Category Archives: Yoga

All Things Spa – Recipe: Yogi Bhajan’s Yogi Tea


Yogi Bhajan’s Yogi Tea



As the Fall is upon us I felt the need to share this amazing recipe that was introduced to me a few years ago…a great component from a great practice and a wonderful warming beverage with great healing qualities.

Yogi Tea comprises of a specific combination of spices, milk and black tea. As a health promoting, delicious, soothing, and a great coffee substitute and its easy to make from scratch. A great way to make this last longer if you are not making for a group of people, make this big potful of goodness up(without adding the milk) and store it in the refrigerator. To make a cup of the tea, just fill your cup 3/4 full with tea, add milk or non-dairy substitute, and pop in the microwave or put in small saucepan and warm on the stove top.

In the science of yogic food preparation, the spices are said to have the following properties:

Black Pepper – Blood Purifier

Cardamom – Digestive Aid

Cloves – Strengthen the Nervous System and generate heat in the body

Cinnamon – Good for the Bones

Ginger Root – Good for colds, flu, physical weakness, digestion, increased potency

The Milk  – helps in the assimilation of the spices and coast the stomach lining to avoid irritation there.

Black Tea – a pinch gives just a touch of “pick up”


  • 2 quarts water
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 20 green cardamom pods
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 8 – 1/2 slices of fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Tea ( optional)
  • 3 cups milk or dairy alternative


Bring the water to boil in a 3-4 quart pot. Add the cloves and boil for a minute. Add cardamom pods ( to better release their wonderfulness, first crush or split the pods), pepper corns, cinnamon sticks and the sliced ginger root. Cover and gently boil for 20-30 minutes. Add the Black Tea (optional).

Makes approx. 2 quarts/ 2 litres

At this point you can either let the tea cool, strain it and refrigerate it or add the milk, return to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat. Add your preferred sweetener to taste (ie honey, stevia, cane sugar).

Drink up and Enjoy! Another great addition to your yoga practice or just warming up as the cold temperatures seem to be upon us!


Seven Power Centers – Reflections of your Body and your Life


The Seven Power Centers

Taking the time to go a little deeper with my yoga & meditation studies as of late – delved into more learning on Chakras and how they can truly identify things during times of stress and challenges. Both of these things come with being a business owner, a parent and most importantly a human being! I share with you a bit of my learning curve and hope that it can give you some clarity the way it has for me!

Using our breathe – we can explore our seven power centers and see how they reflect what is going on in our bodies and our lives. These points of reference our called our Chakras and are also represented by colours similar to those found in rainbows.

Chakras are the psychic energy centers of your body. Yoga practitioners often refer to the chakras as ‘Lotus flowers’ and this is a very good way to visualize your chakras, particularly when opening them up or closing them down. Opening a chakra can be likened to a flower opening up its petals. When closing down the chakras, it’s useful to visualize the chakra as a flower closing its petals so they become tightly shut.

Each of the Seven Major Chakras is associated with a different colour, each one relates to several different parts of the human anatomy. Blockages within a chakra energy flow may lead to an imbalance and to a mental, spiritual or physical disorder in that part corresponding part of the body. Physical, mental or emotional injuries may cause cracks, breaks, shrinkage or deformities in the chakras. Chakra balancing is used to restore balance and harmonize the energy in the chakras. In the art of Crystal Healing, suitable crystals are placed over chakra points. Each chakra is linked to one or more crystals, and most chakras have an element associated with them.

Some brief descriptions of the 7 Chakras:

First Chakra: AKA the Root/Base Chakra. Located at the base of your spine and associated with our sense of security in the world, survival, self-esteem, shelter and food, the material things in life and making money. This is where our emotional and physical stability and balance co-exist. (Body Parts – Spine, Nervous System) COLOUR – RED. Its element is EARTH. Conditions said to be associated with blockages within this chakra are irritable bowels, hemorrhoids, constipation, sciatica, joint stiffness. Crystals associated with Base or Root chakras are ruby, red garnet, smokey quartz and black obsidian.

Second Chakra: AKA the Sexual/Spleen Chakra. Located in the curve of the sacrum and associate with sexuality, sensuality, procreation, passion, emotion and creativity. This is where the energy of our ancestors exists. (Body Parts – Spleen, Digestive organs, Sexual organs) COLOUR – ORANGE. Its element is WATER. Conditions said to be associated with blockages in this chakra are hormonal imbalance, impotence, infertility and fungal infections. Crystals associated with the Navel or Sacral chakras are calcite tiger’s eye and carnelian orange.

Third Chakra: Located in the upper stomach area just below the rib cage, behind your navel and associated with our sense of personal power, the EGO. This is where our energy comes from when we compete, protect, control, transform and make choices. Hence the term – Gut Instinct! (Body Parts – Stomach) COLOUR – YELLOW. Its element is FIRE. Conditions said to be associated with blockages in this chakra are eating disorders, diabetes, stomach disorders, ulcers, indigestion and gastritis. Crystals associated with the Solar Plexus chakra are citrine topaz and golden calcite.

Fourth Chakra: Located in the area of your heart and associated with unconditional love, compassion, joy and unity with all living things. (Body Parts – Lungs, Heart) COLOUR – GREEN. Its element is AIR. Conditions said to be associated with blockages in this chakra are heart and blood pressure problems and allergies. The Heart Chakra is used psychically when undertaking healing, psychometrics or spiritual work that involves compassion. Crystals associated with Heart chakra are rose quartz, kunzite, watermelon, tourmaline, jade, emerald and adventurine.

Fifth Chakra: Located in your throat, this is the Bridge Chakra which allows us to receive nurturance and permits us to express our deepest truths. It is associated with creative energy, communication and self-expression. (Body Parts – Immune System, Hormones) COLOUR BLUE. Its element is a new one called ALCASA (gateway to liberation). Symbol for ALCASA is a triangle inside a circle. Conditions said to be associated with blockages in this chakra are sore throats, laryngitis, tonsillitis and tinnitus. The Throat chakra is used psychically for channeling, inspirational speaking and clairaudience (as ears and throat are connected). Crystals associated with the Throat chakra are aquamarine, sodolite and turquoise.

Sixth Chakra: Located just above and between your eyebrows it is also known as the THIRD EYE and is associated with our intuition, deep wisdom and spirituality. (Body Parts – Pituitary Gland, Mental and Spiritual Processes) COLOUR INDIGO. It has no associated symbol because this chakra transcends all that is physical. It’s linked to the nervous system, the left eye, ear, nose, pituitary gland and lower brain. It can be referred to as our ‘knowing sense’ because it helps us visualize higher concepts. Conditions said to be associated with blockages in this chakra are nightmares, snoring, migraines, dental problems and disturbed sleep. The THIRD EYE chakra is the psychic center responsible for clairvoyance, psychic sight, precognition, dreams and imagination. Crystals associated with the THIRD EYE chakra are lapis lazuli, blue sapphire, blue fluorite.

Seventh Chakra: The final Chakra is also known as the CROWN CHAKRA and is located just above the top of your head. It is thought to be our gateway/connection/access to the Spirit world. It is here that we feel and know that we are ONE with all that is, was and will be. (Body Parts – Top of Head) COLOUR VIOLET. This chakra allows cosmic energy to flow in and through our bodies. It has no element because it’s not earthly. This chakra has a higher vibration which connects us with Spirit and Higher Spiritual aspects. It affects the upper brain and pineal gland. Conditions associated with blockages in this chakra are insomnia, headache, stress, anxiety and fear. Crystals associated with the Crown chakra are amethyst, clear quartz and oregon opal.


2012 A Year of Change – Year of the Dragon


Year of the Dragon




As we headed into 2012, I stopped to take the time to ask a few from the AYA Life Health and Wellness Collective their Top 3 Tips for 2012.






Top 3’s for 2012 from Amie Hoff, Hoff Fitness and

We caught up with Amie Hoff in New York this past December and here are Amie’s Top 3 suggestions heading into 2012:

You can find her at or

Try out the many versions of the new FitKit’s! I don’t travel without mine anymore!

Top 3’s for 2012 from Erica Mather, Forrest Yoga Instructor New York City

Here are my Top 3’s suggestions heading into 2012:

  1. Eat more dark, leafy greens – Drink more water – Sleep longer
  2. Be swift to love – Live every day as if it were your last – Work to heal your wounds
  3. Find work you love that is also profitable – Learn how to be an entrepreneur – Prioritize paying off your debt

Erica, E-RYT 200, has been teaching yoga in New York City since 2006. She teaches at the Wanderlust Festival in Kripalu, and will appear during 2012 at the Bali Spirit Festival. Erica studies yoga with Ana Forrest, is a Certified Forrest Yoga Instructor and Forrest Yoga Mentor Teacher. You can find her at

Top 3’s for 2012 from Michelle Currie, Meditative Arts

Here are my Top 3 suggestions heading into 2012:

  1. Carve out 10 minutes of your schedule each day to be with your breath. This gives your body and mind a chance to refuel and take everything in.
  2. Fill your days with people and things that give you energy. There’s nothing worse than starting the new year off on a sluggish foot.
  3. Remember that you are powerful and creative enough to get through the blahs, especially from January to March when there’s little daylight.

It’s time to put your sanity on a pedestal! It’s being centred and relaxed that will actually help you get more done and help more people. A burnt out and frazzled you only limits your potential. Refuel AND stay sane without spending tons of $ or time ! Try out Michelle’s Bliss Kit

What is Eco-Friendly in 2011?


Here is a fast-n-furious navigation through the environmental consciousness with some easey-peasey definitions that aren’t too sci-fi when you travel and are reading just what your destinations are providing you for options.

Ecological Footprint: The amount of natural resources required to sustain a plant or animal to full growth

Eco-conscious: Having the awareness and being concerned for the environment

Fair Trade: Those people who make the textiles and the clothing – being paid a fair price and having decent working conditions

Organic: In relation to fabric, Fibres that are grown and produced without chemically formulted fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, growth stimulants, etc.

Reclaimed:Those textiles or garments that have been discarded or given away and are suitable for re-use

Recycled: Those textiles that have been manufactured from previously made items/products such as bottles and cans

Renewable: Those resources that can be replenished within just a few years – not decades

Vegan: Those products that are made without the use of animal bi-products

Meditation, Yoga & Breathing – The 4/4 Energizing Breath!


The 4/4 Energizing Breath!

What will it do for you? Do this at a break in the action of the “game”. It will relax and energize you, and will help to combat that encroaching fatigue and excess emotionality. This is a great quick pickup when you have only a few minutes to spare or set aside for yourself. If you do it 2 or 3 times a day at strategic times (before meals, meetings, driving home, etc.) and when you begin to feel tired, you will notice a big difference in the way you feel.

How to do it:

Sit straight. Place the palms together at the heart center with the fingers pointing up. Focus at the brow point with eyelids lightly closed. Inhale, breaking the breath into 4 equal parts of sniffs, filling the lungs completely on the 4th.

As you exhale, release the breath equally in 4 parts, emptying the lungs on the 4th. On each part of both the inhale and exhale, pull the navel point toward the spine. (The stronger you pump the navel the more energy you will generate.) One full breath cycle (in and out) takes about 7-8 seconds. Continue for 2-3 minutes. If you press the hands very hard, and do it vigorously, 1 minute will recharge you. If the mind has a lot of anxiety or confusion, take the effort to add the mantra “Sa -Ta – Na – Ma” mentally on both the inhale and the exhale to help you focus more on your breath and less about the world around you.

Sa=infinity Ta=Life Na=Death Ma=Rebirth

To end, inhale deeply, press the palms together with force for 10-15 seconds. Create tension in the whole body by pressing as hard as you can. Hold yourself taut as long as possible. Exhale powerfully and repeat the inhale, hold, press. Exhale, relax and allow the tension in the body to vanish. If you need rest, immediately lie on your back with your eyes closed and relax for 2-5 minutes. Take a few deep belly breaths, stretch, and you will be ready for action and ready to take on the world.

My guest post on Vallarta Escapes :: Meditation, Mother Nature and Father Time


As we come to the pass between the recognized days of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day it strikes me to be present and to being respectful to our global mother and father – Mother Nature and Father Time.

Do you ever feel as though you are out of step or out of tune with your life? Do you find yourself moving left when the events of a normally hectic day unexpectedly move to the right? Most certainly each one of us in our modern society learns how to juggle the many tasks that allow us to meet the demands of our busy lives. This we are told should bring us happiness and personal satisfaction but no matter how skilled we are to tackle the day to day that present themselves we often realize that we might have missed something really important…a child’s accomplishment, a loved one in need of some comfort or a beautiful sunset.  One thing I can confirm is my ability to better manage life’s events has been embellished by my meditative travels – so this begs the question – why add this helpful life tool to your physical travel journeys?

There are so many amazing reasons to meditate including reduction of stress, eliminate fatigue, ease pain, cultivate inner peace and expand our awareness.  Regular practice of meditation improves our memory and concentration so why wouldn’t you want to incorporate it into your regular travel planning. Imagine being able to start your day “fresh” and with clarity while you take the moments to listen to the ocean and watch the sunrise – wouldn’t the travel memories you bring home seem more vivid? Meditation can be done in almost any posture and some, like me, enjoy utilizing a sitting posture on the beach or on a mountain or cliff top like the Gros Piton of St. Lucia or the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru. The only important thing is to be as comfortable and as balanced as possible and try to breathe through your nose with a smile across your face.

Meditation is a skill as old as humanity itself. There are a handful of different kinds of meditation and while each was designed for a specific purpose, some work better than others. It is noted that regular practice of meditation promotes happiness and uncovers our individual source of bliss that lies within each of us and can be achieved simply and especially on a relaxing and refreshing holiday, whether it be the beach, the mountains or the great divides in between. Imagining yourself meditating in a beautiful natural setting (a vacation spot is perfect for this!) this has a profound nourishing effect on your entire bodymind and spirit. The outdoors is where we can naturally take a moment to recharge our batteries, returning to nature is a root experience for any human being.

Take a deep breath and breathe in the wonders of the most beautiful natural setting in world – the restorative place in your mind created with imagery from your physical journeys.  The goal of meditation is to bring harmony to your thoughts and not to stop them altogether – use them to make your life and our world a better place.

Take the time to be mindful when on a journey…


“All Good Things Will Be Yours” – an insight on YogaGurl


As the mantra says above…”all good things will be yours” With a creative twist on the traditional you are welcomed into a long, simply decorated, calm and peaceful place by the Uma-ish Yoga Goddess Alex, its here that your journey into bliss begins.
Alexandra Leikermoser is the founder and owner of Yogagurl™, a Toronto based life style company with its latest transformation as the Yoga Studio based in the heart of the newly opened Ritz Carlton Toronto.
The Yoga Studio is part of a 5th floor “Urban Sanctuary,” a 23,000 square foot space that has a pool, professionally-equipped fitness facility, kinesis centre, relaxation area and a walk-out, wrap-around terrace, plus a 13,000 square foot spa complete with 16 treatment rooms, including 2 Couples Suites, private Ladies’ and Gentleman’s wet lounges, steam/sauna areas and dry relaxation dens.

Yogagurl™, the company, was born in 1996, out of this one woman’s desire to inspire herself and others.

The company had its initial roots in one of the first Eco-Design Studio’s and Stores in North America. As quoted on the Yogagurl™

website “I intend to empower women to discover their unique gifts & share them with the world – Alexandra Leikermoser”.

This new home is centered around providing opportunities for others to attain clarity and balance in their lives such as the recent event hosted on Earth Day, specifically a candlelit, cedar scented yoga class which I had the pleasure of attending. Everyone attending was very peaceful and of all different levels of fitness and relaxation. I myself am currently recovering from the second shoulder to fall prey to “Frozen Shoulder” and have limited movement in my left currently and during the event I trusted that Alex had a watchful eye on me, “Breathe love into that shoulder” she said to me once more during our class.

Alex, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing informally and appropriately so, on a yoga mat in studio, has been a teacher (classically trained in Hatha yoga) and student of yoga for more than a decade and also teaches workshops,seminars and retreats about with a basis in creating a balanced conscious lifestyle. Well-known for her enthusiastic teaching style, open and creative twists, she has been able to create unique class environments that foster both personal transformations and inspiration. Alex has been featured in a variety of international newspapers and print and online magazines, and has been interviewed multiple times on television and radio.

Of the many products you can find from this fantastic woman and her inspirations, you might have seen one of the hand-printed t-shirts with their renowned cheeky sayings such as: “Whine less, Breathe more”, “Kiss my asana” & “I’d rather be in savasana” around and you can definitely order them from the website, .She has also released a Spoken Word: With Music CD, Whine Less, Breathe More, that can be downloaded from

Yogagurl™ recently teamed up with Grail Springs founder and WISE leader Madeleine Marentette to breathe, and connect with nature and ourselves in the beautiful indoor and outdoor setting of the Grail Springs this past February 18th to 20th. The retreat was an amazing and empowering experience for all. Alex is known for her summer monthly inner goddess retreats where she takes a small group of women up north and playfully illustrates through yoga, hands on food demos how to make daily rituals and habits that make lifelong habits of health and wellness! You leave with your own mini recipe book! She has led retreats internationally in Hawaii and abroad as well as at various private locations. Perhaps you’ll see a retreat with AYA Life in the future! In the meantime check her website for updates.

When discussing the idea of Yoga as a trend “I think it’s great that more people are doing yoga which means they are finding and achieving their balance and becoming more in tune with themselves.”says Alex. This is definitely a woman who is geared to sharing her insight and knowledge to empower others and personally I look forward to the days that I can spend on regular basis in her energy. Take the time to try out a yoga class with Yogagurl™, Alexandra Leikermoser and your world will seem so much more peaceful and you will be on the path to be better in tune with your life. Alex is making it easy for us to try our first class at her studio until May 15th,2011 and  bring a friend to yoga and your friend is complimentary! RSVP today and come and experience Yogagurl™ at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto:

Coming soon take your mom to Yoga on Saturday, May 7th, 2011 for this upcoming Mother’s Day!



Join Us on our new adventure…Words N Wisdom with Dwayne Morgan


This Trip has now been postponed until November 2011….Look for updates soon!!!

Words N Wisdom with Dwayne Morgan May 14th – 21st, 2011


  • All Inclusive 7 nights accommodation at the Iberostar Costa Dorada
  • Return airfare and transfers from Toronto
  • Workshops, performance,writing materials,2 excursions,volunteer experiences and publication in E-book
  • Two Suggested Excursions (weather permitting):Mount Isabel de Torres & Pico Isabel de Torres (Cable Car) plateau similar to Brazil Christ Statue atop as well, with amazing views and Damajaqua Cascades a series of waterfalls (27 Waterfalls)

Click below for a more detailed itinerary and keep checking for more updates or email us directly or call 647-347-6693.

Words N Wisdom



Greetings in this fabulous New Year and new decade! Deborah has graciously asked me to write a guest post for her blog, explaining my work at La Sirena, since we will be working together from this point. I am a Canadian living and working in Ecuador since 2006, and I offer yoga and alternative therapy retreats in various locations in Ecuador. The purpose of La Sirena is to provide participants with quality yoga instruction, alternative therapies, and spiritual and wellness teachings combined with adventure travel.  Ecuador has been a very special place for me since I arrived, and although I was already on the path to great change, those changes have been happening at warp speed since I arrived here. I arrived here semi-conscious, just after losing someone dear to me, and finally aware that I must live life to the fullest and follow my heart. From that beginning, through a series of ‘adventures’ on an often precarious road, I am now the proud operator of La Sirena Yoga Adventures and a Reiki therapist. I want to share this magical energy that I have found here in Ecuador and facilitate transformations in others, and that’s how I developed the idea for La Sirena.  La Sirena’s mission is to provide yoga and alt therapy retreats to visiting English speakers while supporting the local communities of Ecuador through fair and ethical trade practices and a Giving Back program.

Retreats take place in various locations in 3 of Ecuador’s 4 distinct geographical regions: the mystical Andes Mountains of the Sierra, the spectacular Ruta Del Sol on the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands, also known as the Enchanted Isles. Participants will enjoy exploring a different culture, stepping out of their everyday lives into a completely new environment, while enjoying the comfort and safety of group travel with spiritually likeminded companions. If you have always wanted to travel to exotic locations but were not quite ready to go it alone, or were worried about the language barrier, then La Sirena is for you. La Sirena also meets the needs of adventurous types who want a yoga based vacation but don’t want to stay in resorts.

At the heart of La Sirena Yoga Adventures is the desire to do something good for the world, to be of service, to help others. I pray daily that I may be successful so that I may be in a position to help others. That’s why you’ll find a section on the web page called Giving Back. Micro finance for disadvantaged and abused women is a great way to give back to the local communities of Ecuador and make a lasting difference in the lives of many people. Regular charity is a temporary solution; it may feed a family for one day, or two or three, but what about the future? As the Chinese proverb says, give a man a fish, and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime. 

One of my heroes is Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, the first micro-lending program, which was designed specifically to help women get out of poverty and improve the lives of their families.  Grameen lends exclusively to women for specific reasons. “Not only do women constitute the majority of the poor, the underemployed, and the economically and socially disadvantaged, but they more readily and successfully improve the welfare of both children and men. Studies comparing how male borrowers use their loans versus female borrowers, (sic) consistently show this to be the case.” [i]

My own experience here in Ecuador has shown me the same. I was tired of watching my friend, Nancy, who treated me as family, struggle to put meals on the table while her husband spent half of his income on alcohol and drugs, but the most I could do was buy groceries whenever I visited. With time, I convinced Nancy’s husband to allow her to work outside the home, and after working 12 and 14 hour shifts in a factory, 6 days a week, for 2 months, (of course while still cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry- without a washing machine- for the family of 7) she used her income to start her own business with literally just a few hundred dollars. Then she found a micro-finance program and kept investing more and more into her business as it grew. Within a few months, she had bought a new stove and dishes, the kids were never hungry, they all had nice clothes, the older girls were enrolled in after school language classes, and they even had a new CD player. And the amazing thing is, Nancy had only attended school up to age eight and was almost illiterate, but as soon as she was given the chance, she was off to the moon!

Another frustration is seeing abused women stuck in their situations because they have no way to support their children on their own, and in some cases need to move to a new town to escape their abusive husbands. The heartbreaking part is that they could escape and find work or set up their own business with literally as little as a few hundred dollars.

I was tired of seeing these situations and feeling helpless. When I started La Sirena, I realized that the participants in our retreats could be the key to helping women like Nancy. Built into the budget for each retreat is a small amount of money from each participant, that when pooled together, will be used for micro-finance programs. Each retreat will generate enough capital to lend to between 1 to 5 women, depending on the size of the loans and the number of retreat participants. So when you participate in a La Sirena retreat, not only are you helping yourself to a life changing experience and improving your own life, you are helping to improve the lives of seriously disadvantaged women and children here in the host country. What could be better karma than that?

Now here’s the sad part of the story. Nancy and I have been separated for over a year and a half now, because her new partner, who swooped in to rescue her and the kids from her first husband, fell of the AA wagon and has been horribly abusive for over 2 years now. She is not allowed to see me, and we only have contact in secret. Every time she tries to be independent and gets a job, her partner uses the influence of his family in the small city they live in to have her fired so that she will be dependent on him again to feed the kids, and has no choice but to go back to him. He is going on an extended trip to the US to visit family in February, so we plan to get Nancy and the kids out of the house and set up in a new town where he won’t be able to find them when he gets back. I have told her that she is the intended first recipient of assistance from La Sirena and she is thrilled, ready to move on with her life, and wants to work with me to form a foundation to manage the Giving Back funds generated by La Sirena to help other women in similar situations. I need to sell a minimum of 5 spots on La Sirena’s February Eco Beach Retreat (February 20 – 27) by this Monday, January 17th, in order to ensure that the retreat runs and we can generate funds to help Nancy and the kids. Anyone who signs up by this deadline gets a $200 Early Bird discount, as well as the knowledge that they are doing something wonderful to change their own life with the retreat, and the lives of one very deserving woman and her 4 children.

For details and to sign up via PayPal, please see the La Sirena blog at For more complete details about La Sirena in general, you can check out the web page at

For more information on Grameen Bank, visit

[i] Muhammad Yunus, BANKER TO THE POOR Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, 2003 Public Affairs, New York, pages 72 – 73