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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Another unforgettable experience! Thank you to all who joined me for our Stratusphere Escape Weekend at Shanti Retreat. Perfectly set, lakeside on the beautiful Wolfe Island, Shanti offers everything one could require for a weekend focused on deep connections, stillness, peace and tranquility. A ferry ride over to the island was a perfect way to start! There is something special about having to travel over water that made it feel like a real getaway (even though you can take your car along with you:). It was exciting to be on the other side and in only a few short minutes we were driving into the pathway to our haven. I was intrigued by the Yoga Yurt and couldn't wait to get inside! I controlled my urges and headed for the main house. We were kindly greeted by Wendy as she happily took us through a tour of the main house. Totally impressed and immediately comfortable, we headed for our rooms to settle in. Once we were all settled in, napped up and explored out, we gathered all together for our first delicious meal. Darrin took us through some information about our stay; like how many people could be on the water trampoline at once and how to claim your mug for the weekend...important stuff.
Soon enough we were all in the yurt, in a sacred mandala ready to connect and restore. With the smell of Nag Champa, the fresh breeze off the lake and rustling in the trees, the lights on low and soft devotional tunes playing in the back round, we immersed into the moment. Once we came out of deep relaxation, all were ready for a good nights sleep. We planned to gather around 8:30am. I stayed in the yurt and sat for a long while, grounding, connecting, listening, breathing and watching.
I woke up around 6am, washed up and headed for my mat. The sun rise was glorious, the water still and the cows mooing away in the fields, I playfully practiced, explored and unraveled some sticky spots in my body, breath and mind. I was ready to guide the group through their morning practice. Trickling in alone, in groups or in pairs, everyone took the time they needed to find their seat, ready to focus and practice presently with open hearts and minds. We sweat, we laughed, we struggled, we breathed through, we revealed our strengths and uncovered our weaknesses, all together and fully supported.
After practice, some jumped in the lake for a wash and some could hardly wait for breakfast. We sat outside by the lake nourishing in good food and conversation. After breakfast, most of us went off to the beach and some stayed behind for some quiet time. The beach was an adventure, we saw turtles and plenty of wind turbines and hay bales and really big dead fish in a swamp. We swam, we practiced handstands in the sand, posed for some beach time yoga shots and were on our way back for a workshop on Pranayama: the art of extending our life force/energy.
We explored breath and encouraged prana to flow. We had fun discussions and investigations. Soon we discovered that we were very hungry and the sound of the farm bell called us to our tables. The grand finale of a beautiful Indian inspired meal included strawberries covered in various chocolate flavours. We indulged.
I went for an infrared sauna with Trish and Melissa, Ashley had a Thai Yoga Massage with Darrin in the Yurt and others lounged, curled up with a book or went off to bed.
The next morning we gathered for another invigorating class, some meditation, a beautiful Savasana, had a lovely breakfast and lingered around until we were ready for our departure.
I managed to slip a massage in with Darrin and it was the perfect way to end the weekend. The sign on the Yurt said "Follow Your Bliss" and indeed I felt that "I am".

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Let's get together for another great cause:

On Sunday, July 17th 2011, I am participating and teaching in a one day Yoga-thon in support of the Weekend to End Women's Cancers benefiting The Princess Margaret. The event will be hosted at Eagles Nest Golf Club where you can spend the day Stretching your Soul with amazing teachers and friends.

Don't miss this exciting day of fun and fitness with friends and family!

All details to the event are included on the link bellow.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stratusphere Escape: 3-day Summer Retreat on Wolfe Island, Ontario
July 22-24, 2011

Escape with Lisa to beautiful Wolfe Island, the gateway to the Thousand Islands. Deepen your practice and find peace and tranquility on this very special weekend. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to rebalance, relax and connect amongst friends by the lake.

Your retreat includes:

2 nights accommodation

4 delicious vegetarian meals

Daily yoga classes

A workshop

Location: Shanti Bed and Breakfast (visit website)

Wolfe Island, Ontario

Date: Friday July 22 – Sunday July 24 2011

Price: $350 (+ HST) pp

Full payment is required to reserve your spot. Please note cancellations are non-refundable.


Your host Lisa Messina is available to answer any questions you may have, you can reach her at 416-528-4922

Want to share this with someone? Check out our printable Stratusphere Escape poster

What your weekend will look like:

Board the Wolfe Island ferry in Kingston and enjoy a 20 minute ferry ride along the beautiful St. Lawrence River.

Once you arrive (any time after 2pm), your Stratusphere Escape weekend will begin at the spacious century inn, situated on this 11 acre property with 1000 feet of private shoreline.

Once settled, join your host Lisa and let your stresses melt away and unwind in a gentle yoga class. Following class, enjoy a vegetarian meal, lovingly prepared by the inns’ cooks.

Begin your day with an energizing vinyasa yoga class with brunch to follow. Spend your afternoon in the tranquil inn, curl up with a book, enjoy a nature walk along the countryside or waterside, or get your suit on for splashing, paddling or lounging around the lake.

Later in the afternoon, deepen your practice with a workshop exploring pranayama and meditation techniques.

Complete the day with a delicious, vegetarian dinner while taking in the spectacular sunset.

Wrap up your weekend with a morning yoga class and brunch, refreshed and renewed as you head back to your everyday life.

We look forward to welcoming you to beautiful Wolfe Island. We thank our Shanti B & B hosts Wendy and Darin for creating a place that can help you escape and bring balance back to your life!

~Stratusphere Yoga Studio and your weekend host, Lisa Messina

Sample Meal Plan (Please advise us if dietary restrictions are required):


Vegan Cornmeal Blueberry pancakes & County maple syrup

Local Black River Cheese plate

Organic Granola, almonds, and raisins

Free Range organic eggs

Fresh Fruit Salad Ambrosia with yogurt

Organic Orange Juice

A variety of Organic Herbal Teas & Fair Trade Organic Coffee


Roasted Yellow Pepper and Corn Bisque with fresh artisan bread

Tamarind Lentils

Curried Tofu

Basmati Rice

Shanti's Organic Garden Salad

Berry Coconut Crisp

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yoga Retreat Costa Rica 2011

I am back from Costa Rica totally inspired, refreshed and full of energy!

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise beyond all my imaginings. Pure Life is what they say and it is exactly this.

I hosted my first yoga retreat at Anamaya Resort from April 16th-23rd. Set on top of a cliff's edge over looking the ocean on the south eastern side of the Nicoya Peninsula, Anamaya is a tranquil piece of heaven and a perfect place to tune in and align with nature. As the guests trickled in I became more and more excited to host this exceptional group. We were 19 people that became one big happy family very quickly.

I would wake up in the Prana Cabina with the monkeys (who always sounded like they had really bad tummy aches) around 5am every morning and head to the yoga deck to practice with the sun rising over the ocean. Usually by the time I started seated postures a few friends would pop up from random corners with a fresh coffee, a book, a towel for drying off after a refreshing morning dip in the infinity pool, or just to snuggle in the swinging chair before led class began. Towards the end of my practice other mats would appear on the deck and more friends would come out to claim their spot or to roll around on their mats before practice. I would rise up from rest after practice and I turn on my ipod to infect the already blissful sounds of the jungle and ocean waves with some mantra chanting or a few of my favourite yoga tunes. At 8am we would all be collected on the deck, some in the front row to soak in the view with the hot sun blazing on their skin and some thankful for their shady spots in the back row where they could take in all of which was about to unfold. We would begin with a talk, focusing on one of the living principles of yoga philosophy and I would beam with enthusiasm to have the honour to share these spiritual observances that allow us to become more peaceful humans. I was told later by a few friends that it was difficult to focus as most mornings as I spoke, my aura was visibly vibrating colours around my body. I'm not surprised to hear that because I felt elated and fully present in every way to be leading such a beautiful, eager group of people in one of the most glorious settings imaginable. Hard work and total devotion poured out of each and every person on that deck. Each and every morning I observed, over and over again, the most beautiful expression of an asana, smoothest rides on the powerful wave of prana, intense focused attention and divine spirits illuminating with a presence that was so easy to guide. My role was effortless and natural.
And all the way through to the last vibration of OM and bowing heads in honour of our practice time together, until the very last day of our retreat when the skies were crying (along with Lindsey and a few others who were better at hiding it) this continued on expanding into what is now a memory of a fruitful time shared amongst a family of friends that will always have this connection from an unforgettable experience.
If you would like to see a photo album of retreat highlights go to

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DEC 25 2010

Photo. a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you
from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are,
or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand
words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about

This image was shot by Francesco's at his family cottage. I am most at home in a natural setting. The water is so happy and sparkling and the sun is shining bright, the tress are rooted, standing tall and still. This photo is a celebration of my connection to the Divine. One with the trees, waters, earth, air, fire and space.

DEC 24 2010

Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

The one moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright is when my little nephew Nicholas was born. Just five days old today, he has already brought an abundance of peace and joy to our family and friends this holiday season. I was honored to witness his very first breath as I was there when he entered the world. During my sister's labor, an array of emotions stirred throughout the birthing room. There were moments when I felt worried and fearful that something could go wrong as this tiny miracle worked his way out of the womb and into our arms. All I could do was support, hope and stay calm for my sister and ignore the fact that a part of me was as terrified, nervous and excited as could ever be. Then the pushing began and suddenly I could see the top of his head and there were these few minutes when he was between the birth canal and the bed sheets and I just wanted him out and free so that I could see that he was OK. The moment when his little self was finally fully out was so emotional and relieving that all we could do was let out a huge sigh and burst into tears! Not only was everything alright but we filled with joy and ecstasy to see this tiny miracle occur. This moment was full of wonder, excitement and shear awe. It was a reminder of how precious life is and how lucky I am to be alive.
I will incorporate that discovery into 2011 by remembering what a gift it is to be alive, to appreciate the simple things in life and not to sweat the small stuff.