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Why Detox?

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Detox in a bottle, detox in a juice kit, detox in your yoga class! It seems everywhere we turn this word is tossed at us. Behind all the hype is a process in the body that deals with toxins and gets rid of waste. Consider that a cross-Canada study by Environmental Defence (Neumann J et al. (2005) Environmental Defence Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadians) found that on average participants had 44 chemicals in their bloodstreams, including carcinogens, hormone disruptors, respiratory toxins and reproductive toxins. More than ever in history, we are exposed to toxic food, toxic personal care products, toxic air and toxic water. While the body is designed to be able to eliminate toxins, it is being exposed to a much larger load than evolution bargained for. So, the detox hype is definitely warranted! However, we need to do this properly and that doesn’t mean fads, but a thorough understanding of how to help the body’s detoxification systems.

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Some symptoms of toxin overload (or sluggish detoxification) include fatigue, aches, joint pain, sinus problems, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, sleep disturbances, cravings, skin issues, PMS, excess weight and difficulty losing weight.

Detoxification does not have to be about deprivation or fancy supplements. Your body detoxifies best when it’s given the resources it needs to do that – healthy food! Our detox is designed to nourish your body with foods to help it balance blood sugar, support liver detox pathways, improve digestion and reduce inflammation. We’ll introduce lifestyle tips to reduce exposure to toxins and to help remove them through enjoyable activities, like detox baths.

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Fall is a fantastic time to try a detox. It’s an opportunity to let go of summer indulgences and shift to seasonal foods that prepare the body to survive the winter months with optimal health and vitality. Our group detox program will help you to strengthen your immune system and build adrenal reserves to better handle stress using real foods and delicious recipes.

It all begins on October 25th, find out more here!

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Nepal Fundraiser

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Kamal and I

by Meghan Muldoon

I met Kamal in 2009 in Kathmandu. I was looking for a guide to take me on a two week trek around Annapurna and he happened to come into the office while I was talking to the manager. He had a gentle and kind energy and as soon as I learned that he was one of their guides, I asked if he was available to guide me. It was one of those split second decisions that I was glad I made. Kamal is exactly as my instinct told me he was. He was patient and caring and saw me through all of the trials and tribulations of an inexperienced hiker. I had unforgettable adventure and am so thankful to him for an incredible experience.

Last week, when I heard the news of the earthquake in Nepal, I wrote him immediately to find out if he and his family were ok. I was relieved to hear that they were not injured but heartbroken to find out about the circumstances they are dealing with in Kathmandu. Kamal and his wife, Rita, along with their 11 year old son, their daughter and nephew who are both 7 years old and his two sisters have all lost their homes and are living under tarps. They have no where else to go and no idea of when they will have a home to return to. There are hundreds of thousands more like Kamal and his family in Nepal so please give generously.

Join us for our Nepal Fundraiser at OG on Wednesday, May 6th. We will have treats, 30 minute massages with Emanuel and yoga from 6-9 pm – all by donation. OG will match all donations. We will be giving the donations to Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Government will be matching all donations.

Shake It Up

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danceWe all get stuck in our patterns and our habitual ways of moving. Take yoga for example: maybe you have been doing level 1 yoga classes for the past 6 months; by moving only in set ways, you might go on automatic pilot. Consider trying a new movement modality to wake yourself up. This might mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Sometimes we need a new teacher, a new voice, a different perspective to facilitate further growth and development.

Recently, Octopus Garden has been hosting Trusting Movement workshops led by Taeji. I decided to dip my toe in the water and try one in January after hearing Scott Davis talk about Taeji and what we might experience. I am happy that I did. Sometimes the right teacher appears.

Taeji is a kind, gentle presence. Right away, I felt that he was able to create a safe, open, caring environment in which I could “put it all down” (his words). I love this phrase. I interpret this as emptying your cup and letting it go. Taeji invites you to sincerely participate in the best way you know how and to leave your judging mind at the door. We are encouraged to be fully in our body as he makes suggestions for spontaneous movement, often to music. Sometimes you move independently, sometimes with a partner and sometimes in a small group, often without verbal communication. It is liberating to be with self and others without dialogue. There is power in raw experience and I am reminded that I learn by doing. I often make profound connections through my body that would normally take me much longer to understand through talk therapy. I am in awe of the body’s ability to know, yet I am also aware that in every day life I can disconnect from my body. Society has conditioned me to assign high value to the thinking mind, but I do value the wisdom that is appearing through the body.

I show up at these sessions with Taeji because I yearn to connect more intimately with myself and to get out of my head. I understand that I am training myself to do this, to discover and appreciate other ways of knowing and being in the world. I experience a parade of emotions in a class, and I learn that they move through me and move on. Sometimes I feel extraordinarily vulnerable and I feel myself quivering. Sometimes I feel joyous, surprised , or have intense bursts of anger. I am NOT a dancer. But I AM movement. Sometimes a feeling of self-consciousness emerges, then it fades as I regain my flow. I remind myself to breathe, to put it all down and stay with myself. The other movers are engrossed in their own experience, yet simultaneously connected and inspired by others’ expressions of movement. We are together in doing our own dances.

 Join us on Sunday March 8th for the next Trusting Movement Workshop. You don’t have to be a dancer and you don’t have to be good at movement, you just need to feel a little bit curious. Come shake things up and feel more alive. Thank you Octopus Garden for offering these sessions. I am deeply grateful.

 Lisa teaches Mobilize and Restore a new class offering at Octopus Garden on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

By: Lisa Mitchell

In the depths of Winter and cold and flu season – how can you stay healthy?

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_MG_5903As January sinks it’s icy fingers deeper into us, we might find ourselves struggling to ward off the season’s cold and flu bugs. Lack of sunshine, the added stress of frigid weather (getting chilled can lead to getting a cold), being forced to spend much of our days indoors breathing stale, contaminated air, and being surrounded by family or coworkers who have already caught the ‘bug’ – these all contribute to compromising our own health and immune system.

While we can’t wear a gas mask in the office or check into a hotel when someone at home catches a cold, we can take preventive measures that reduce our susceptibility to infectious agents and increases our immune response to the same. Healthy lifestyle choices,  like good nutrition combined with homeopathic treatment, is a sure fire way to achieve this goal.

Homeopathy is a holistic system of vibrational medicine that uses highly diluted natural substances to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism (of which the immune system is one part). Developed over 200 years ago by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy understands illness as an imbalance in the life force of an organism. Restoring balance restores order and health in the body, mind and spirit. A strong, balanced life force is less susceptible to external contagions and is more able to effectively fight unwanted agents in the case the organism has been compromised.

Homeopathy can be used both preventively as well as acutely. Preventive homeopathic flu protocols have been successfully used all over the world for many decades. Numerous surveys have placed the efficacy of the flu prevention protocols at ~90%. Acute treatment can, if started early enough, nip the bug or if that is too late, reduce the severity and duration of flu/cold symptoms naturally and holistically. All benefits come from a properly functioning life force – there is no masking of symptoms. Homeopathic remedies have no side-effects and no counter indications with other medicines and/or treatments, holistic or allopathic. This makes homeopathy a great choice for all, especially babies, seniors, pregnant women and sensitive, immune compromised individuals.

The same Homeopathic principles that apply to treating colds and flus apply to treating other acute illnesses (UTI, dental issues, stomach upset, trauma, injuries, etc.) as well as chronic illnesses (PMS, menopause, sleep issues ,allergies, thyroid conditions, gastric conditions, anxiety, depression, etc.). Come in to the OG clinic or book a free 20min consultation with clinic homeopath, Kanan Patel, to discuss how this incredible system of medicine can help you and your family.

Kanan Patel has a passion to help people (and pets!) regain their health and Vitality. Owner of Vital Life Homeopathy, Kanan has been using her back ground in science (PhD Astrophysics) and education and training in Homeopathy (DCHM) to bring her clients the best in holistic, natural and individualized health care.

The Politics Of Practice

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The place comes to me before anything else and this happens when I am too young to know the words.

As I get older, the place sits in my heart, gathering, gathering, as I learn and grow as a human being, until one day I understand the reason I will fly over oceans to stand on her land, in her arms.

The reason starts when I am young, too, but as it is with all of us in those early days, the ones where we take our first steps and laugh our first laugh and find our first words, there is much in our grasp, just as there is much that eludes us.

I am know I am a girl and that I have a vagina—I don’t know what this means in the world, really, because I am shielded from the war that wages against my kind until I am old enough to be let in on the secret.

My mother—a single working woman—is loving and tougher on me and my schoolwork than on my brother and she says repeatedly, You have to do better…you have to try harder…as a woman you will have to work twice as hard to survive in this world…and so I do my best to do better and begin too-early to feel the weight of the world settle onto my too-young shoulders.

Already, I am a warrior fighting for my right to be here and I have not yet had my first period.

My story follows a path of (mostly) freedom from this moment on—I was born into a country and a family that believe in my right to choose what happens to my body; in my right to express myself using my voice and my words without threat of punishment, violence or death and, in my right to be a woman, equal to all human beings.

This path allows me the privilege to thrive.

So much of how our lives unfold depend on where we are born and what how we are raised—if you are reading this, it is possible that your path is similar to mine. You, like I, may move through this world with relative freedom; you, like I, may have figured out early on, not without some struggle, how to leap over the obstacles that are placed in your way by others who do not believe in your equality.

For too many of us—the silent ones, mostly—the only way forward is to survive.

This leads me to the place (Africa) and the reason for these words (the war on girls).

Had I not been born here and into the family that dreamed of me, my story would unfold in a way that is difficult to imagine. Instead of being encouraged to stand up for myself and create a life of my own choosing, before my first period, between the ages of four and eight, I would have been initiated in a ritual that my elders claim enhances my femininity.

They would perform this ritual—female genital mutilation—one steeped heavily in custom and tradition—to protect me from being raped before I was married at too-young an age; they would tell me that the sacred space at the meeting of my thighs is unclean and dirty and that my clitoris and labia are my “male parts” and need to be removed to decrease the risk of infidelity.

There will be many reasons and I will wonder if any of them are true.

What they will not tell me, even though they themselves have lived this trauma for the course of their lives, is that I will have to endure constant violation to my vagina—without medication or sterilization—many times as I grow older.

Because they will sew me together when they are done removing my parts, each time an opening is required, say for the blessing of my marriage, or the birth of my children, I will need to be cut, again and again, to allow life to happen.

Some of us in my village won’t make it to the rest of our lives—we will develop an infection or bleed out and if we are lucky, there will be a place to go nearby that will save us—and if not, we will die.

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Photo from Pinterest

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Bryonie’s life is rooted in the belief that when we come from a place of love, anything is possible. When not teaching yoga (soon-to-be at Misfit Studio and as a supporting teacher at 889 Yoga, Ahimsa Yoga and Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre) or writing her heart to the bone (for Rebelle Society and elephant journal, where she recently stepped away from her role as Managing Editor), she can be found synching each step on this path to the beat of her heart.

Join her on Saturday, November 29th, 7-9:30pm, for Poetics of Practice, an evening dedicated to the freedom of all beings. All funds raised (the cost is $25 or by donation) will be contributed towards her fundraising efforts for the 2015 Seva Challenge to Kenya, with Off the Mat into the World, which focuses on female genital mutilation, early childhood marriage and raises awareness of violence against women around our world. For more information please follow this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/2015sevachallengetokenya/fundraiser/bryoniewise.

Gentle Can Be Deep

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This fall at Octopus Garden, I am fortunate to teach a class that I feel so passionate about.  The class is Gentle Yoga. I teach it on Wednesday from 12:30-1:45pm and it is for everyone! There is no right way to be in this class. Instead of the “what”(or the pose), we focus on “how” we move and what arises.

Here is why we need this class. We live in a society that values doing over being, efficiency over connection, fast over slow and outcome over process. This class may be for you if are intrigued with the idea of moving slowly and mindfully as a way to connect with self. If you are recovering from illness or injury, manage anxiety and/or depression and want to practice self-care, give this class a try. My hope is that through this class, we will practice Svadyaya, or self study, one of my favorite Niyamas.

I have always used my asana practice to become more intimate with self – it is a vehicle for awakening.  Yoga is the discipline of forging connection. I have learned that I can’t always experience all the layers of me when I am pushing myself vigorously in a flow class. In fact, when I practice hard and fast, I sometimes bypass what I am feeling. By moving slowly, linking movement and breath and paying exquisite attention to what surfaces, I learn how to exist in this human body. I take these lessons into the world and in turn the world hands me material to explore on my mat. The process is not always comfortable but it is valuable and necessary if I want to continue to grow and manifest my highest self.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • A safe, spacious container to explore being alive
  • A healing environment
  • A proposed theme as a jumping off point e.g., Satya, meaning truth. How can you honour and express your truth today?
  • Questions, suggestions, guidance and options for movement as opposed to direction
  • An opening meditation, either seated or reclining where we might cultivate breath awareness or practice breath techniques
  • Mindful movement in support of self-discovery.Emphasis on compassionately observing feelings, sensations, energy, breath, space.
  • One or two restorative postures and a long savasana to rest and digest
  • A short guided meditation may conclude the class and send us off into the world
  • Sometimes music, a quotation and/or a short reading

I look forward to see you there and I am leaving you with one of my favorite poems by David Whyte

Enough

Enough.  These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
We have refused
Again and again
Until now

Until now.

Namaste,

Lisa Mitchell

CONTEST ALERT

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Hey yogis! We want to help you make awesome plans for this week, on and off the mat.

We have TWO PAIRS of tickets to giveaway to the screening of GMO OMG happening this Saturday at The Royal Cinema (it’s just down the street from OG). It’s an eye-opening documentary on the use of Genetically Modified Organisms in our culture. Learn more about how to heal the planet, feed the world, and live sustainably.

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There are two ways to enter;

  1. Attend our 200 Hour Fundamentals info night this Wednesday from 7:30-8:30 and fill out a ballot.

AND/OR

  1. Share this post on FB or Twitter, and be sure to ‘tag’ or ‘@’ us!

Do both, and you’ll get TWO ballots. Score!

Get more info on the screening here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1534352063454134/

And check out the trailer on their website here: http://syndicado.com/menu/gmo-omg/

Good luck! Contest closes Friday July 25th, at 12:00pm. We’ll announce our lucky winners the same day.