SUP Yoga The Yoga Loft at eXtreme Hotel

SUP Yoga

Caribbean Yoga Holiday Cabarete Beach
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Yoga Holiday

how to practice mindfulness

How to practice mindfulness

Yoga Mental Health Cabarete Yoga Loft

Yoga and Mental Health

Yoga Mental Health Cabarete Yoga Loft

How Yoga Helps You Overcome Hardship

It’s common knowledge physical activity can help on all sorts of levels – it releases stress, builds muscle, helps your metabolism and boosts self-confidence. But how does Yoga help you on a more emotional and mental health level? What benefits does a regular practice bring you in relation to the struggles and hardships you may face in life?

  • Reduces stress and anxiety – Practicing yoga regularly (3 times a week) has been proven to elevate GABA (Aminobutyric Acid) levels in the brain which helps you relax, improves mood and lowers anxiety.
  • Helps Fight Depression – Depression is quickly on the rise in today’s society and the drug companies know. It seems every third commercial is for the latest miracle drug to elevate your mood, the new antidepressant to make everything better.  But medications come with side effects, so turn to all natural yoga instead! Regular yoga practice increases BDNF, serotonin and cortisol levels in the brain – which all act as your body’s natural antidepressants, while decreasing the monoamine oxidase enzyme, which breaks down neurotransmitters.
  • Brain Health – Yoga elevates levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a protein that acts as a natural antidepressant and a major factor in overall brain health. Practicing INTENSE YOGA regularly will raise your BDNF levels which helps fight Alzheimer’s, advanced aging, depression and schizophrenia along with other neurotransmitter dysfunctions.
  • Helps with Psychiatric and Anger/Impulse Control Disorders – A large part of yoga practice is meditation, breathing, listening to your body. Meditation helps lower tension and hostility; and lowers blood pressure when angry. This ability to slow down and focus helps you gain perspective when feeling frustration, anger, regret or rage.
  • Helps Insomnia – a Harvard study showed that 8 weeks of daily yoga practice significantly improves sleep habits for people with insomnia.  Getting enough sleep will help in your overall ability to deal with the hurdles life can through at you.
  • Protects Against Brain Aging – helps keep the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and relaxation active, improves memory and concentration.  Raised GABA and BDNF levels both considerably help keep the brain young and healthy!
  • Helps Self-Esteem – Yoga encourages acceptance and self-care. Loving yourself and being comfortable in your own body can have huge positive effects on all aspects of your life. The more you practice, the better you’ll feel.

These are a few of the ways yoga helps with mental health, there are dozens more benefits to a regular yoga practice, physically, physiological and psychological.  Yoga has been around for centuries, a holistic method of self-healing and self-awareness. Not only will you benefit mentally but you’ll be amazed at the physical transformation you will go through as well, so what are you waiting for? Start practising today you beautiful yogi you and come to one of our Yoga Retreats!

endless summer yoga kite retreat cabarete

The Yoga Loft Cabarete

Portrait of Chrissy Lefavour, founder and owner of Grateful Yoga

Cabarete Caribbean Kite Beach

Who am I?

Chrissy Lefavour is a writer, a lover and a yogini. Writing, journaling and sharing have been passions for Chrissy her whole life. Going on an adventure is always more fun when it can be remembered or shared, or both! She is a lover of the natural world; animals, the ocean, mountains, snow, surf, sun, clouds, thunderstorms and the way they play each day creating beauty in the world around us. If any of the above qualifies as yoga, then she has been practicing as long as she can remember with the support and encouragement from her amazing family and friends to follow her heart. Almost five years ago she started practicing Ashtanga yoga daily. Since then she has dabbled in kid’s yoga, SUP yoga, yoga with horses, restorative yoga, acro-yoga, aerial yoga and handstanding on the beach. Currently you can find her at her yoga studio, Grateful Yoga, in Vermont, hosting retreats and trainings in the Dominican Republic or traveling anywhere else the universe offers.

The Yoga Loft Cabarete

What am I doing here?

I am here because I love yoga and I love sharing it with other people. When I opened the studio in 2014 I knew someday I wanted to host teacher trainings. Within the first year people were asking for it, so after getting my own credentials in order, generating a syllabus and creating a training manual. This program continues to evolve just like any other practice but rests on some core yoga values and the traditional Ashtanga teachings. It is accessible to all humans at all ages and levels of practice. Our youngest trainee is 13 and I believe our eldest is 65 to date. The intensive trainings I like to think of as a choose-your-own-adventure…

Pairing with the Yoga Loft at eXtreme Hotel in Caberete has blown the roof off of what students can learn beyond the studio walls. First of all, the Yoga Loft only has one “wall” so we’re off to a great start. The studio setting is divine with the beachfront location, ocean breezes and amazing view. While the surroundings are more visually stimulating I find students are quieter, slower and naturally at ease here. We spend most of our training hours (30/week) in the Yoga Loft and I could honestly be up there 24 hours/day and be happy. Meals are served by locals in the onsite restaurant La Mesa Taina. Here you will be blessed with some English speakers but welcomed to try out your Spanish speaking skills with laughter and smiles. The food is served farm to table from Taino Organic Farm where we have a farm tour and river tube as a part of the trip. Learn about Yoga + Farming through concepts of energy management, sustainability and compassion. Accommodations are shared or private in the eco-friendly hotel and each room has a balcony.

The Yoga Loft Cabarete Caribbean

So what am I doing here? I am sharing this beautiful place with people I love and teaching them yoga. This is where the adventure starts… Student who stay for three weeks accumulate 90+ hours of yoga teacher training, the rest is up to you. Learn how to kitesurf, take long walks on the beach, nap in the comfort of your room, sip a happy hour cocktail, hike to some waterfalls, go horseback riding, meditate, breathe, enjoy. Before an arrow is launched from the bow it must be drawn back, held still, aimed mindfully in the direction of it’s target and then PING! It takes flight, a journey, freedom. Here are my favorite definitions of the word “retreat”:

(noun) withdrawal, pulling back, flight

(verb) change one’s mind, change one’s attitude

Join us on retreat for any or all of the above. I can’t tell you exactly how this training will change your life but it inevitably will. My goal in training is to create happy, healthy yogis with sustainable lifelong yoga practices. Your days will be filled with asana, pranayama, mantra and best of all, adventure!

Moringa superfood

Moringa

Moringa superfoodWant to make sure you’ll have a good morning? Start your day with Moringa! There are plenty of Moringa trees around eXtreme and tons on the Taino Organic Farm for you to experience. From the leaves to the seeds, this superfood is great for you and all over the resort ready for you to pluck off the tree and relish in its unique flavour. A local company, Kikaboni, even produces delicious Moringa Pita Chips. You can find them in any supermarket in Cabarete. Back home you can get organic Moringa powder at any wholefood shop.

Else, simply add the fresh Moringa leaves to salads, pasta or rice dishes, blend in your smoothies or sprinkle on any dish. If you want to dry out the leaves you can make a delicious healthy tea.

A fresh Moringa pod will snap when you break it in half, if it’s hard to break, it’s too old to eat, they taste better young. Feel free to boil, steam or fry them, eat on their own or add to a stir-fry or a quiche and enjoy!

Moringa Oleifera is extremely nutritious, a potent anti-inflammatory, is full of antioxidants and proteins and has amazing tissue protecting properties. Originating in India, Pakistan and Nepal it has a long history of medical use in disease prevention.  Aiding to deter and to treat diabetes, heart disease, anaemia, arthritis, liver diseases and digestive issues, it has been gaining popularity in Western culture.

So, why is Moringa so beneficial for you?

  • Moringa contains 28% of protein which is a far higher value than any other plant protein. As it contains a high amount of branched chained amino acids (BCAA) Moringa has a high value to the human body and lets it easily compete with high-value animal protein. It’s an ideal protein supplement for vegetarians, vegans and people who regularly work out.
  • It contains a significant number of vitamins A, C and E, calcium and potassium. Vitamins E and C combat oxidation that leads to neurone degeneration, improving brain function and stabilising serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, all linked to memory, mood, organ function, how you deal with stress and pleasure and your mental state.
  • It has flavonoids, polyphenols and ascorbic acid (antioxidants in layman’s terms) which are free-radical-fighters! Free-radicals are molecules that cause cell damage and inflammation, which means eating this plant will help combat and suppress chronic diseases caused by inflammation.
  • It’s leaves and flowers are chalk full of polyphenols which protect the liver ~ to help combat all that vacation drinking you’ll be doing! It’s been proven to help restore enzymes and reduce damage and fibrosis.
  • It fights infection! Anti-fungal and antibacterial properties in the Moringa can kill certain fungi infections on skin and bacteria that causes blood and urinary tract infections.
yoga classes cabarete

Invitation To Check Out Our Beach-Front Retreat Paradise

Hey fellow yogis

may yoga and surf retreat

This is your invitation to come and check out our beach-front retreat paradise, be our guest for a free 3 night stay in the Dominican Republic.

We are looking for yoga teachers who might be interested in hosting a retreat with a difference.

We offer the ultimate adventure retreat experience with a number of optional onsite activities such as our circus school, cross fit gym, kite surf academy and organic farm to compliment your yoga sessions.

We have a lot of retreat experience and are on hand to help our new guest teachers plan every last detail. As we are an eco hotel our rates are extremely affordable and flights here are often half the price of other Caribbean destinations.

We don’t want to just tell you how good we are we would love to show you.

We have a very limited number of places available for teachers ready to do something different. We invite you and a plus one to come and be our guests at the hotel for a free 3 night stay. No strings attached, we know you will love us and want to come back.

We are flexible on dates but would recommend coming soon as the calendar will fill up quickly for available retreat weeks.

If this opportunity sounds interesting to you give us a shout back and we can set up a call or we can answer any questions by email.  You can reach us at extrememarketingdr@gmail.com

And you can find out more about the hotel at www.yogacabarete.com

We hope to be sharing a mojito in the sun with you soon.

yoga retreat
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Turn Your Frown Upside Down On A Caribbean Yoga Retreat

Turn Your Frown Upside Down

yoga retreat

OK so you actually have to be on a yoga retreat to practice yoga and enjoy the benefits in your daily life.

Did you know a couple of minutes spent upside down every day can have a hugely positive impact on your health?

It is an ancient yoga tradition but don’t let that put you off. Inverting can be achieved easily by anybody and doesn’t need to involve any contortion or athletics. The benefits are immediate and it can be a really enjoyable practice.

Inverting literally just means taking your legs higher than your heart. My favourite way to get there is to lie with my legs up a wall, for those feeling more athletic it could be a headstand or a handstand.

So what are the benefits of yoga inversions?

  1. Your blood flows freely back towards your heart meaning your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump the blood back. This is good because it clears the blood vessels and allows the heart to rest and repair.
  2. For the reasons above inverting can be great to prevent or help lessen the impact of varicose veins.
  3. Increased blood flow to the head nourishes the brain cells and some say it can help reduce hair loss (although this is debatable)
  4. If done with slow deep breathing it induces in your body a lovely relaxed state, literally calming your nervous system.
  5. It can help reduce swollen ankles (this works amazingly for pregnant ladies)

There are lots more reasons but I hope you won’t need any more than that to convince you to give it a go.

How to get into my favourite inversion.

Important Note – Anybody with high blood pressure that isn’t controlled should avoid this practice unless under the guidance of a teacher.

Step one – sit on the floor, side ways on and as close to a wall as possible

Step two – slowly turn your body so you can take your legs up the wall and your head to the floor. (This should leave you with your bum tucked in close to the wall).

Step three – if you have a cushion or blanket nearby place it under the hips so they are gently raised off the floor.

Step four – close your eyes, deepen your breath and relax for a couple of minutes or as long as its comfortable.

If you are not able to easily get to the floor you can practice this is bed by elevating the feet on some cushions at the foot of the bed.

Id love to hear whether you enjoy this practice as much as us. You can contact us on our social media here

Enjoy xx

 

For the Love of Veggies

Maria at Clorofila: For the Love of Veggies

Maria at Clorofila: For the Love of Veggies

For the Love of Veggies

Maria at Clorofila knows what she’s doing when it comes to the kitchen! She may not be a vegetarian but she loves to make vegan and vegetarian dishes full of spice and flavour to show everyone that, just because there’s no meat in a dish it can still be delicious and healthy!  She loves her veggies and want to show people how incredible and versatile cooking with them can be.

Maria has a very relaxed, go with the flow style of cooking.  She uses local sustainable vegetables and a lot of instinctual and spontaneous recipes.  Measurements are slightly unsystematic, a casual pinch of salt here, pepper to taste there, nothing too fancy, just plain old delicious!

Here are a few of her dishes for you to get an idea of what goes into her dish, or even try as you like!  All the dishes have the basics down so feel free to add more of less of the seasoning/ ingredients that you love (or dislike) to accommodate the meal to your own tastes.

  • Sweet Potato, Onion & Rosemary Cream Soup
  • Eggplant Ceviche
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Honey Glazed Carrot Sticks

Sweet Potato, Onion & Rosemary Cream Soup 

1 sweet potato per person
½ onion per person
salt, pepper, turmeric, rosemary, garlic

Dice the sweet potatoes (finely)
Chop onion into small slices
Diced mushrooms (finely)

taste sweetpotato soupIn a large pot heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil, add onions and turmeric and sauté for a few minutes (until onions become translucent).  Add garlic and rosemary to the mixture, stir and wait 30 seconds, then add sweet potatoes.  Pour in enough water to cover the mixture, ½ inch above the sweet potatoes. Let the pot boil, reduce to simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft.  Remove from the stove, blend and add finely diced mushrooms (you can always add before you blend if you don’t want the chunks), and a pinch of salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!

Some variations on the soup ~
– use coconut water or coconut milk instead of water;
– exchange the rosemary for lemongrass and ginger;
– add miso or blue cheese and parmesan at the end.

Eggplant Ceviche 

½ eggplant per person
1 roma tomato per person
basil, parsley, honey, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper
Finely slice eggplant

Chop parsley and basil
Cube tomatoes

Mix eggplant with the basil and parsley in a large bowl (you can also add cilantro, dill or mint).

Blend tomatoes, lots of honey, garlic, curry, a little apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper together and pour the sauce over the eggplant mixture.  Leave marinating for 30 minutes before serving!

zen cooking class

Broccoli Salad

1 head of broccoli serves 3 people
½ purple cabbage per person
lettuce, carrot, bok choy, sesame seeds, sesame oil, honey, chili, salt, pepper, lemon juice

Finally chop cabbage and broccoli, grate carrots and cut lettuce and bok choy, put all the veggies in a bowl.  Toast sesame seeds and add them to the vegetables, drizzle sesame oil and honey over everything.  Add chili, salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix it all together.

Some variations on the salad ~
– use any type of cabbage instead of purple cabbage
– use cauliflower instead of broccoli
– add apple or pear
– use any seeds/nuts you want

Honey Glazed Carrot Sticks

Carrots

honey, lime/lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil

Cut carrots into thin sticks and heat olive oil in a frying pan.  Fry the carrots for a few minutes, add honey, lime/lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper into the pan and cook until carrots are softened.

Some variations for the carrot sticks ~
– use apple cider vinegar instead of lime/lemon juice
– substitute oregano instead of thyme
– try maple syrup instead of honey
– use pumpkin or beetroot instead of carrots

veggies taste even better on a big table full of new friends