Veggie Spots in Old Montreal

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Veggie Spots in Old Montreal

HAPPY WORLD VEGAN DAY!

When the studio first opened there were only a handful of veggie friendly spots to eat. Now we find ourselves recommending so many yummy new places! Here are some of our faves:

Flyjin: small coffee shop, our favorite chai lattes, fresh pressed orange juice, ultra friendly service

Lov: delicious vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Beautiful decor.

Mandy's: mostly vegetarian salads and bowls, but there are vegan options! Founded by 2 Montreal women.

Olive & Gourmando: some veggie options (the "24" salad is our fave), great coffee and treats. 

Tommy's: funky coffee shop with some vegan desserts, lots of seating

Venice: lots of veggie options, surfer ambiance. 

Vivalia: lots of veggie options, juices & smoothies, cafeteria style or take out.

Lola Rosa: vegetarian/vegan take out, with a couple of small tables if you want to sit for a quick bite.

You can also check out the Montreal Vegan Festival at Marché Bonsecours this weekend, from Saturday November 4th to Sunday November 5th!

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Happiness in a few simple steps

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Happiness in a few simple steps

Coming from a long line of women who believed in natural beauty and simple skincare, my appreciation for clean beauty started early in life. The women who raised me were full of life and laughter and didn’t have much time or patience for complicated skincare routines. In the early days, my choices for skincare products were rooted in botanical ingredients — hippy-type rituals — so I naturally looked for keywords like ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’ before purchasing any products. Yet, after reading packaging ingredients which I could barely pronounce, and not wanting to be guided by marketing jargon alone, through many years of research, I reached a turning point which inevitably led me to a deeper understanding of cleaner beauty, and the eventual creation of Audre Leigh.

What is clean beauty, you might ask? The clean beauty movement takes the ‘all-natural’ products that we normally find in health food stores, infuses them with a little glam and turns them into “must-have-non-toxic-ultrachics” with the ultimate goal of keeping consumers safe from harmful chemicals from standard beauty products.

It turns out, we don’t really need all those toxins in our products and that many of the ingredients we use in our healthy eating habits are equally potent in skincare regimens. For example, organic maca powder often added to smoothies is a skin brightening ingredient found in our Root Clay Mask, while our Earth Cleanse face exfoliant is made with organic hemp, organic rice powder, chamomile and pineapple powders. Organic plant oils and extracts are incredibly skin-healing and make the next step to a more natural approach to your skincare that much easier.  Using pure, organic ingredients means your skin is absorbing only what it should, and doesn’t have to contend with the synthetics and silicones in standard products, that offer nothing to your skin. The same goes for perfumes and chemically enhanced ingredients known to irritate skin, which offer literally no benefits.

So, with my own modern take, based on a curated list of botanical formulations, emphasizing an eco-conscious awareness towards ingredients and packaging, I breathed life into Audre Leigh. To me, clean beauty is happiness in a glass jar! A simple step towards skincare, for you and the world around you, feels good — and happiness always looks beautiful.

For more information on ingredients found in many household or beauty products that are known skin irritants or associated with endocrine (hormonal) toxicity, check out environmentaldefence.ca and join the movement of kicking toxins out of our daily lives!

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Shannon will be officially launching her clean beauty products on November 17th at Luna. Click here to register for the Audre Leigh Launch: A Beauty, Wellness and Karma Event

For more Audre Leigh products, check out our Prana and Savasana lotions on our online shop, made with organic and eco-certified ingredients or visit https://www.audreleigh.com/ for a wider selection of products!

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Gratitude

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Gratitude

When I was about 8 or 9 years old I went to a  water park with camp. My mom would have me all signed up for camp as soon as I was out of school for summer vacation. I loved it. I made friends, I went to the pool, we went for hikes, went to the zoo – what an awesome time. After the water park incident though, I wasn’t very keen on going back the following summers. I did, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I never developed a fear of water – but a fear for being alone in a place I didn’t know or with people who didn’t know me.

As a child, I remember being at a water park in a wave pool just a few feet in. I wasn’t a strong swimmer but I could tread water for a long time. I just hadn’t tried treading water when there were waves big enough to cover my head. I remember loving them at first, but waves tend to pull you in a little deeper, even in a pool. Eventually, the waves got bigger, and I could no longer control the direction my body went. I was being swooshed left and right, back and forth, sometimes my feet would touch the ground but if they did, the water was above my head and I had to kick the ground hard to get back to the top – to breathe. I managed to do that for a while but my muscles tired out quickly and I had no idea where I was in the pool. Slowly, the more I tried to gasp for air, the more water would fill my throat, my mouth. I still remember the heavy taste of chlorine, the smell of it. The burning sensation in my nose going to the back of my throat. That itchy but painful sensation. But I wanted to keep breathing – just one breath of fresh air was all I needed. But I just couldn’t make it to the top. I was too deep and I couldn’t kick up anymore. My arms were of no use to me.

As I grow older, I realize that life can sometimes feel like that incident. You’re constantly treading, trying to keep yourself afloat. Sometimes a big wave comes crashing onto you and you feel like you might be at a loss. You try to take back that control, by fighting, kicking hard, but your environment is impossibly stubborn. It shifts relentlessly on its own.

A few years ago that pain came rushing back. Every time I took a breath in my rib cage felt like it couldn’t expand anymore and I used to get this sharp familiar feeling at the back of my throat moving all the way to rest right in the middle of my chest. And it hurt. It hurt so much that I had to find ways to cope. I couldn’t deal with the hurt anymore. I needed a breath of fresh air. My coping mechanisms weren’t healthy, so eventually, just a little over 3 years ago, I found a healthier way to process the pain. I started yoga. I started talking. I started opening up. I started but I haven’t finished. There’s still a lot of tug and pull going on.

The incident in the water - when I’d come to, I was by the side of the pool and there were a few people around me including one of my camp counselors. It was a weird feeling opening up my eyes and not seeing anyone I really knew. They were just a bunch of strangers bobbing their heads above mine. Someone had pulled me from the water – they’d come down the emergency ladder and pulled me up to safety. I was a kid back then. I was still learning how to swim. I only knew how to tread water.

Assuming you’ve practiced at Luna before, you know that the energy in the space is always a welcoming one. It’s not only bright lit studio, the music or the enchanting décor that invites you in. It’s the people. It’s a place where no matter who you talk to, there’s a bond being made.  There are no strangers. It’s in this space where you can’t help but feel lighter. You roll out your mat, you take a seat, and then – it finally comes. That breath of fresh air. The breath you’ve been looking for.

Today, swimming is a special part of who I am. I love the ocean. I love to dive and snorkel and I love the waves. I love the feeling. And I’m grateful to my practice for that. I was taught to see things differently. I was taught that perhaps, moving with the waves, letting them take you on a journey, is OK. It might feel scary at first, but there’s a reason the wave is taking you there. There’s something you have to experience. And we can all find it in us to keep on treading.

Here’s a challenge for you:

When things ever feel a little shaky or out of your control, find one thing, whether it’s your practice, your breakfast, your dog. Find that one thing – that day – that you’re most grateful for. Sometimes, it can make all the difference.

October Thanksgiving challenge:

I can’t assume that anything I wrote was relatable, but if there’s anything at all that seems a little familiar, maybe today is the day you make a shift. Let the waves form, but as they pass, instead of letting the fear and uncertainty take over, make a conscious decision to find something to hold onto. Something to keep you steady.  Today, maybe even tomorrow, choose to be grateful for one thing in your life, your day.  

We’ve created a ‘10 Things, 10 Days’ gratitude card that you can download and print out to keep you motivated! Try to update it once a day for as long as you can. It is the month of thanks after all, so maybe your challenge is to keep going until the end of the month!
Printable Gratitude card

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Mindful Eating for the Fall season

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Mindful Eating for the Fall season

I recently went back to a desk job after a few years and it really encouraged me to be more mindful and proactive when it comes to preparing meals. Starting your back to school/work season mindfully can make all the difference, from how you approach the day to navigating your way through it. Here are some tips that I hope prove to be helpful!

1. Plan your meals – put everything together the night before so that morning runs smoothly and
nothing gets forgotten. Set the coffeemaker the night before. Put your takeout mug right next to the coffeemaker or kettle (if tea or hot lemon water is more your thing). Defrost your frozen oatmeal breakfast smoothie that was prepped on the weekend. A simple way to have a great supper ready to go when you get home is to use a slow cooker. Prep everything the night before and put the cooking dish in the fridge, covered. The next morning just pop it into the heating unit and turn it on. Dinner should be simmering as you walk through the door at the end of the day.

Meal planning tools are really important. Here are some links to free online meal planners with
recipes included:

www.soscuisine.com
www.eatracker.com
https://ohmyveggies.com/category/meal-plans/

A new meal planning site, for minimal fees, can also help, since it groups all of the best bloggers’
recipes and allows you to choose a week of menu planning based on your taste preferences:

www.realplans.com

You can also check out my Pinterest page at: www.Pinterest.com/nutritionmtl/

And some great downloadables for menu planning and grocery shopping are:

http://thecottagemarket.com/2017/01/free-printable- meal-planner- set.html
http://dearcrissy.com/free-printable- meal-planner/

2. Plan your activities – know what’s coming up so that you can support your activities with planned snacks and meals. Give yourself enough time to get from one place to another without stress. Say no to things that are overwhelming. And make sure to schedule in some fun!

3. Plan your outfits – put your yoga clothing in your bag the night before. That way when you’re in a rush, or when you wake up not quite motivated, your better judgement will have your back. Make sure all of your laundry is done and put away for the week so you’re not running around for that perfect shirt without a clue where it’s hiding.

4. Find balance between work and play. Balance studying with pleasurable activities. Studying
outside is still studying – disconnect by focusing on the way a leaf blows in the wind or how a squirrel eats a nut. Schedule in something to look forward to every day, even if that means committing to ending the work day at a certain time.

5. And if you need reminders, and sometimes we all do, keep some positive affirmations around. I
like to keep a reminder on the lock screen of my phone that reminds me to “BREATHE.” Little post-its around your computer may also help. Here’s one to get you started eating mindfully: “Don’t chew your worries, your fear, or your anger. If you chew your planning and your anxiety, it’s difficult to feel grateful for each piece of food. Just chew your food.”  ― Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Eat

Enjoy a happy back to school, a happy back to work, a happy fall season. Step into it peacefully and mindfully, and you will find balance through this transition and positivity in more trying moments.

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An Anniversary Celebration!

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An Anniversary Celebration!

Our anniversary celebration was a huge success again this year, complete with a full class, sharing of stories, delicious food and fun surprises!

Full class

Before class Jenn shared a few words and stories about the studio's humble beginnings and how she never anticipated the impact that it would have in the community. Frances expressed how much the studio means to her, and how Jenn & Jason have positively impacted so many. And Bram, throughout the whole class, shared funny stories and anecdotes (as he always does!) but mainly emphasized how much gratitude we all share for our treasured studio space.

There was a lot of talk about community, and the anniversary class really brought that out... From the class taught by Bram and assisted by Jenn and Frances, to all the helping hands who put the gift bags together, to the delicious food prepared by one of our generous yogis, Mit, along with the delectable cookies baked by Jenn and Frances that very day. And of course, most important of all, all of the wonderful yogis who attended, some who have been there since the very beginning (and even before the studio opened!) and others who are new to our Luna family!

We extend so much humble thanks and gratitude to you all. Without you all the studio would simply not exist, and your presence, support and love is the foundation of your beautiful space.

There were many requests for us to share recipes from the event, so here they are!

Mit's Vegan Patties

Ingredients

Vegan Patties
  • 100 grams of cooked rice cooled overnight
  • 500 grams potatoes
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 kg carrots
  • approx. 10 zucchinis (or any summer squash of your choosing)
  • olive oil
  • cumin and/or coriander seeds
  • salt, pepper, turmeric to taste
  • tarragon and coriander herbs
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • mint leaves
  • fresh coriander
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • bread crumbs (optional)

- Boil the potatoes until they soften. Peel and let cool for 20 mins.
- Chop the cauliflower thinly and wash/rinse thoroughly.
- Put a frying pan on high heat with a few drops of olive oil, plus a pinch of cumin/coriander seeds, add cauliflower.
- Fry cauliflower to coat with olive oil, not cook through. It should still be hard on the outside, and a little softer on the inside.
- Lower the heat add salt, pepper and turmeric to taste and let sit for 5-7 mins.
- Remove from heat and transfer cauliflower into a bowl. Season with tarragon, coriander and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Toss and let cool for 20 mins.
- Lightly mash cooled potatoes until it makes a paste. Season with salt, pepper, half of a green hot chili pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 mint leaves, a couple of coriander leaves a few drops of fresh lemon juice.
- Mix cauliflower and potatoes together.
- Rinse carrot and zucchini (or squash) and grate into thin slices. Massage in 3-5 tsps of salt.
- Drain thoroughly (may take up to 30 mins to dry completely)
- Add seasoning to your liking: pepper, green herbs (parsley, coriander, mint, tarragon, rosemary)
- Add carrot and zucchini mixture to potato and cauliflower mixture.
- Mix pre-cooked rice and add seasoning if necessary.
- If you find the dough too moist you can add bread crumbs. This also adds a nice, crunchy texture. 
- Separate dough into round patties, about 1-2 inches thick. Cool in the refrigerator for 30-45 mins.
- Fry patties in olive oil on medium-high heat, 2-3 mins on each side. 

Veggie Side Dish

Ingredients

Veggie Side Dish
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary
  • 5 medium-sized onions
  • 2-3 red peppers
  • 2 carrots


- Cut in halves at least 5-7 boxes of cherry tomatoes of various colours, then drizzle with olive oil.
- Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Bake for 90mins on 300F minimum, or overnight-slow heat is very good if you have time.
- Thinly cut onions, red peppers, carrots or any other desire grilled vegetables, bake for 90min on 300F the oven.
- Mix them with cherry tomatoes and add any desired green herbs, refrigerate this dish for 4-6 hrs before serving.

Ginger Cookies
Cowgrrrl Cookies
Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

We're already looking forward to next year's anniversary festivities! Hope to see you then!

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Summer Festivals Pt. 2: Bram Levinson at Wanderlust Tremblant

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Summer Festivals Pt. 2: Bram Levinson at Wanderlust Tremblant

Bram Levinson will be teaching at Wanderlust Tremblant for the 3rd time! Catch him at one of his 5 workshops:

Bram Levinson

Thursday, August 24
8am Demystifying the Chakras
4pm Introduction to iRest Yoga Nidra

Friday, August 25
10am Dharma and Doubt Vinyasa Flow
2pm Nostalgia Vinyasa Flow

Saturday, August 26
12pm Meditation for Everyone

For some tips on how to maximize on your outdoor yoga festival experience check out our Summer Festivals Pt. 1 blog!

A few Wanderlust Tremblant specific tips

  • Make sure to allow yourself ample travel time, as there will be many people heading out to Tremblant for the weekend. Check the travel time on Google Maps and factor in an extra 30-45 minutes!
  • The corner store in the village can be a little pricey, so make sure to be well prepared! 
  • Restaurants in the village can also be costly, and there are not too many vegan options, so bringing your own food to prepare your own meals might be a good idea. If you have access to transportation you can also check out restaurants outside of the village.
  • Though classes may appear as "FULL" on the schedule, if you are really keen on attending, you can still take a chance and wait in line for the class, as there are always last minute cancellations!

Looking forward to another stellar Wanderlust Festival! See you there!

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Summer Festivals Pt. 1: Jennifer Maagendans at Park Rising

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Summer Festivals Pt. 1: Jennifer Maagendans at Park Rising

Your favourite Luna teachers will be teaching at nearby outdoor yoga festivals this summer!

Jennifer Maagendans will be teaching in Hudson at Park Rising, a yoga and health festival taking place the weekend of August 5th-6th.  Join her on the Sunday 11am-12pm for an invigorating Jivamukti practice! For more information about the festival and to view the full schedule visit: http://parkrising.com/

 

Jenn.jpg

Some quick tips for making your outdoor summer yoga festival experience more enjoyable…

  • Bring sunscreen, a water bottle, a hat and/or sunglasses!
  • Bring an older yoga mat that you don’t mind getting dirty, or a towel to put under your yoga mat.
  • Bring a lighter coloured mat if possible, as darker mats tend to heat up in the sun
  • Bring snacks! Packing in all those classes will have you working up quite the appetite! Bring snacks that travel well: trail mix, dried fruit, apples, oranges… Nothing that will bruise or get banged up easily!
  • Be practical about picking your schedule! We tend to get excited about all the class possibilities that we sometimes forget about logistics… Are the classes back to back? How far apart are they in distance?
  • Consider mixing it up, you may be a Flow-lover but festivals are a great time to mix it up with some Yin and Restorative too! Your body will thank you for it!
  • Lastly, as with anything in life, HAVE FUN! Walk around, take in the sights, check out the vendor booths, grab some free samples, attend some outdoor concerts! Make the most out of your festival experience!

    Happy summer festival-ing yogis!
     

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An Homage to Luna Yoga on its 14th Anniversary!

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An Homage to Luna Yoga on its 14th Anniversary!

I first came to Luna Yoga in the late summer of 2008. Until that point, I had practiced a much gentler style of yoga with the first teacher I was blessed to find along my journey, Joan Ruvinsky. I was initially introduced to the deeply rooted philosophical teachings that Joan incorporates, but I soon found myself craving a more physical practice. I had quickly formed a home practice after first starting in yoga, and as I found myself attempting more advanced postures at home, I always kept an element of caution to my movement, knowing I needed to find a space where I could be supervised as I went deeper into it. My sister from another mister, Sonia Papasimakis-Collins, was at that time the Store Manager of the Ste-Catherine St Lululemon store and had been telling me for months that I had to come try this teacher whose studio was in Old Montreal, and whose classes were beyond what she ever could have expected from a yoga session.

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