedtime, feeling the moonlight on my face, and instead of averting my eyes, having a long hard look. Instead of avoiding the person that made me feel too much, I dove in. I trust the hurricane will not swallow me whole, or at least if it does, it will spit me, or at least some semblance of me, out on the other side.

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Let yourself go. Walk through the door. Learn to sit in the fire with the pain, the loneliness, and the confusion. It is only by sitting in the blue heat at the fires’ core that you’ll access your true capacity to be there. In meeting my own shadow, I discovered that I could also meet your shame, guilt, and disillusionment and still hold steady.

Be defeated. Be disturbed. Be delirious. Let your hair get messy, go out on the coldest day and feel the frozen air sting your cheeks. Allow yourself to fall in love and feel the bare nakedness of that dizzying exposure. Stay up past your bedtime and revel not only in the night hours but actually feel the tiredness the next day—it is not your enemy. The next time you have a headache ride the waves of pain and notice the slight pause between throbs. Map your own discomfort. Befriend your bliss. Greet it with open arms.

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Let life affect you. The heart can bear it all.

mevheadshotMarie-Ève’s calling is to remind others of the truth of who they are and to help them reconnect to ‘center’ — the powerful seat of wisdom and essence that lies within. She guides others in transforming their life challenges and experiences of loss and trauma into the powerful rerouting and growth opportunities that these initiations really are. A gentle and playful soul, Marie-Ève’s presence is often described, much to her delight, as ‘magical’. You can connect with her at Circling into Center

Copyright © 2015 Marie-Ève Bonneau

Yoga Music- New Earth Records Review

http://nykdanu.com/yoga-music-new-earth-records-review/

One of the questions I get asked a lot by my Yoga students is where do I get my Yoga Music from. It would be impossible to do a blog post about ALL my Yoga music (cause I have a shit ton of it). But I can highlight some of my favorites.

I love New Earth Records and I would say 80% of my Yoga music is from New Earth Records. They have a big variety from up-tempo and a bit dance-y to super atmospheric and spa-like, so whether you are doing a Yang (flow) practice or a Yin practice they likely have something for you to  help you get your ‘Yoga groove on’.

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If  you’re new to buying Yoga music, starting with some of New Earth’s compilations is a great way to sample a few artists all at once.

I have these compilations:

  • Grace
  • Prana Yoga
  • Shambala
  • Spa Lounge
  • Spirit Lounge

 

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The first Yoga CD I ever bought was by Chinmaya Dunster and I have bought several more since then. Chinmaya Dunster’s work is on the more lively side and great for Yang (flow) Yoga.

Chinmaya Dunster Cd’s  I have:

  • Yoga: On Sacred Ground
  • Yoga Lounge
  • Sacred Temples of India
  • Feng Shui
  • Fragrance of the East

That’s what I have so far but really I want all his CD’s.

The second  favorite artist is Deuter. I find some of this music too Flute-based (not my favorite instrument) so I always listen before I buy. I would say his music is better for Yin Yoga as it tends to be more atmospheric.

The Deuter CD’s I have are:

  • East Of The Full Moon
  • Eternity
  • Flowers of Silence
  • Koyasan
  • Tibet: Nada Himalaya 2

I have a few Terry Oldfield and again I try before I buy with him as well because he also tends to be flute-based. Again I would say Terry Oldfield’s work is more Yin than Yang but there are some exceptions.

Terry Oldfield CD’s I have are:

  • Yoga Harmony
  • Journey Into Space
  • Sacred Touch
  • Reiki Flow

I have 2 CD’s by Osho and I would say it is a bit softer but could be used for either Yin or Yang Yoga depending on your preference.

The Osho CD’s I have are:

  • Garden Of The Beloved
  • Ten Thousand Buddha’s

Rasa makes beautiful music. Kim Waters has a beautiful voice. I tend to use if for Yang since I prefer more sound-scape-y type music for my Yin.

Rasa CD’s I have are:

  • Saffron Blue
  • Shelter

So there you have a small peek into my Yoga Music collection.

Visit New Earth Records website to listen to samples and click though to either by Cd’s or MP3’s either through iTunes or Google.

Happy Listening

ox

nyk

Yin Yoga – Butterfly Pose

http://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-butterfly-pose/

Butterfly pose can be done a couple of ways depending on your intention. The first way is to stretch the tissues of the back (like in a forward bend) and the second way is to target the muscles of the inner thigh.

So depending on your intention, you can customize your Butterfly pose. In this post I’ll include how to do Butterfly pose both ways.

Butterfly pose variation 1:

Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose 1

This variation is great for rounding the back and stretching the back of the body and can be more accessible for those of us in the ‘Tight Hamstring Club’  than some other forward bends.

However if you have bulging disks you should try to keep your back long and flat as you come forward instead of rounding your spine. You could also do this pose lying on your back in the same shape holding your ankles or shins.

How to do Butterfly pose

Butterfly pose variation 2:

Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose 2

This variation is great for stretching the inner thigh. If your knees are up quite high in this version, because of tight hip flexor muscles (you can thank chairs for that), you can put more padding under your bum but don’t lose heart if your pose doesn’t look like mine.

Happy Practicing!

nyk

Yin Yoga – Dragon Pose

http://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-dragon-pose/

The majority of my students have super tight hip flexors. Most of the time this is because of the hours spent sitting in chairs. Dragon Pose is one of the most effective ways to release these chronically tight muscles. The hip flexors are the muscles that attach the front of your hips to your thighs. If you’re not sure where these muscles are don’t worry you’ll become well aware of them when you come into this pose 😉

Dragon pose is often the ‘least loved’ of all the Yin Yoga poses but if you work at a desk it’s one of the most important for you. Practicing Dragon pose every day would not be too often.

Because this pose is so challenging you need to have some extra mindfulness about keeping your mind focused on the intended area and your breath. Don’t let the monkey mind start jumping all over and judging your experience and telling stories about your experience. Just try to stay with the sensation and breath into it.

In the video below I’ll walk you through the whole buffet of Dragon pose options including the rarely chosen ‘Screaming Dragon’  variation.

How to do Dragon pose


Peace, Love and Happy Hips!

nyk

Jewelry By Andrea – A Product Review

http://nykdanu.com/jewelry-by-andrea-a-product-review/

Andrea of Jewelry by Andrea is a Calgary-based Jewelry designer that has a stunning line! Andrea and I first met virtually because we traveled in some of the same business groups on Facebook. When we realized we were living in the same city we had to meet up in person.

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When I first saw Andrea’s line, I loved how many beautiful Yoga, Meditation & Buddhist inspired pieces she had. Since then she has expanded on her line and has started to add more themed  pieces and is adding Malas as well.

 

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Andrea made me the above two pieces for review which you can learn more of in the video below but first a bit more about Andrea and her company Jewelry By Andrea.

Nyk: When and why did you start making Jewelry?

Andrea: I started making jewelry in 2008.  My children were 2 & 4 and as a stay at home Mom I was looking for a creative outlet.  Prior to children I used to travel & collect interesting jewelry.  I have always loved jewelry with a story to tell or items that remind me of an amazing experience.

Nyk: How did Jewelry By Andrea Come About?

Andrea: After children I wasn’t able to travel like I used to so I started bringing in interesting beads, fair trade materials and spiritual symbols.  It all just grew organically into a beautiful creative expression. I couldn’t have planned it if I had tried!

Nyk: What’s the vision or mission of your company?

Andrea: Unique fashion jewelry with meaning.  High quality designs using spiritual symbols and fair trade materials.  My goal is to create jewelry with a story to tell that allows the wearer to tell their story.

Nyk: Where is your line produced?

Andrea: I hand make many pieces from my home studio in Calgary.  I have also recently started having custom designs made through Fair Trade in countries such as Nepal, Bali and India.  This process has been exciting as I’ve been able to have stones colored, cut & died for me.  It has allowed me to create my Capri Collection featuring vivid peacock blues (did I mention I love peacocks!).  Stepping into having stones cut for my collections has opened up an entire new creative process that I am just beginning to explore.

Yoga is a big part of my creative process.  It sparks my creativity and allows me to create from a place of zen.  I try to do yoga prior to making jewelry.
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Nyk: What are the ways the company gives back? Are there charities or non-for-profits you support?

Andrea: I give a portion of my proceeds to the YWCA of Calgary.  I also always focus on ethically sourcing materials. Many items I use are made through traditional methods that have been passed down through generations.  To me it feels wonderful to work with handmade materials and I often wonder what life was like where they came from.  I travel viciously through the designs I make.
Watch the video below for my full review of the two stunning pieces designed for me by Andrea.

A huge Yogic Thank You to Andrea for my beautiful sacred jewelry. You can use the code karma for 20% off your first purchase.

Peace, Love & Malas

nyk

Yoga For Gardeners

http://nykdanu.com/yoga-for-gardeners/

Spring has sprung. So it won’t be long now before I have students limping into my classes with all kinds of sore spots from weekends of hardcore gardening. Our growing season in most of Canada is pretty short, so those who are avid gardeners dive in head first and barely come up for air.

Gardening is often confused with a super gentle activity that only seniors do but anyone who has gardened knows that is not the case. Gardening is a workout, especially at the start of the season when your getting ready to plant.

Organic market fruits and vegetables

I consider Gardening a revolutionary act. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to have control over not only what you eat but also how we treat the earth. The most inexpensive way to eat local, organic and GMO free.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of time spent gardening with my Grandma who was an organic gardener most of her life. Although I can’t grow my own food at this point (no yard), I salute  those change-makers who can and do.

I dream of a world where every lawn is replaced with a garden, where every school and hospital grow their own food. Imagine how much more connected to the earth kids would feel if they actually got to learn about growing food. How much healthier would we be if we trashed the packaged hospital food and replaced it with organic, local veggies and fruit!

So as a tribute to you, the revolutionary hard core Canadian gardeners, I made this video which includes some pre and post gardening  poses to help you rock your gardens this year.

 

Please share this post with friends and family who garden!

Vive La Green Revolution,

nyk

Back Pain? Squat Down!

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Back Pain sadly is a common theme in my classes. I myself have suffered with back pain on and off over the years due to some poor standing habits from back when I was a hairstylist and the misalignment of my spine because of it. For many of you it’s likely from sitting at a desk all day.

In my Back Pain Yoga classes, we work directly on the common areas that affect the back which includes stretching the areas that are chronically tight that pull our spines out of alignment and strengthening the areas that are weak and leave the back prone to injury.

Squatting down on a regular basis can do wonders for lower back pain and increase the flexibility of the whole lower back and sacrum.

Nyk Danu

Check out this fun informative music video by Denise Kaufman about why you should learn to give a squat.

The Squat Song from Denise Kaufman on Vimeo.

If you have knee issues then squatting may not be available for you, but for the rest of you I recommend squatting everyday! This will likely be difficult at first but with practice you will become more and more comfortable and be able to hold your squats longer and longer.

I’m a bit of a Yoga geek so I like to find hidden pockets of time to squat down while I’m doing other things (like during the commercials of your favorite TV show instead of hitting the fridge).

In the video before I walk you through the complete how-to when it comes to squatting.

Happy Squatting!

nyk

Code Red by Lisa Lister- A Book Review

http://nykdanu.com/code-red-by-lisa-lister-a-book-review/

Book Review: CODE RED: know your flow, unlock your monthly super powers and create a bloody amazing life. Period. By Lisa Lister

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“So, there’s a code.
A lady code.
It’s ancient, it’s deeply spiritual and more than that, it’s powerful. Fiercely powerful.
So powerful that it’s barely been spoken about in over 2,000 years. Your menstrual cycle.
 -Lisa Lister

I have always been a tomboy (I didn’t even own a purse until I was 25) it could be because I loved hanging out with my Dad as a little girl, could be the lack of positive female role models in my youth, could be past lives as a man, who knows but one thing I do know is being a tomboy and not relating to most women had been a constant theme in my young adult life.

In fact when I got my menses (or moon cycle as I like to call it) for the first time at 12, my mother was so giddy, happy and emotional about me “becoming a woman”. I, however, was horrified!

I insisted to my Mom to book me an appointment with our Dr. and wouldn’t tell her why. During my visit with my Dr. I told him “he was going to have to do something about this period business, I simply couldn’t live like this…it was far to inconvenient.” Much to my horror my Dr. explained that this was part of being female, that there was nothing he could do about it, and this began an on going loathe of my feminine cycle.

To be clear it’s not like I wanted to be a boy, no not at all, I just wanted to pick and choose the female aspects I allowed into my life.

So to say I’ve had an up and down relationship with my divine femininity would be pretty accurate.

About 10 years ago, I had a AHA moment in a Yoga workshop while in Pigeon Pose on my left side (thank you universe heard you loud and clear), that coupled with the fact that I had recently been diagnosed with Endometriosis got me thinking there was likely some inner work that need to happen here. Clearly trying to ignore my cycle and just truckin’ on through was not the answer.

I think in many ways this attitude is where feminism went wrong for my generation. We somehow got the message (or at least I did) that you could have everything a man has in life (and we can) but somehow by ignoring the fact that we are female and acting like men. Men and women are equal in my eyes but very different. So when we as women try to live our lives like a man would, we suffer in many ways, our cycle just being one of them.

So over the last few years I have been investigating this topic more personally, and exploring what it means to me be Divinely Feminine. What are my cycles and how can I nurture, heal and support my feminine rhythms so I can live my best life?

Enter Lisa Lister

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Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister, is a writer, menstrual maven, plus-sized yoga teacher and creatrix of the SHE Flow protocol – yoga, sacred movement and ancient menstrual health practices – dedicated to helping women crack their lady code and love their lady parts.

Lisa and I travel in the same virtual circles. It was clearly an act of serendipity that we connected and I clearly need her work in my life.  I was honored and humbled when she gave me an advanced view of her just released book CODE RED: know your flow, unlock your monthly super powers and create a bloody amazing life. Period.

So who is this book for?

I think every woman who still bleeds needs this book! This book is in Lisa’s words:

A rallying cry to any woman who has ever:

  • found her cycle annoying and an inconvenience.
  • been disgusted by her blood and felt dirty and shame-filled at menstruation.
  • wanted to hide away and pretend menstruation didn’t exist.
  • talked about her period in hushed tones.
  • been crippled by pre-menstrual or menstrual-related pain and dis-ease.
  • hated it because her bleed meant that another month had passed, and she’s not pregnant when she desperately wanted to be.
  • thought to herself ‘there must be a freaking reason as to why we bleed for five or more days each month and don’t die?!’

 I Loved this book!

I love Lisa’s ability to combine what she calls the ” The Science Bit” with down to earth practical advice that you can start to put into practice right away. She knows her shit no doubt, but her writing style is a bit cheeky, a bit sassy and down to earth (which a Dame like me really appreciates).

Here are some nuggets that stood out for me:

“Today, we are totally out of sync with the moon’s cycles. We get so busy in our daily lives that for the most part, we ignore the cyclic changes of mumma nature – the seasons, the moon, the ebb and flow of the sea – all of which are indicative as to how we should be living. Our menstrual cycle is often medicated with synthetic hormones and not allowed to flow naturally from our body because we stuff it with a tampon. We treat any resulting pain and symptoms with western medicine, which means we are silencing the messages that mumma na- ture, our body and our cycle, are giving us each month and when we do that? Shit will, and does, hit the fan.

We get stressed out, exhausted, depleted and depressed.

“We silence the deep, ancient feminine wisdom that’s avail- able to us through the cycles of the seasons, the moon phases, our body and our menstrual cycle, by using caffeine, drugs, TV and social media to create destructive cycles of self- medication, cycles that keep us locked in the myth that being a woman is hard freakin’ work, that it has to be painful, and that any alternative that involves resting or not striving to achieve makes us weak.”

 

Lisa On Yoga and our cycles :

“So this is how it is: most of the Yoga taught today was de-signed in medieval India, by men, for men. Those guys didn’t have menstrual cycles, or vulvas or breasts, and not much bum either, so all these aspects of us are often just inconveniences in most modern Hatha Yoga (Yoga that works through the body to alter the mind).

So when we follow Yoga instructions that are intended for male bodies, then we give away our power; because those instructions can fundamentally disrespect female bodies.”

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“I know from experience that honouring and respecting our cycles is a vital means to accessing our own inner guidance, and so it seems to me that most male oriented approaches to Yoga simply encourage women to ignore the inner wisdom that arises when we pay attention to our cycles”

Code Red, Is like a guidebook for learning to live with and love your cycles.

It’s full of recommended remedies, herbs, teas, essential oils and a whole bunch of other goodies. There is even a section written by her fella, aka ‘The Hot Viking’, which is directed to helping men understand and support us all through our cycle. How cool is that!

I plan on re-reading this book right away and taking down notes, maybe in a pretty red journal, as to what my new practices are and what girl power ingredients I need to buy (hello teas and herbs) to make my new womanly wellness plan.

I’m also about to snag her free resource the Cycle Repair Kit to help me on my path.

If you are a woman who bleeds or know and love a woman who bleeds I cannot rave enough about Code Red so check it out here on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com

Yin Yoga – Seal Pose

http://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-seal-pose/

In my first Yin Yoga Back Bend post Yin Yoga-Sphinx Pose I go into a lot more detail about why back bends are so important for the health of our spine, especially for western bodies, since we tend to spend way to much time sitting in chairs. If you haven’t read that post check it out before exploring the noticeably deeper back bend of Seal Pose.

Seal pose 2

I would recommend practicing lower back bends like Sphinx and it’s variations and getting comfortable with those before trying Seal pose. For those of you who are ready to take it a bit higher, deepening the curve in the lower back allow me to introduce Seal Pose.

How To Do Seal Pose

Happy Practicing!

Namaste

Nyk

Vegan Easy Peasy- Pea Soup Recipe

http://nykdanu.com/vegan-easy-peasy-pea-soup-recipe/

Right now you might be thinking “YUCK pea soup” (that’s what I used to think) or maybe you like pea soup but are used to the “ham bone” style of Pea soap. If that’s the case, I’m going to encourage you to open your mind and taste buds a bit and prepare to have your taste buds sing.

This soup is perfect for this time of year when it’s is not winter anymore and yet not quite spring. We get the warmth and comfort of a bowl of soup with the glimpse of the fresh taste of the spring and summer to come.

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My Bestie made this for me once when having lunch at her house. I was a bit resistant to Pea Soup because I had never liked it before. Not wanting to be rude or ungracious (I don’t often get cooked for) I decided to open my mind and give it an honest try.

I was amazed at how good this soup tasted and how easy it is to make! It’s since become a staple at our house and honestly a dish I could eat every week.

As self professed “Crock Pot Queen” I make mine in a crock pot (or slow cooker) but of course you could also do stove top as well. My crock pot is quite large so you could cut this recipe in half or thirds if needed.

Easy Peasy -Pea Soup (Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

4 cups of dried organic split peas (rinsed) yellow for a sweeter taste or green for a fresher taste

8-9 cups of  filtered water depending how thick you like your soup

6 crumbled vegan soup cubes (I use this brand because it’s gluten and sugar free)

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In the morning dump it all in the crock pot set to high it normally takes about 4 hours for me. You want the pea’s to be mushy enough that when you stir it it looks like it has been pureed. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you fall in love with this simple soup as much as I have!

Peace, Love & Peas

nyk