Friday, October 24, 2008

Raising the Vibration of the World, one Karma Yogi at a time:

What happens when a group of committed yogis pledges their service to effecting positive change in the world? Well, there's definitely an infusion and flow of positive energy.

Yoguestyle attended the 1080 Karma Yoga Project Celebration on Thursday October 23 at Raw Canvas in Yaletown and chatted with project founder Shivani (Kelly) Mercer of Pura Luna Art about her inspirations and hopes for this endeavour.

“We’re here to raise the vibration of our planet, through beauty, art and service.”

The journey began when Mercer decided to travel
to India to volunteer at the Sivananda Math Ashram this December with a group of nineteen fellow yogis and students from Vancouver.

The ashram, located in the small town of Rikhia in Bihar, India’s most populous and poverty-stricken province, has a strong record of serving rural communities in various parts of India, offering everything from medical aid to farming implements and clothing and books for children.

Mercer hoped "to create a community project for the kula, something to connect the group with a purpose before they got to the ashram. "

The group chose approximately sixty photographs each, that describe the beauty of the planet, resulting in a total of 1080 photos.

"108 is the sacred number in vedic philosophy, but we though a canvas of 108 photos wouldn't be v. big so we added a zero," she smiles.

Adding positive and inspiring captions below the photos was the next step. Getting each image sponsored for $20 by friends, family and anyone else, came after. Lastly, Mercer created a large 5 by 4 foot canvas consisting of all 1080 photographs and their placement into a multi-hued map of India.

She had planned to auction if off last night, but announced, happily, that Telus had offered to purchase the canvas and donate it to the BC Children’s Hospital.

“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” she smiled and noted that the group had raised $18,000 with their efforts. All the monies would go towards child welfare programs in rural India.

“We’re part of the human race, she continued, “I believe in global citizenship, rather than us versus them divisions. We have to let go of the dividing lines and live in a world where all problems are ours and all celebrations are ours.”
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan rolled in, “I’m here to celebrate the positive impact of this vision,” he announced. “Plus,” he smiled, looking at his elegant wife Lynn Zanatta, “my sweetheart Lynn is yoga crazy.”

Sullivan has been a welcome supporter of Vancouver’s love-affair with yoga, even proclaiming an official Yoga Day in the City since the past three years to coincide with the Vancouver's annual Yogathon + Blissfest for Camp Moomba.

To purchase art, please visit Pura Luna Art.
All photos for this story by One Earth Photography.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Y Catalog

Endorsed by uber model and yogi Christy Turlington-Burns and the likes of "celeb" yoga teachers (is there such a thing), Shiva Rea, Seane Corne and Saul David Rae, one might expect the Y Catalog to impress.

This online shopping site does just that, with an inspiring line up of some of my favourite niche yoga clothing brands, yoga lifestyle accessories, organic essentials and more. With everything from classic Be Present pants to Energy Muse and Satya jewellry and Yoga Tribe + Culture's soft organic cotton practice wear, you will find something you like here.

And happily, thanks to the folks at Yogi Times, you can get a 20% discount off the products when you type in: YTM20 at the checkout.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

cow town yoga Billboards on your way out from the airport in Calgary, advertise commercial real estate opportunities in Fort McMurray, Canada's infamous Eldorado, the site of the Tar Sands.

Now, known to be one of the planet's largest global warming disasters, the Tar Sands are responsible for the Rocky Mountain's melting glaciers as well as risi
ng cancer rates downstream. Canada, however still re-elected a prime minister responsible for catalyzing this invasive project, Stephen Harper, just last week.

Harper happens to hail from the heart of conservative country, i.e. Calgary and it was with trepidation that we headed east last Thursday to teach at Yoga Mandala in Calgary's Marda Loop area.

We were thankful to connect with a strong comm
unity of environmentally conscious, liberal-minded yogis in Calgary who charted us on a beyond the obvious tour of Cow Town.

Here are some my favourite picks from our weekend visit.

Communitea in Canmore: a mee
ting place, music hall and tea house / lunch bar in this forty minutes away from the city, Whistler-esque nature town, serving delicious vegetarian options, organic teas in a serene

environment. A perfect, healthy stop before tackling the Grassi Lakes hike. We loved their matcha.

The Coup in Calgary: an aptly named vegetarian restaurant, that hopes to offer an alternative to the many "stuff your face with ribs
larger than your face' steakhouses that abut most street corners in Calgary. The Coup's menu ran from simple to sophisticated, highlighting locally sourced, organic ingredients. The "el sombrero" is a standout on their brunch menu as is their fresh limeade.

Vastu Chai: "make chai not war" is Vastu Chai's motto. War will probably be furthest on your mind when you sample the lovely Avni Soma's, delicious and soothing Vastu Masala Chai. Available in both a black tea or roiboos blend, Soma's chai contains valerian as one of its unique, medicinal ingredients, along with traditional chai spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and ginger... mmm.

She packages Vastu Chai in biodegradable containers using vegetable-based inks, embellished with a pretty paisley pattern, using only organic and fair trade loose leaf teas and spices. For a list of Vastu chai retailers go here.
Yoga Mandala: This lovely studio is located in the Marda Loop, a quickly gentrifying Calgary neighbourhood. We love their cool yet serene vibe, the lovely laid-back owners Melissa and Kevin and their wonderful sangha of teachers and practitioners.

We're looking forward to heading back to Calgary in 2009. We're also hoping for another Canadian election soon.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

watch birds, bees and trees ...

Even if your window overlooks the next row of glassy condos, a few feet away, re-draw your own view indoors with some nature inspired eco-friendly, wall-paper from Ferm Living. We papered two walls at our yoga retreat away from it all getaway pad in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, where I am this week with my partner as he leads the second half of his 200 hour yoga teacher training.

Ferm means "clever" in Danish and designer Trine Andersen says, "Our products are intended for people who are interested in design and who are not afraid to be a bit bold when they decorate their homes."

Inspired by everything from fashion, nature, architecture, flea markets, trips around the world, and even old needlework books, Trine manages to re-create retro into something bold, clean and modern, not to mention beautiful.
Purchase ferm living products online here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

elsewhere in the YOGUE-sphere

Yoga for the Planet

if you have some time this weekend and even if you don't, make some time and check out an informative and essential workshop presented by a dear friend and teacher, Bernie Clark. Entitled
Yoga for the Planet, the 3 hour workshop will offer many juicy bits of information that will keep your mind spinning for days, but ground it with simple, effective ways to reduce your environmental footprint.

Bernie also presents the environmental policies of the candidates running for Canada's current federal election. A must do.

Saturday, Oct 4th 10 am to 1pm
At the Centre For Peace, in the Great Hall
1825 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Yoga Month
check out the extensive line up at this all day yoga festival at the Vancouver Public Library. All Day with a special benefit concert at night.
Saturday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Vancouver Public Library
oooh lalicious...

If the Northwest's monsoony (a.k.a. cold, rainy season) grey, dark days and onslaught of election and economic gloom on both sides of the border, are making you day dream about a few days of r & r in Tahiti, don't panic. Here's one of our favourite, carbon friendly ways of bringing a tropical spa home to your bathroom and with it a few moments of pure escapism.
Los Angeles based LaLicious crafts pure cane sugar body scrubs, souffles, body oils and body butters that are on every Hollywood eco-fashionista's must have list. The line is 100% paraben free, and blended with fruit and flower extracts, vitamin e, almond oil and coconut oil. Kate Hudson is a believer as is Eva Mendes.
Choose from brown sugar + vanilla, passionfruit + lime, island guava, lily+mango, coconut and their latest, Tahitian flower, a delicate and soothing perfume of gardenias.

Ranging in price from US$ 24 for a body butter to $34 for a body souffle, your pocketbook and the environment will both thank you, not to mention your skin.

Purchase online at

Also available in Canada at:
Made You Blush
Woodstock, New Brunswick Canada

Smashing Cosmetica
Banff, Alberta Canada

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Get wild and natural with the Green Beaver

When wild P.E.I. cranberries, apple mint from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis valley and local, wildcrafted lavender from B.C. form the essences for Canadian company Green Beaver's100% natural line of personal care products, you can breathe easy.

We tested their line of new, organic bodywashes and loti
ons and loved the brisk wake up aroma of the apple mint, the sweetness of the cranberries and the soothing scent of real lavender.

Green Beaver's products are biodegradable and don't contain those unwanted parabens, artificial aromas or presevatives. Safe enough for a baby's bottom or your own.

Purchase Online or ask at your local organic food store.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In the Raw

Here's a double whammy for today.

I wrote a short piece for one of my favourite online lifestyle newsletters about this fantastic new art + lounge called
Raw Canvas just opened in Yaletown by some fantastic yogis + friends. Check out the piece at
J Crew Yoga

So... back onto the blogging. Sorry I've been away and been a little unwell as well... part of the hazards of being a yoga teacher, sometimes when you're walking a room and adjusting people who may be ill, you can get a little flu bug too.

Anyhow, I am running low on simple camisole like tops to practice in - I prefer really lightweight ones, and I chanced upon these two styles from J Crew, which incidentally enough are on sale right now. Check them out.
I like the double strap camisole and the seamless camisole styles. Each is around US$19.99 plus shipping.

I also like J Crew's overall yoga line, especially the fabric which is cotton blended with a hint of nylon for stretch, though why these aren't available in organic cotton, I don't know.

Get with the eco-yoga program, J Crew, already.