Sunday, December 24, 2006

So... it is almost Christmas Eve... in fact it is Christmas Eve in some parts of the world, such as India, which is my birth-home... :-)

Eoin, my love and I are in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, a beach town that exploded after the filming of Endless Summer 2... we are watching the unbridled development with anxiety... even so... it is still nice here... there is a beach right at our doorstep where you do really feel as though you are away from it all... and we are far away from the rain and windstorms of Vancouver, BC.

Yesterday, we went exploring in a tropical mountain forest, Ricon de la Vieja, which lies on the foothills of an as yet active volcano... we saw an amazing array of creatures from the guinea-pig like Agoutis and the racoon's cousin, the Coatis, not to mention boiling pools of hot springs and hot mud emerging from the volcanic mountain.

We will spend Christmas this year far from family and friends... something we hope not to do again... but with new friends... we have become friends with a lot of the locals here and are invited to a holiday celebration at Arco Iris... a retreat centre in Tamarindo that has a restaurant serving absolutely delicious and inspired vegetarian food, grown nearby on local, organic farms...

The owners, Laura Filippini and her sister Simona, two heart-of-gold Italian women will also help us host a YES, Yoga Ecology and Surf Retreat here in February 2007.

We will have a pot luck - everyone, around 50 people will bring food or drink and we will have a fiesta. I am planning to make some good spiced and maybe spiked chai with fresh spices... yumm...

So on this glorious day, no matter where you are in the world... I wish you joy, peace and happiness and abundance... with the hope that you spend time with your loved ones... be it in person, via the phone or the internet!

Pura Vida,


"The fundamental desire of life is the desire to exist."
Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, December 01, 2006

Holiday Wish List…

The festive season is upon us… and while our yogi mantra with respect to Holiday Shopping… is to “spend time, not money,” we do realize that sometimes, we are on the hunt for tangible and meaningful gifts for friends or loved ones...

And s
o we have scoured the environs of Vancouver and beyond for sustainable and mindful gift ideas for your holiday offerings. Here is our Top Ten list.

1) For the yogi who likes to sit in comfort:
Look no further t
han Half Moon Yoga, a local business owned by two wonderful Vancouver yogis, Beth and Jacqui. At the serene Half Moon Lifestyle store on Granville Island, located at 1650 Johnston Street, you will find their signature meditation cushions, buckwheat pillows (these are great for travel), linen thai yoga pants and new-this-season voluminous cosy capes (fashioned from boiled wool or fleece) that will keep the Northwest Coast's dampness away. All items are fashioned and locally made in Vancouver.

Half Moon Yoga Me-Cosy Cape $ 69.95, Deluxe Buckwheat filled Warming P
illows $29.95

2) For the “I must tread lightly” yogi…
There is much talk about s
ustainability these days… and about how all things organic and eco are becoming chic. We are all for the growing popularity of “eco” it is after all one of the cornerstones of the practice of living yoga… the awareness that we are all connected to every living being on our planet and that it is our goal to minimize harm to the planet through our actions. To shed more light on the organic clothing business, here's a stat that provides perspective: a regular conventional cotton t-shirt uses 1/3 lb of chemical fertilizers and pesticides along with 1740 gallons of water, while organic cotton uses no pesticides, herbicides or other harmful chemicals.
Some organic cotton-wares we like:

Anything by Twic
e-Shy. Another local, Vancouver-based company that continues to redefine edgy, sustainable style, crafting one of a kind pieces in organic cotton that's made movement-friendly with a bit of lycra. We like their fitted v-neck women’s tees and have even practiced in the Eros culottes. For men, we love their organic cotton-terry, skull squad hoodies that will keep everything at bay... Twice Shy clothing is also available at Half Moon Yoga.

Twice Shy Men's Hoodie: $68 and Women's Eros Culottes $62

The Jilena Cardi by Oqoqo, lululemon athletica’s sustainable line. Cosy and
comfy for either before/after yoga, it is made of 92% organic cotton and 8% polyester. Oqoqo also has a men’s line and this winter features soft merino wool (culled from sheep raised on an organic farm) layering sweaters and knit scarves. Visit their Kitsilano store at 2123 West 4th Avenue, adjacent to lululemon to view their unique offerings.

oqoqo Jilena Cardi $108

3) For Yogis who need to cart all of their (few) worldly possessions along:
For the yoginis we like the
Roots Eco Flats: messenger style bags made from environmentally friendly, Italian Zerum leather that is vegetable tanned and natural-dyed. Male yogis on the go will like the Tribe messenger bag.
Roots also impressed us with their new eco-store in Rosedale, Toronto that was built with a zero footprint. Amidst the recycled wood racks, they offer sustainable linens and buttery soft, bamboo roll down yoga crops and pants. Currently available in an olive-saje green or black.

Roots Eco Venetian Bag:$208 and Men's Tribe Leather Milano Bag: $398

4) For the yogi who enjoys practice at home.

The NEW Eoin Finn Pure & Simple Yoga DVD – perfect for the special someone in your life who you’d love to ease into yoga. An intelligent, moderate sequence that offers more than just yoga basics. Check out the meditative pranayama section as well as the dual-version option that will please all yogi-geeks.

We also recommend stuffing some yoga passes for folks with new year’s resolutions, or buying a set of all 3 of Eoin’s bestselling DVDs.

5) For the sensual yogi:

I just discovered these amazing candles by Mystic Masala. Crafted from pure soy wax, with essential oils d
erived from spice, herb and flower essences, the candles are blended to harmonize the specific doshas according to the ancient science of Ayurveda. I absolutely love the "Tri-doshic" blend which smells like rosewater and cardamom. The votive candles are available at the Semperviva store at 2608 W. Broadway (at Stephens) in Kitsilano while Banyen Books at 3608 W. 4th Avenue carries Mystic's complete line including hand milled natural soaps made by a women's collective in Nepal.

Also, worth checking out... Belinda's Ayurvedic Blends's Chakra Balm... A stimulating and refreshing balm that aims to stimulate the energy centres in your body. I recommend putting it on before a yoga practice. Local gal Belinda also makes delicious smelling beeswax candles appropriate to your dosha - great for stuffing stockings with.

6) For the litera
ry yogi...

For a pratice that can be so simple, with all our needs met by cultivating a quiet space and quiet mind... there is a confusing amo
unt of yoga and related books out there. We have the enviable job of reviewing yoga books for a Canadian bookstore chain called Chapters and have sifted, read and reviewed hundreds of yoga books and DVDs over the past year. Here, we have also chosen some of our favourite yoga related books, by inspiring teachers that we hope will continue to inspire you. Please click on the pictures below to read our reviews or discover where to purchase these insightful reads.

Amidst the plethora of yoga magazines crowding the shelves, here are two we really like: Yogi Times from the States, serving primarily San Francisco and the Los Angeles area... but really with articles applicable to yogis anywhere. We also like Ascent Magazine, from Montreal, an artistic and literary yoga magazine that explores consciousness and spirituality with mindful style.

7) For the furiously travelling yogi:

Given the high frequency of travel for a lot of us… it is not surprising that carbon from air travel represents the fastest growing portion of carbon emissions. An article in YES magazine, delineated why this is so; “carbon emissions at high altitudes accumulate in the stratosph
ere due to low air density and because there is no vegetation to absorb the carbon. The climate effect is much more drastic so conservative calculations double airplane emissions for a meaningful comparison with other means of transport…” making planes the worst possible travel option.

Amongst other modes of transportation, trains and buses are probably the best, providing the least amount of emissions, per passenger. However, since air travel in our times is a necessity, we are happy to note that you can make some conscious choices when you travel.

Offsetters, a local non-profit based out of UBC promotes climate neutral travel and living… On their website, you can calculate your carbon footprint, and you can purchase offsetting $ certificates that fuel projects to reduce emissions, remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere via reforestation, or focus on renewable energy or energy efficiency projects that enhance ecosystems and benefit micro-economies.

Offsetters has recently partnered with WestJet… that progressive Canadian airline. If you purchase a West Jet ticket via their website, West Jet will offset your travel - at the same cost - of buying a “normal” west jet ticket. We recommend the Offset $ certificates and the West Jet Offsetters Tickets as thoughtful and guilt-free presents for those of your lov
ed ones afflicted with wanderlust or driven to business travel.

8) For the Yogi who likes to be in the Know:

Brainchild of local photographer and yogi Jaime Kowal, Waking Up the West Coast: Healers and Visionaries' is part coffee-table eye-candy tome and part resource-guide. The beautifully-designed book offers resources, photographs and articles on sustainable design, fair trade products, environmental activism, social investing, complementary medicine, yoga and meditation, wellness retreats, nutrition, energy healing and more!

Within its pages you can explore the philosophies and stories of local practioners from Vancouver and beyond… Yes, Eoin and myself from vancouveryoga are also included, but we’re buying it, so we can read about all the illuminating personalities in our community. If you are looking for a unique, inspirational gift, this one might steal the show.

The book costs $39.95 and is available at

9) For the yogi who cannot live on fresh air and love alone:

We recently discovered Transylvania Bread's delicious, naturally-leavened loaves, which we think will add substance to a holiday feast. Their bread, which incidentally has been used as a prop in Stargate SG-1 and Scary Movie 4, is made with organic ingredients, contains no yeast or preservatives, and is
baked in small batches in a traditional stone-fired oven. We recommend visiting the store on a particularly cold, Vancouver morning, you won't want to leave the fire-side....
Located at 3474 W. Broadway. You can also email them to reserve loaves:

... And to accompany the bread... while we indulge our sweet tooth,we look no further than Nadine's Rosefire Honey, commissioned by the lovely and enlightened nutrition guru in Kitsilano, Nadine Ijaz, a faculty at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and purveyor of some selective, delicious tasting organic gourmet treats such as sprouted granola, real whole sugar, "salt-of-the-earth" sea-salt and raw honey made from bees in Princeton BC. You can find all her products and more at mmmm, enjoy.

10) And finally, to make sustainable gift-giving really easy, yogi n style is pleased to announce the launch of 'Saul Good, a Vancouver based gift basket business, that is challenging the conventional gift basket industry.

Minimally packaged an
d stylishly designed, the fully recyclable gift boxes are a gift in and of themselves.
And what do the boxes contain? Well... lots of yummy treats including local artisan food products such as Seeds of Plenty organic cookies and 700 Degrees biscotti, crisps and antipasti... Denman Island Chocolate, Ethical Bean coffee and tea and Alba Hawaiian bath products round out the lineup of quality, organic and fairly traded products. We think the baskets are a great gift for really anyone, your boss, in-laws, friends
who love gourmet goodies etc... We are also heartened that Saul Good Gift Co. also gives back to the community by supporting local environmental and social organizations in addition to promoting local brands.
Visit or call 604.880.8398 to order from the limited number of boxes available for the holidays.

Signing off and wishing you all much bounty for the holidays!