Here's what some of your favourite Luna teachers had to say about their Wanderlust Tremblant experience this year!
Peut-être vous demandez vous en quoi consiste le cours de Yin + Flo du dimanche matin ? En fait, c’est une pratique accessible à tous qui combine une heure de Yoga Flo 1 avec 30 minutes de Yin Yoga. Vous pouvez me faire confiance, vos dimanches matins n’auront jamais été aussi relaxants, c’est encore mieux qu’une grasse matinée :-)
As I contemplated writing this blog in celebration of Luna Yoga's 15 year anniversary I asked myself, "How can I put into words what Luna Yoga means to me and to so many others?" Just like the practice and experience of Yoga itself, it's difficult to describe and is better to be experienced first hand... But I'll do my best!
I first came to the studio in 2009 I believe, while I was working at lululemon. A co-worker, Marie-Claire, brought me to Luna Yoga, saying I absolutely had to try a Jivamukti class. (Of course my reaction, as I've since experienced many others have was, "Jiva-what?") I immediately fell in love! Though I lived and worked in Pointe-Claire at the time, I would take public transportation all the way to the Old Port (about an hour commute) every Friday just to take Jenn's noon class.
It was on my first yoga retreat with Jenn and Bram that I seriously began contemplating becoming a yoga teacher. I remember speaking to Jenn about it saying, "I think I want to do the Jivamukti training, but I'm not sure if it's because I love Jivamukti, or because I love you!" Jenn encouraged me to practice with Sharon and David, the co-founders of the Jivamukti style, to see if their teachings resonated with me. And of course, they did!
It really is thanks to the support of Jenn, Jason and the studio that I made it to Jivamukti training at all. 7:30am donation classes were added to the schedule on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and the proceeds went to a scholarship to help me pay part of my tuition. Jenn read all my required essays before I submitted them. Before I left for the month-long training she reassured me, "You're in a good place in your life for this right now. You're ready!" Her confidence in my capabilities really bolstered my self-esteem. Since the beginning she has always been there cheering me on, supporting my growth as a teacher and as a person.
I remember getting back from the training and teaching my first trial class at the studio. Bram was in the class, in order to later give Jenn feedback on how I did. (Talk about nerve-racking!) But as anyone who has ever taught at the studio can attest to, the students were all gracious and encouraging. You can really feel them rooting for you and see them smiling at you, seeing you in the best light! The community that Luna Yoga has brought together is truly one where you can feel the love, right as you step in the door.
Since then I've gone on to teach sections of the Luna Yoga Teacher Training, pass the Jivamukti Advanced certification exam, become the studio manager, mentor the Jivamukti training and co-lead my first yoga retreat abroad (something that had been a goal of mine for some time), just to name a few accomplishments that I am proud of! And truly, at the root of all of them, is that Luna love.
If I had to (attempt) to define it it would be:
Luna love ळुन ळोव्
n. Unconditional support from a community of like-minded individuals, whose purpose is to uplift others, encourage them in achieving their goals and celebrate their accomplishments
I am so thankful to Jenn, Jason and the Luna Yoga community, for creating a space that truly feels like a second home to so many. Every day I walk in to the studio I am filled with joy and gratitude. Here's to many, many, many more years of spreading the Luna love!
LUNA YOGA FEATURED IN STYLIGHT.COM BLOG:
"These are the best yoga studios in Canada"
by Kayla Kuefler
From Saturday’s spent at the rink, to traversing mountaintops and canoeing wild rapids (not to mention all the shoveling in between), it’s safe to say that Canadians are a pretty active bunch. Hockey’s a given, but did you know that the country is also brimming with yoga fanatics? Justin Trudeau himself is basically a pro (well, unofficially).
Google Trends reports that the country with the highest number of people searching Yoga around the world is none other than Canada. And surprisingly, within the country, the most yoga-curious bunch comes from the Yukon! British Columbia, Lululemon’s birthplace, came in a close second to the territory.
Canadians practice more yoga on a per capita basis than our southern neighbours and coast-to-coast, there seems to be a new studio or class popping up every other day.
So, in celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21 (which, fun fact: International Yoga Day was officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014), we’ve created a Canada-wide map pinpointing the very best studios to get your namaste on across the country.
From Whitehorse to St. John’s, Haida Gwaii to Saskatoon, this is where Canadians go to find their zen.
Luna Yoga is a bilingual studio in Montreal, Quebec. They offer Jivamukti, Vinyasa and a variety of special classes like Yin + Flo, Metta Flo, and Chakra Flo.
Frances Vicente, the studio’s manager, says that to make the most out of your yoga practice, “put it in your calendar and make it a priority.”
“We often put our personal wellness at the end of our to-do list, so it gets pushed aside. People often say they want to do yoga but they’re too busy. In my experience, most people are always busy; it’s about being able to be present and make time for yoga, to find peace in all the ups and downs of life.”
To view the full article click here.
With only a couple of days left before I get back home from being away, I’m really looking forward to giving the Intro to iRest Yoga Nidra workshop again at Luna Yoga. I studied this form of guided meditation technique because my ultimate goal with my life and my career is to help people heal from their wounds, and I wanted another tool to accomplish that to add to the yoga asana practice, but wanted something that was more accessible than a vinyasa practice, something that anyone could do. And iRest is that.
Yoga Nidra is an ancient Hindu and Buddhist guided meditation modality, a meditation format that allows the practitioner to simply follow along with the instructor’s guidance. iRest takes this format one step further by introducing psychotherapeutic elements to the structure similar to Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT), as well as the process of witnessing sensations, thoughts and emotions without personalizing them or identifying with them. These elements have roots in Hindu teachings as well, which makes them so perfectly appropriate for the meditation context.
iRest Yoga Nidra is basically a 30-35 minute guided meditation that helps with everything from simple relaxing and unwinding, to offering healing tools for those working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, chemical dependency, infertility, insomnia, and so much more. By showing practitioners how to effectively work with their thoughts and attention, iRest gives them tools that they can use whenever and wherever, regardless of their circumstances or environment, to get past negative thought and behavioural patterns and live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Join me on Saturday, June 9 from 2-4pm for this transformational workshop where I’ll go into even greater detail on the lineage of iRest and how it’s making a difference in the lives of so many people, and how it can in yours as well! For more details, or to sign up, click here.
Bram Levinson is an author (www.theexaminedlifebook.com, www.ayearinthelight.com), yoga & meditation teacher, blogger and mentor. Based in Montreal, he offers alternative approaches to physical, mental and emotional well-being, promoting healing and spiritual understanding of who we are, why we are here and what this life journey is really all about through group and private classes as well as mentoring sessions, workshops and yoga vacations. He has been on the faculties of multiple conferences, festivals and teacher trainings, and travels throughout the year to bring his teachings to students and teachers around the world.
L’adolescence… période transitoire et effervescente de la vie, où le désir d’indépendance et d’aventures nouvelles s’entremêle avec celui de se définir, de se distinguer, d’appartenir. Oscillant entre rébellion et conformisme, doutes et arrogance, exhalation et nonchalance, l’adolescent se cherche, s’émancipe, vit intensément et découvre qui il est, comme personne unique, distincte de ses parents ou de ceux qui en tiennent lieu.
Ce moment, où, à peine sortie de l’enfance, l’ado prend son envol, avec parfois un peu de maladresse, vibrant de jeunesse et de cet heureux mélange d’insouciance et d’audace présente aussi sa part de défis, de questionnement, de gêne, d’hésitation et, parfois de stress et d’anxiété. La volonté de se définir, d’être accepté par ses pairs et de répondre aux exigences croissantes du monde qui les entoure exerce une pression sur l’ado dont les émotions parfois amplifiées peuvent être difficiles à gérer. Cette part d’ombre et de lumière est riche en enseignements pour le jeune qui aura appris et à qui on aura permis de s’écouter, de s’accueillir et de rayonner.
Plusieurs jeunes, tout comme les adultes, connaissent de périodes de « déconnection » d’avec eux-mêmes et leur corps, vivant par procuration dans le monde virtuel de snap chat et d’instagram. La pratique du yoga, discipline et philosophie ancestrales, est un moyen formidable qui s’offre à l’adolescent de reprendre contact avec son corps, pour le fortifier, l’assouplir et de façon plus subtile, lui permettre d’être à l’écoute de ce que son corps lui dit, de l’émotion sous-jacente qui l’habite et de l’intuition qui lui chuchotte sa vérité. C’est bien connu maintenant, le yoga est un antidote au stress qui améliore la santé physique et émotionnelle. Pour les athlètes, le yoga contribue à réduire les blessures et à accroître la performance et pour les moins sportifs, il offre une façon douce de se mettre en forme. En favorisant l’union du corps et de la pensée, le yoga améliore la santé mentale, la concentration et l’estime personnelle et ouvre la voie à une vie plus épanouie. Le yoga c’est aussi un ensemble de principes philosophiques fondés sur la
compassion, la vérité, la discipline, le contentement, la pureté, et la reconnaissance qu’il n’y a pas que soi.
Dans une société moderne individualiste qui encourage la consommation, la compétition et la comparaison, il peut être rassurant pour l’adolescent d’être sensibilisé à une autre manière de vivre, en accord avec les valeurs du yoga, que sont la compassion, le non-jugement, la coopération, le don de soi pour le bien de tous.
C’est pourquoi j’ai voulu offrir aux adolescents de la communauté de Luna Yoga un atelier d’initiation qui leur sera dédié. L’atelier aura lieu le dimanche le 27 mai de 14h à 16h. Ce sera une occasion de découvrir le yoga et ses bienfaits, dans une ambiance relaxe, sans jugement et amusante. En cette période de fin d’année avec la préparation des examens, c’est le moment idéal pour s’initier au yoga et y trouver un moyen de se mettre en forme, de se reconnecter à soi et de
Après des pranayamas (exercices de respiration), on explorera les principales postures du yoga par un flow vinyasa sur une musique dynamique qui sera suivie d’une période de détente et de méditation guidée. On parlera d’intention et les jeunes seront amenés à prendre un temps pour identifier leurs passions, leurs défis, ce qui les anime, ce qui les choque et pour rêver d’un monde meilleur dont ils seront les acteurs dans un avenir pas si lointain.
Si vous connaissez des ados qui seraient intéressés, passez le mot! Ils peuvent s’inscrire ici: http://www.lunayoga.ca/ateliers-evenements/ado-flo-avec-lysiane-clement-major
- Lysiane Clément-Major
Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Ovenly)
First off, I need to thank the lovely Andrea Rubin, for being the person who introduced me to this recipe in the first place! She brought them to my birthday/housewarming party a couple of years ago and EVERYONE LOVED these cookies... including my boyfriend, who is not a sweets person.
Since then I have made these cookies for many occasions and they are a hit EVERY SINGLE TIME! So here it is... With all my little personal notes and tricks (and Andrea's). :-)
The original recipe comes from Ovenly: https://food52.com/recipes/39132-ovenly-s-secretly-vegan-salted-chocolate-chip-cookies
Makes approximately 18 cookies (I almost always make a double batch because they're so good!)
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (I use 60% - 90% dark chocolate bars and chop them up. I like 70% best personally, but a mix is also nice! Be sure to check that there are no milk ingredients!)
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp canola, grapeseed, or any other neutral oil (I use the liquid coconut oil pictured here)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp water
- Coarse-grained sea salt or flaky sea salt like Maldon, for garnish (I use fleur de sel, as per Andrea's suggestion!)
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the canola oil and water until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes. Note: Use fresh, soft light brown sugar. If there are clumps, break them up with the back of a spoon or your hand before whisking.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and then stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Do not skip this step.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. (I find that my oven is hot so I set it at 325° F instead)
- Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion dough into 2-inch mounds. We recommend freezing the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking as the cookies will retain their shape better while baking. (I do not do freeze my dough and I find that it turns out fine... I do the ice cream scoop trick to make sure that all the cookies are more or less the same size.)
- Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse-grained sea salt (if freezing, remove balls of dough from the freezer first), and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake. (I like my cookies moist and soft so I only bake them for 8 minutes)
- Let cool completely before serving. (I cool them on a cooling rack)
I like to heat up one or two cookies in the microwave and eat them with 1-2 scoops of So Delicious vanilla ice cream on top. It's an extra special treat, and it keeps me from eating all the cookies!
- Frances Vicente
Vegan Banana Coconut Muffins (recipe from Coco Loco Eco-Resort)
While on our Yoga and Surf Retreat at the Coco Loco Eco-Resort in Nicaragua, we got to enjoy some of the most delicious food! One morning for breakfast we were served the most incredible, moist, flavourful banana coconut muffins and I looked at the woman behind the counter with the most serious expression and told her: "I need that recipe." She saw the intensity in my face and went straight the kitchen to take a picture of the recipe.
So for the last week of our #SpringChallenge and also to bring back a little bit of our Nicaragua experience, I made them for both my Luna classes! I got several requests to share the recipe, so here it is!
Ingredients: (makes 28 muffins)
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 ripe bananas
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 cups of dried coconut
- Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt)
- Mash bananas and mix in brown sugar and coconut oil first. Once well blended, mix in coconut milk, vanilla extract and dried coconut.
- Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 22 minutes. (Try 18 minutes first, and keep in for longer if needed... It depends on how hot/efficient your oven is!)
- Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
- Frances Vicente
Wellness should include a little joy now and again and these sinfully delicious energy balls are just that - little balls of bliss. Easy and flexible to what you have on hand, this recipe can be adjusted to whatever size or dietary needs you have.
Makes about 15 balls (depending on size)
4 pitted dates
3 tbs cocoa powder
3 tbs nut/ seed butter - Tahini or almond butter work well!
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
pinch sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a mini chopper, and pulse until all combined and dates are pulverized
- Make balls whichever size you desire, but a simple tsp can be used to scoop out amount and roll into ball.
- Roll in various ingredients such as coconut flakes, ground nuts, seeds, cocoa, etc - or leave them naked!
LUNA YOGA AND SURF RETREAT WITH FRANCES & FRANCESCA IN NICARAGUA
We really couldn't have asked for any better for our first yoga retreat together... From the beauty of the location, to the easy-going yet efficient running of the Coco Loco Eco-Resort, to the wonderful group of yogis who joined us on this adventure... Francesca and I kept grabbing each other, looking into each others' eyes and saying, "I can't believe this is really happening!"
The yoga studio space had a beautiful view of the trees and we could hear the birds and the waves of the ocean in the distance as we practiced. Every morning they laid out a spread of fresh fruits and granola for a light early breakfast as of 5 a.m.; we had the option of catching some waves with the instructors as of 6:30 a.m.; we had morning practice from 8-9 a.m. and then a more substantial (and very delicious) breakfast after class. We had various activity options for the rest of the day throughout the week: Stand Up Paddle boarding, kayaking, chocolate-making, salsa dancing... We also had the option of getting pampered with a good, strong massage after all the yoga, surfing and all-around adventuring!
Lunch was at 2 p.m. most days, evening practice around 5:30 p.m., just as the sun was setting, and a delectable dinner was served right afterwards which always included a sweet, refreshing treat for dessert!
We dedicated one afternoon mid-week to volunteer for Waves of Hope, a charitable organization that the owners of Coco Loco (Earl and Jamie) created to get involved in and to support the surrounding community. It was such a heartwarming and humbling experience to be able to spend an afternoon re-painting an elementary school classroom and making cement to apply to the back of the schoolhouse.
The location of Coco Loco itself was of picturesque perfection! There were plenty of hammocks all along the grounds for us to relax and read a book, or sip on a margarita; there were lounge chairs by the beach for us to enjoy the sound of the waves while catching some sun rays; there was a lovely pool space area to cool off with a nice dip in the water; and there was a welcoming dining hall/lounging space where we could sit with a cool drink and grab a light snack while journalling or sending a quick message home.
And the beautiful sunset... We began the week by congregating on the beach the first night after dinner to watch the sunset and we ended the week with a walking meditation on the beach to watch the sun go down before our evening class.
Francesca and I would like to thank all the yogis who shared this wonderful experience with us and the entire Luna Yoga family for their support. We extend our sincerest gratitude especially to Jenn, for creating Luna Yoga to begin with, and for giving us the opportunity to host the most magical retreat for our community.
See you there next year? ;-) (Luna Yoga & Surf Retreat 2019 is tentatively set for March 16-23. Stay tuned!)
- Frances Vicente