Legging Love! Sweet Skins Leggings: Product Review

https://nykdanu.com/legging-love-sweet-skins-leggings-product-review/

Disclaimer: This item was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of review. As with all my product reviews, I only give my honest opinions and I only review items I would buy with my own money. In fact, I send products back and don’t review them if  I don’t find they fit my very high standards for sustainability, ethics and product quality. I am not an affiliate of Sweet Skins and make zero money if you buy any items. I just think it’s important to to highlight some of the smaller companies who are doing amazing work.

As a Yoga teacher I wear leggings a lot and most of them, to be honest, disappoint me. Now that has all changed. I have fallen in love with the Sweet Skins Soya High-waisted leggings!

Sweet Skins Soya High Waisted Legging

Sweet Skins Soya High Waisted Legging

Mira Fannin, designer/owner of Sweet Skins Organic Apparel, reached out to me about her clothing line. Sweet Skins fits right in line with what a look for in Yoga Clothing (ethically made and sustainable) so I told Mira I would be happy to review an item of her line.

After looking at her line I selected the Soya high waisted leggings in purple and the rest is history. I have completely fallen in love with these leggings. They are by far the BEST leggings I have worn to date and I plan on buying more in purple and in black.

In the video down below I go into more detail about the leggings and give my full review, but before I get into that allow me to introduce you to the woman behind the brand, learn more about Sweet Skins and how it came to be.

Sweet Skins High Waisted Leggings

 

My interview with Mira Fannin Designer/Owner Sweet Skins Organic Apparel

Me: How did Sweet Skins come about?

Mira:  Sweet Skins is a minority women owned eco-clothing Company. I’m a Designer and mother of three. I  started the company 10 years ago selling at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon. Sweet Skins has since grown into a web-based company shipping clothing all over the world, sold in fine boutiques nationally and internationally, and using the latest and greatest in ecologically sound fibers through conscious clothing manufacturing.

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

Mira: Sweet Skins is committed to bringing women simple, elegant clothing that makes dressing and looking fantastic effortless and fun. I am committed to running an environmentally and ethically sound company, as we grow and maintain strong roots to the community, the health of the planet and to pave the road for a new more conscious business model. “I want to be an example of success for future entrepreneurs and young people from diverse backgrounds”.

Me: So many clothing lines are mass produced abroad in sweat shops with little care for the earth or the workers.
I know that your line is made in the US and sweat shop free, but you also use sustainable fabrics. Which ones do you use and why did you decide to go this route?
 
Mira: We use a variety of fabrics like eco-fleece, hemp, organic cottons, soy blends and wool for their low impact processing and superior texture and quality. Dyes are low impact and everything from fabric scraps to paper products are recycled or reused.

Me: If someone hasn’t worn natural and organic fabrics for Yoga before what can they expect? How does the fabric feel and preform?

Mira: Unlike most Yoga wear, ours is made from natural fabrics, so you will not get that synthetic sweat repelling effect. It is softer and more breathable. It needs to be washed after each session because it may tend to loosen up more than synthetics, only to bounce back to original tightness and be ready for the next wear. Nyk, maybe you can speak to this yourself, since you’ve been wearing our high waist leggings.

Me: Yes, I have been wearing organic cotton & bamboo for a while now but the soya and hemp fabrics are newer to me and I am loving the soya (more in the video)

Me: What are the ways the company gives back? Are there charities or non-for-profits you support?

Mira: Sweet Skins is designed and made in our own studio-warehouse by a handful of diverse women living in non-industrial Eugene, Oregon.

We make use of our small pieces of fabric, panties, scarves and slippers, baby shirts etc.

Pieces that are too small and all of our unused fabrics and scraps we donate to artists and crafters.

We have had fund raisers in the past for the international woman’s organization RAWA (Radical Afghani Woman Association). Definitely eager to do more of this kind of thing as we grow: focus on International Woman’s Empowerment!

Watch the video below for a more detailed review and to find out why I fell head over heels for these leggings. Mira was also  generous enough to offer a discount code for you off your first order, you’ll find that below the video.


Check out Sweet Skins and use the discount code realyoga15 to get 15% off your order (expires April 1 2015).

Elephant Journal Posts:

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Yin Yoga -Sphinx Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-sphinx-pose/

Back bends are so important to the health and longevity of our spine. We start to lose our lumbar (lower back) curve naturally as we age and this is even more likely to happen in those who sit at a desk all day. When we lose the that lower back curve it can cause all kinds of back issues and eventually even the stooped over posture or hunch back of which we often see in elderly people.

Sphinx 2

This can be prevented if we pay some attention to maintaining this curve on a regular basis. The Yin Yoga Pose known as Sphinx pose is a great pose to start with and if you sit at a desk for hours at a time, you can practice it everyday.

Sometimes when people are new to back bends there can be some fear around feeling sensation in the lower back, especially if we have had a back injury in the past. But gentle, mindful compression is actually good for our spine and helps us keep our discs stay spongy and young.

However, you want to be sure what you’re feeling is gentle, mindful compression which will feel like a dull ache. We do not want any sharp or stabbing sensations. If that happens, please do not do this pose and seek medical attention.

In the video below, I’ll walk you through how to practice Sphinx pose including props, variations and modifications.

How to do Sphinx pose

Enjoy!

nyk

Yin Yoga Music: Tibetan Chakra Meditations- Cd Review & Giveaway

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-music-tibetan-chakra-meditations-cd-review-giveaway/

I get so many complements on the the music I play in my classes, I often get asked to recommend artists and albums. It would be impossible for me to discuss or review all the music play in class, I can hi-light the odd label or artist.

It is actually pretty hard to find music for Yin Yoga. Most of the Yoga music out there is too active sounding or has too much singing, what I am really looking for is a soundscape just to provide Bavana (mood)  tone or atmosphere of the class.

I’m looking for just enough sound to help my students full arrive in the space, relax and let go of the day or week they’ve  had.  This is why stumbling upon the Tibetan Chakra Meditations Album was such a gift.

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It is beautiful and atmospheric without dominating the Yoga experience or distracting the mind preventing it from dropping inward.

I have one copy of the CD to giveaway for a lucky blog follower, details on how to enter to win your copy below.

You can hear samples of this CD here on iTunes here  Tibetan Chakra Meditations and download it. Or for those who prefer CD is also available to order both amazon.ca here Tibetan Chakra Meditations or amazon.com here Tibetan Chakra Meditations

A 5% royalty from the sale of each CD is donated to the Tibetan Relief Fund to support the Tibetan people.

Giveaway Rules and Guidelines:

  • You must be a subscriber to my blog (which you can do by entering your name & email below (if you haven’t already)
  • In the comments below let me know if you use music for your Yoga practice? If so what’s your favorite artist or Album
  • Giveaway open worldwide
  • Giveaway deadline is Feb 15/ 2015
  • Winner will be chosen using Random.org and notified via email

Good Luck!

 

The Art Of Extreme Self Care

https://nykdanu.com/the-art-of-extreme-self-care/

Self Care has become a buzz word, we hear everywhere it seems of late, but what exactly is self care and why do we want to practice self care? Before get into the why lets look at the the what. Trying to find a good definition of self care is actually pretty challenging. The one I’ve found that I like is:

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“Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. And in this case, overall health includes not just the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of an individual’s well-being.” -Mary McCoy

Why would making regular self care a priority be a wise idea? Well the simple answer would be if you give more than you receive for and extended period of time then you are likely to burn out, or become sick. if you continue to burn out and get sick again and again, then it can manifest into disease, chronic health conditions or a health crisis.

I often hear the “I don’t have time” excuse when it comes to self care. I’m sorry to say that just an excuse. You may not have a lot of time and you may have to get creative but there are windows of time that can be harvested and rededicated to self care if we are really honest with ourselves.

I know from experience that if you ignore this burn out and illness for too long the universe will eventually knock you on your ass, so that you have no choice but to stop and listen. I call those “frying pan to the head moments”.

Once I started teaching Yoga full time it became painfully clear to me that mastering the art of self care was going to be crucial for me to be able to shine my light bright, so I can help and heal others.

“When we practice Yoga and Meditation, we are happier, healthier, more patient and present. That, in turn affects our loved ones and communities, so that others benefit from our practice as well”

-nyk danu

So really practicing self care is the least “selfish” thing we can do if we want to be able to support others. If you’ve ever flown on a plane you’ve likely heard “when traveling with a small child, put your own oxygen mask on first” this is because you can’t help anyone else until you help yourself.

How much self care time is needed depends on the individual. Because I am an Introvert (doing an extroverts job) a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and an Empath. I generally need more self care than most people. So I often say I am practicing the Art Of Extreme Self Care.

In the video below I describe a bit more about the why behind self care.

So, when I say I am learning to master the art of extreme self care, I mean I am making a conscious choice to listen to my needs, and to schedule in regular self care into my routine. My self care routine consists of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly commitments. Below I will describe my own current self care routine (which is constantly evolving just like me). Of course yours may be completely different than mine.

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My Current Self Care Practice

  • Daily green juice to start the day (in addition to healthy nourishing meals through out the day)
  • Daily bath with a big mug of green tea
  • Yoga and Meditation 6-7 days a week
  • Saying NO to any and all  group events (over 6 people) that I am invited to including parties for birthdays, showers, weddings etc.
  • Steering clear of negative people, or energy vampires whenever possible (I love them from afar)
  • A day long, self lead silent Yoga & Meditation retreat: where I unplug and do nothing but sleep, read inspiring books & practice Yoga & Meditation all day (if this sounds dreamy to you make sure your on my email list I have plans for you brewing on this)
  • Monthly Acupuncture (I would do this weekly if I had the budget for it)
  • Massage every 6-8 weeks (looking at increasing that to once a month)
  • Regular time with my spiritual teacher and Sangha
  • A yearly Meditation retreat or Teacher Training program

So, in a nutshell that’s my self care routine as it sits now but it is always in a process of  changing and adapting as my needs do. If you want to learn even more about self care this article great.

In the comments below let me know how you practice self care, if you don’t have a self care practice what acts of self  care could you add into your life?

 

“Cream” Of Potato Soup

https://nykdanu.com/cream-of-potato-soup/

I am hardly a chef, truth be told I actually don’t even like cooking. However I am a self declared #CrockPotQueen. I often post pictures of my meals (I know I’m a geek) on my Instagram account (which you can request to follow if you like). I have had so many requests for the recipes of my creations that I decided to blog them.

I will warn you all of these recipes will be “chimp simple” so those of you who are real cooks maybe disappointed. My Crock pot is 6 Quarts (pretty big) so if yours is smaller you may want to cut this recipe in half.

 “Cream” Of Potato Soup

"Cream" of Potato Soup

4 cups of organic non dairy milk (we use almond)

3 cups of filtered water
3 -4 med organic russet potatoes diced

2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of organic garlic whole (remove it when cooked)
1 tablespoon organic dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon of organic cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of organic dill
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic black pepper
1 organic veggie soup regular or low sodium cube (I like this brand because it doesn’t have sugar)

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Dump in the crock pot on low, when potatoes are cooked remove garlic, then blend until creamy and garnish with parsley, add salt or pepper to taste

Enjoy!

Yin Yoga Principles & Practice- A Book Review & Giveaway

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-principles-practice-a-book-review-giveaway/

This is the third of a three part introductory series to Yin Yoga. You can check out part one and two as well if your not familiar with Yin Yoga.

Paul Grilley is know as ‘Mr.Yin Yoga’ in Yoga circles and is my Yin Yoga teacher.  So what better way to wrap up my introductory series than with a book review and giveaway of his expanded 10th anniversary edition Yin Yoga Principles & Practice.

 

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This book is packed full of information in a surprisingly small package. The book only has 141 pages but still manages to cover a fair bit of Paul’s many years of study, practice and experience. The book includes Chakra Theory, Bandha Practices, Pranayama practices and Meditation in addition to the Yin Theory and poses.

Yin Yoga Principles and Practice is not as long or ‘Sciencey’ as some of the other Yin Yoga books out there which, I think makes it great as a first read for new Yin Yoga students and teachers, as well as an crucial book for any serious Yin Yoga practitioners library. Over all the book is clear to follow and isn’t over the heads of those who might be new to reading Yoga books.

My only critique of the book is that there aren’t any variations or modifications for those who are less flexible. If you know how to use props and modify poses for you trouble spots then you’ll be just fine. If not you will want to find a qualified Yin Yoga teacher to help you along the way.

 

 

Yin Yoga – New To Yin Yoga? Some Practice Tips To Get You Started.

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-new-to-yin-yoga-some-practice-tips-to-get-you-started/

This is the second of a three, part introduction to Yin Yoga series. You can check out part one here and part three here.

If you haven’t practiced Yin Yoga before you may be surprised at how different it is than more active forms of Yoga. The focus of Yin Yoga is quite unique. In more active or Yang forms of Yoga, the focus is typically on building strength and flexibility in the muscles as well as internal warmth. This is done by doing shorter holds in the poses and repetition of dynamic movements. In Yin Yoga the focus is on targeting the connective tissues, fascia and joints. This has a profoundly different feeling in the tissues as well as the nervous and energetic systems of the body.

Yin YogaWhen you first come out of a Yin Yoga pose, you will have the urge to move slowly and may even want to groan and moan. The sensation in the body after a Yin Yoga pose is often referred to as the rebound effect or the echo of the pose. I often describe this sensation as a resonance. If you have ever rung a bell or gong, you know the sound is the strongest initially and then dissipates over time, until you eventually no longer hear the sound at all. The resonant sensation of a Yin pose in the body is like that. At first the feeling is strong, then it gradually softens until you can no longer feel it. This is why we typically take a small rest time between poses.

Benefits Of Yin Yoga Purple Back GroundPicMonkey Collage

Yin Yoga is based in concepts of Taoist Yoga, it emphasizes the connective tissues. In Yin we practice relaxed floor based Asana’s (Yoga poses) often using the support of props when needed. Yin Yoga poses are typically held  for two to five minutes at a time. Yin yoga postures gently stretch and rehabilitate the connective tissues that form our joints, allowing us to maintain and restore joint, fascia and muscle flexibility.

In the video below I talk briefly about Yin Yoga guidelines and some practice tips.

Practicing and teaching Yin Yoga has been such a gift to myself and my students.

In the comments below let me know if you have tried Yin Yoga yet? If You have a Yin practice, what is your favorite pose?

Peace, Love and Yin,

nyk

Yin Yoga – My Journey To The Yin Side

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-my-journey-to-the-yin-side/

This is the first of a three part introductory series to Yin Yoga. Make sure to check out part two and part three as well Part three .

In 2007 when I signed up for my first Yin Yoga Workshop, I actually had no idea what Yin Yoga was. I just recognized the teacher Paul Grilley from his Anatomy For Yoga DVD  which had completely changed both my practice and my teaching. So I Just signed up. It was a weekend workshop that changed my Yoga practice and teaching forever!

Yin Yoga Nyk Danu

That first dabble in Yin Yoga created a Yin Yoga love affair that is still going strong today. After that workshop I felt amazing both physically and energetically. My body had a feeling of space and openness that I had never experienced before, energetically I felt a deep peace and quiet within myself that was completely new to me.

As a recovering  ‘Type A’ personality, and a Yogini with some very tight muscles and fascia (from my previous life as a body builder) Yin was exactly what I needed. I immediately bought Paul’s DVD Yin Yoga and began to practice with it 2-3 times a week in addition to my Hatha Yoga practice.

In 2010 I decided that I needed to learn more about Yin Yoga so that I could deepen my practice and offer this powerful practice to my students. So I signed up for my first of many 100 hour teacher trainings with Paul and Suzee Grilley.

I have now completed hundreds of hours of Yin Yoga teacher training with the Paul and Suzee (and plan to do much more) and I am honored to call them my teachers. The breadth of knowledge, compassion and humility of this amazing couple is unsurpassed in my books and is something that is difficult to put into words.

In the video below I talk more about this journey to the Yin Side.


Generally speaking we live in a Yang dominated society and culture. All we need to do is look at the huge amount of stress related diseases to see that this is true. Yin Yoga creates a window of peace and harmony so desperately needed in our fast paced world.

In the comments below let me know have tried Yin Yoga Yet? For those of you who are Yin Yoga lovers what difference has it made to you and your life?

Peace, Love and Yin,

nyk

 

My Thanks To You- Happy Thanksgiving

https://nykdanu.com/my-thanks-to-you-happy-thanksgiving/

For those of us Canucks, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Thanksgiving is literally my favorite Holiday (only second to my birthday which sadly is not actually a holiday) I don’t do a traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all that, but I do like to spend some extra time with family.

The origins and history of Canadian Thanksgiving are actually quite different that our southern neighbors in the US. I did a whole blog post on that last year which you can check out here if your interested in learning more. Gratitude has been interwoven in the Canadian Thanksgiving from the beginning.

Thank You

Gratitude is a pretty big deal to me and a large part of my spiritual practice, it has been for many years. So I was a bit disappointed with myself when I realized I hadn’t expressed my gratitude to you…my students.

So in honor of  you I’d like to take a few moments, to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Please take a few minutes to watch my Thank You message to you in this video:

You can see last years post here

Now it’s your turn. In the comments below let me know what you are grateful for? Also don’t forget the challenge from the video reach out five people to express your gratitude for their presence in your life.

 

 

Jewels Of Saraswati- A Product Review

https://nykdanu.com/jewels-of-saraswati-a-product-review/

I LOVE me some sacred jewellery, so I was stoked when Saraswati from Jewels Of Saraswati sent me a piece to review. Saraswati Zavlunov, the founder and creatrix of Jewels Of Saraswati and I first connected on Instagram. I am frequently inspired by her posts and drool over her works of art. Saraswati sent me a beautiful piece for me to review for you (see the video below for the detailed review), but first here’s a bit of background on Saraswati herself & her line of  Adornments For The Yogic Spirit.

You can read all about Saraswati’s  journey to making Sacred Adornments here, but here are some snip-its that stood out to me in her own words.

“Ever since I can remember, I have been enamored with stones of all kinds. Childhood found me collecting pebbles and artifacts from every sojourn – tumbling them repeatedly in my hands and treasuring them deep in my pockets.”

 

Jewels Of Saraswati The power and beauty of Yoga inspired me to learn the craft of making malas, one of the most revered spiritual items in one’s yogic practice. I found that assisting others in finding suitable gemstones and designs for their personal meditation practice brought me great joy and began to feel as though it were a calling.”

Saraswati Makes Custom Mala’s in addition to Jewellery she described the process a bit to me:

“First people generally come through my site where they sign up to receive a PDF questionnaire about their vision for their mala. This is just a way for me to understand what they are looking for in design or if they wish to leave it entirely up to me. After working through some detailed questions we really dig deep into what is going on in their life and their intentions. Clients may share as much or as little as they choose with me and, from his information, I listen to my own intuitive answers to their questions and what gemstones call to me for their mala. Designs seem to just “come” as I listen to their stories or feel their tone and energy through our email consultations. Sometimes the client seems to be drawn to a particular stone and I merely encourage their own intuition to create their design!”

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Watch the video below for my full review and to get a special discount code off your first piece of Sacred Jewellery from Jewels Of Saraswati .


Product Review Summary – Jewels Of Saraswati .

1 Star for right livelihood, handmade, sweatshop free, local

1 Star for amazing quality, design and  attention to detail

1 Star for reminding us of our practice and our intentions (can be used as a Mala)

1 Star for giving back Saraswati has five different charities she supports

4 out of 4 Stars

You Can check out Jewels Of Saraswati here and don’t forget your Coupon Code: PEACE