The Power of the Mandala

People say that an image is much more powerful than words. I tend to agree. That is why, for this post, we will keep the words to a minimum. Instead, all we want you to do is: sit back, relax, and watch the power of the mandala unfold in this short video. If you don’t feel inspired after watching this – there is very little we can do for you. Continue reading

Namaste, Mother F**ker

Whenever you seek advice in fields as varied as management, entrepreneurship, meditation, fitness, yoga, leadership, or diet, you’ll see the same buzz words: embrace change, balance, mindfulness, think out of the box, let go etc, etc.

After almost every yoga practice you’ll hear “Namaste”, but many of us don’t really stop to think what this really means, and even less, how we can carry that meaning with us once we step off of the yoga mat.

I have now pondered on this for a while, and I’ve come to realize certain things that you might find helpful in everyday life. Let me share these with you. Continue reading

5 Practical Suggestions for Practical Women

Women these days are showing the world just how bad-ass they can be. There are various examples of their success in the corporate world, as athletes, philanthropists, and professionals of all kinds. This success is, without a doubt, inspiring change we can all be proud of. This advancement, however, has come at a price. It seems that every woman I know complains about being exhausted. Throughout the life of this blog we have studied alternatives recommended by specialist regarding a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Here is a summary of 5 very practical recommendations targeting women of today. Continue reading

The One Meditation Practice You have Never Heard of

Meditation is a tough thing to practice. Our brains are constantly packed with thoughts that keep running all day long. So, to all of the sudden ask yourself to turn your mind off and not think of anything for ten or even five minutes is, to most of us, ridiculously unrealistic.

Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that clearing our minds every now and then is becoming more and more important. That’s why it is vital to find ways that make it easy for you to get into a meditative state. For some, Yoga does the trick. Others find that running helps them clear their mind. For us, it is the sand mandala art meditation practice.

Sand Mandala Art meditation is relatively new in North America. But it has been around for a long long time. In short, this is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of symmetrical patterns made from colored sand. That, however, is a definition that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. The sand Mandala stands for so much more than that. It is a vehicle to generate compassion, which stems from the realization of the connectedness between your personal circle, your social circle and ultimately the universe. This tool also nurtures and develops mindfulness; and it also highlights the impermanence of reality. The word “Mandala” is a Sanskrit term that is translated to mean “world in harmony”. Tradition dictates that after completing the beautiful design, the sands must be swept up and discarded. This represents the impermanence of all that exists. It teaches us that life is beautiful, colorful, and fleeting. Therefore, we should make the most out of it.

The video below shows the process of completing a sand mandala design. The whole thing took one person about a week to complete, with just an hour to ninety minutes of work every day. The incredible thing was that this period of time would usually fly by, given that it was so easy for the person using it to get into a meditative flow.

Benefits of the Mandala

As you go through your own practice, you will notice surprising changes to how you perceive things and how you view the world. These benefits vary from person to person, but can be grouped into four broad branches: Focus, Connectedness, Patience, and Mindfulness.

Focus

Completing a Mandala is not easy. It requires your full attention. But as you see the sand fill the grooves of the board, your mind starts letting go of worries and to-do lists. The noise of daily life suddenly starts to quiet down – allowing you to achieve a level of focus that is hard to come by. The more times you go through the process, the easier it gets to translate this focus to other areas of your life – allowing you, for example, to: become more productive, easily establish priorities, and immerse yourself in the task at hand.

Connectedness

Patterns in the Mandala are generally concentric. The internal designs remind us of our inner personal circles, the middle ones symbolize our relationship with our community, and the external ones symbolize our connectedness with the world. By attaining a balance between these three circles, we are able to experience a ‘world in harmony’. The colors you use might be chosen to express a particular feeling. With every time you complete the Mandala, you will notice the evolution of that relationship – and how your mood changes accordingly.

Patience

The first few times you try to complete your Mandala, you will feel an urge to finish it the same day. This often happens due to our impatience. We want to see the finished product and we want to see it now. With time, and through practice, you will feel more at ease with stepping away from the Mandala for the moment – coming back to it reinvigorated at a later time. This is extremely useful in our daily lives. There are so many instances where we can avoid getting angry or frustrated if we simply knew how to walk away temporarily and come back to the situation at a later time. This tool allows you to hone that skill.

Mindfulness

It is hard to look at something you just made; something beautiful; something that took effort to complete; and consciously get rid of it. Instead, we tend to cling to material things. The Mandala teaches you that everything in life is temporary – your house, your job, your car, your relationships, even life itself. This realization makes you mindful of everything around you. Mindfulness allows you to appreciate the things you spend time on and the people that surround you.

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Get your Sand Mandala Art Meditation Kit from our Etsy store! Click here to check out our products!

Let us know in a comment below what is your favorite form of meditation. We’d love to hear from you!

3 Amazing Yoga Studios to Discover in Montreal

Here is a quick guide to find a way to discover the wonderful practice of yoga, or if you are already doing it, to shake things up and put some spice into the practice.

Whether you are visiting Montreal during a business trip, or vacation, or if you live in the city, it is worth trying something different, healthy and affordable. Continue reading to get to know three awesome places, where you can just drop by and have an awesome date, or do something different rather than the typical round of golf (especially with our long winters) and restaurants. Something more mindful; something that might just be the start of a significant change.

Just as a matter of clarification and reassurance to our readers, we are not receiving any sponsorship from these places, and the list is purely out of our own experience.

Ensō Yoga

One of coolest places downtown. They offer hot Yoga, classes for beginners, hot barre (kind of Ballet or stretching on a barre) plus they have a very cool ambience.

They have a variety of options including their 14 day trial offer and their 10$ yoga class. I love the variety this place offers; always reinventing themselves in order to clearly differentiate their services from any other Yoga studio.

They have one of the coolest packages, where you exchange 3 hours of your week in a single shift and you get free classes. How cool is that?

Check their workshops and special activities. This season they also have live music hot flow – your mind will really trip with this.

Ashtanga Yoga

A true center for friendship. This is the place where I learned Yoga. The way I see it, I believe this place offers the true and raw Yoga experience. The Yoga you learn here from the very beginning is pure. Their rooms are clean, simple, Zen and without pretension. You don’t even need a mat, they lend you one. If you are not sure how often you’d like to practice, they offer you an option where you can pay for 10 classes (around 10$ each class) and you can use them during the course of 6 months. I really love this formula because it allowed me to join this studio without having the pressure or the feeling that I was wasting my money and time.

They have classes for teachers as well, for those who want to pursue a career in yoga instruction. On top of the multiple workshop choices involving healing, meditation and Yoga, they offer ‘couples yoga’ and ‘acroyoga’. You’d never get bored here. It is also super convenient if you live and work near downtown Montreal.

 

Toro Holistic Health Center

Their name is self-explanatory, they have it all – from aromatherapy to yoga, acupuncture and osteopathy. I had the opportunity to see their rooms and they are without a doubt some of the cleanest and cutest I’ve ever seen. Just getting in made you relax.

Now, I write about this center because here you will find a real intimate setting. Imagine, you can reserve a private yoga session for just you and your partner, or with a group of colleagues. By the way they have a specific program for it. Students can also create classes for small group of friends and family.

Toro Holistic Health center offers Ashtanga Yoga and stream-flow yoga for a more athletic approach. Check their other services as well – like meditation and Thai Yoga massages.

If you have had great experiences in other yoga studios, leave us a comment below! We’d love for people to share their experiences.