Conscious Gift Giving Guide

By on February 4th, 2016 — Comments Off on Conscious Gift Giving Guide


by Sabrina Samedi

There is something magical about this time of year, maybe it’s the million volts of electricity that light up Main Streets around the globe and ignite our hearts. Perhaps it’s the euphoric sensation about gathering around those we love the most, but the essence of gratitude and generosity is deeply rooted in our intentions, our actions and our emotions. With the holiday season upon us, the ritual of gift-exchange is a major component of rejoicing in the holidays offering incredible emotional benefits as well! There is a positive lift in our emotional relationship to ourselves and the recipient of our gifts as we search for the perfect token of appreciation for those we care so deeply for. When we give without expecting anything in exchange- we are paying it forward as they say- setting in motion a positive karmic chain in the universe inspiring others to radiate as well as attract positivity into their own lives.

As such, let’s start a shopping and giving revolution! The next time we decide to hit the malls and boutiques or indulge in a cyber-crazed shopping spree, let’s re-shift our focus from the clearance racks to the mission behind each product and give from our intention and our hearts; thus, living through our intention of gratitude not just during the holidays, but all year long. Let’s ask ourselves, what is the intention behind the gift I am giving? Beyond bringing temporary bliss, will my gift offer lasting sentiments geared towards growth, happiness and hopefully, usefulness. We express ourselves, our tastes, our interests, and sometimes advocate our principles via the products we utilize, give, wear and embody. Below is a list of gift ideas inspired by products, hard-working, soul-driven people whom we believe in supporting their cause, their mission and spreading the beauty of the gifts they have to offer. Happy Holidays!

Of course you can use the PROMO CODE SACREDCOW for 10% off of any item at Including EGIFT CARDS but here are some of our favorite finds.

Gifts that Give Back

krochet kids


Krochet Kids: A non-profit brand that empowers people in Uganda to rise above poverty by creating, selling apparel knit & crochet hats for babies men and women. Stay warm this chilly season with an intrinsic and heart-felt beanie because every product is hand-signed by the person who made it, giving it a wonderfully unique touch. View more of their creative designs at

roma boots


Roma Boots: Everyone needs a favorite pair of boots this winter season! For every pair of Roma Boots sold, a new pair of boots, along with school supplies, is donated to a child in need. Slip some on at


esperos bag 2

                                                                                                                                                                             Esperos Bag: The perfect bag to carry all your  daily    essentials. Esperos Bag believes that literacy plays a vital  role in one’s future success. Thus, with each  bag purchased,  Esperos helps send a child in need to school for a year. To  support Esperos’ mission check out

stone and cloth



Stone and Cloth: Every purchase of a Stone and Cloth product helps to provide scholarships for students in need. To learn more and check out their rad products, visit                      


Intention, Divination and Tarot

Empowered Life 14 Empowered Life: The Empowered Life Activation Kit includes  The Empowered Life CD download of 7 Guided Meditations and  a set of 72  Soul  Cards to assist the reader on a journey towards  self-knowledge,  healing and  empowerment. The cards and  meditations can be used  together as a 40 day  Empowerment  practice, as daily inspiration for  contemplation or as a  compliment to one’s meditation and yoga nidra  practices. The kit is perfect to jump start and guide one through a 40 day empowerment practice to create change and understanding within one’s self. For more information about Empowered Life visit


yantra wisdom

Yantra Wisdom: The Yantra Wisdom deck of 39 cards, as inspired by Chanti Tacoronte-Perez, offers you a quick way to shift your perspective as well as to engage with your intuition and creative self which can provide clarity. The Yantra Wisdom deck gives readers an insight to the symbol of the yantra as well as an affirmation to repeat. For more information about the wisdom shared amongst this deck visit


wild unkown

Wild Unknown: Committed to the inner quest and the journey of  transformation, Kim Krans illustrated the The Wild Unknown  Tarot  Deck. The deck includes 78 cards filled with magical and  mysterious  imagery. Perfect for seasoned as well as new readers,  the cards come in a  beautiful box with a lifting ribbon and fold-out  guide to get you familiar  with the cards. Kim Krans invites  potential readers to open their minds,  draw a card and enjoy the  journey. To learn more about the tarot deck  visit



Feel Good and Look Good

purusha peoplePurusha People: Founded by Hayley Elliot and motivated by the belief that what we wear next to skin along side the creative process to make such clothing is sacred, Purusha People aims to help YOU tell your story via their expressive and stunning designs. Humbling respecting all aspects of the creative production process, Purusha People sources the most organic and softest fibers while using non-toxic water based ink and low impact dyes, and paying workers a livable wage locally in Los Angeles. To view and shop their apparel visit


zen nomad                                                                                                   Zen Nomad: Committed to the belief that luxury and  sustainability can  successfully coexist, Zen Nomad  manufactures each and every piece of    their clothing in  Toronto sustainably sourcing the highest quality fabrics.  Zen Nomad aims to help you move through your day  with ease and comfort  investing in the philosophy that  peace in your body is peace in our minds  and peace in  our spirits. To shop their look book visit


aya papaya

                                                                                                  Aya Papaya: Designed for women who are in movement, Aya Papaya clothing as manifested by founder Aya Iwaski is meant to make the goddess wearing such pieces feel comfortable yet stylish. Aya wants you to be able to dance, play and work in her creations. To view the essence of grace and strength behind all her designs, visit


Sacred Jewelry
The Sattva Collection: Rooted in the intention of awakening to our innate wisdom and connection to our inner trthe sattva collectionuth The Sattva Collection is a global lifestyle brand committed to supporting treasured communites around the world and creating jobs for local artisans. The Sattva Collection uses precious and semi-precious stones sourced globally and akin to all their hand-crafted objects, each gem from their collection holds within itself an intrinsic meaning that can have a profoundly positive impact on the wearer. For more information on the communities The Sattva Collection supports and to view their product gallery, visit


Seeds of Remembrance: Shop owner Alexa Webster offers you her heart through her love-infused works of heart in her Seeds of Remembraseeds of remembrancence etsy shop. Her collection of high vibration, one-of-a-kind genuine gemstone, hand-tied, prayer malas are designed to support awakening through intention adornment Japa mediation. Alexa identifies the prayer malas as a magnificent tool for connecting and an opportunity to tune in and recognize the internal mystery unfolding in each moment. To shop her malas, visit


earth bands Earth Bands: Earth Bands want everyone to take, embrace and share  the message that by simply wearing an Earth Band you can empower  yourself  and elevate self-awareness. Earth Band’s mission is to raise  humanity’s vibration by connecting us to the things we love- Mother  Nature, our favorite sports and important causes we can’t wait to rally  behind. Earth Bands gather earth and sand from special places and  create unique, handmade, 100% American-sourced Earth Bands. To  shop through these Eco-Ethical products visit


Artists Treasures for Your Home

vine and thistle                                                                                                           

Vine and Thistles (Etsy): Send a trinket of love to your dearest friends and family this holiday season. Alicia Schultz, owner of etsy shop Vine and Thistle offers custom hand lettering art and designs included personalized wooden stamps, gift tags, adult coloring book calendars, hand-lettered quote cards and personal stationary items. To shop through Vine and Thistle’s inspiring products visit


j drew carpetry

J Drew Carpentry (Etsy): A second generation carpenter with  a love  for hardwoods, oil finishes and structural planks, Drew  Silvers finds  beauty in re-purposing and bringing new life back  to the old charm of  barn wood and materials which some  would consider useless. To shop  Drew’s creative and reclaimed  works of art, visit



Self-Care and Nurturing

aromabliss Aromabliss Ayurveda: Aromabliss is a botanically infused, artisan quality skin and body treatment line of elixirs based on the profound nature-based wisdom of Ayurveda, Aromatherapy and Herbology. Aromabliss products are individually hand mixed in small batches and scented with the highest quality organic, wild-crafted and environmentally sustainable herbs, plants and oils. To see if these physically, mentally and emotionally enhancing products are right for you, visit


vital yogi Vital Yogi Herbals: Owner of Vital Yogi Herbals and educator of the  Science and Philosophy of Tantric Hatha Yoga, Herbalism and  Flower  Essence Therapy, Brook Sullivan is on a mission to empower  people to  take control of their health naturally. When it comes  balancing the  mind, understanding the psyche and transforming  emotional baggage  into wisdom, Brooke feels that flower essences  the optimal remedies.  Flower essences are vibrational remedies akin  to homeopathy and  work on the subtle layers (psycho-spiritual and  emotional realms) which in turn bring wholeness to the physical body and life. To learn more flower essences and botanical therapies, visit


Erbaviva: Erbaviva offers premium organic personal care products erbavivathat fuse European artisan quality with healthy California organic culture to benefit the human body and the planet. Each unique and exquisite Erbaviva product is handcrafted with distinctively pure living herbs, essential oils and botanicals sourced with the highest standards of organic certification, safety, efficacy and sustainability. Visit to view all of Erbaviva’s delightful products.


Love in a Bowl
gina cucina Gina Cucina Soup of the Month:The holidays are a  perfect time to gather around the dinner table  with the  ones we hold near and dear in our hearts and  what  better way to celebrate the season of gratitude  than  with delicious meals. Feeling good about our food  is  made easier with Gina Cucina as all ingredients come  from local farmers and ranchers. Continue to spread  the cheer of scrumptious and heart-warming meals  after the  holidays by joining Gina Cucina’s soup of the  month club where two seasonal organic and gluten free soups are delivered directly to your door. For more information visit

Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

By on February 2nd, 2016 — Comments Off on Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day


Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

Too many lunch breaks compromised for dates with your keyboard? Feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders which is physically causing them to ache and sag? Feeling like you could use a little more self-love in your life? There is always a wonderful reason to introduce, integrate and invite heart-opening asanas into your practice on a regular basis with poses such as bhujangasana or cobra pose. Yes you are physically curling your chest opening, but more so you are activating the prana vayus.

The prana vayus indicates forward moving air; therefore, directing the vital life force energy into the body. Governing the intake of vibrations, frequencies and external energies, the prana vayus directs the reception of all types from the consumption of food, drinking of water, inhalation of air to the reception of sensory impressions and mental experiences.
Practiced on its own or as an integral part of sun salutations, cobra pose is known to strengthen the spine, stretch the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen while also soothing sciatica. As bhujangasana reintroduces a gentle pep in your step by relieving stress and anxiety, traditional texts also indicate that cobra pose increases tapas: the body’s natural heat, destroys disease and awakens kundalini.

Renowned teacher Gary Kraftsow does a wonderful job not only sequencing asanas to lift your mood, but he also invites a safe and energetic environment for self-exploration in Viniyoga for Depression.

Bhujangasana in Action

To go into bhujangasana, begin by lying prone on the floor, stretching the legs long towards the back of the mat keeping the ankles close with your toes, thighs, and pubis pressing firmly into the mat. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrist as your hands are close to your torso and evenly spread out on the mat and your elbows are snuggled back into your body. Using the strength of your back, on an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest away from the ground, keeping the chest expansive and shoulders relaxed down the back.  Remain in cobra for a few rounds of mindful breathing as you open your heart thought this gentle backbend. As gratifying as this pose is, please proceed with caution if you are pregnant or are dealing with back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and/or headaches.

The 3rd Dimension: The Mind

By on January 28th, 2016 — Comments Off on The 3rd Dimension: The Mind

The Third Dimension: The Intellectual Mind


By Gary Kraftsow

The ancients recognized the inherent power of the mind and the tremendous influence that it has over the entire human system. They knew that it is through the mind that we are able to perceive, understand, and choose. They also knew that part of our problem in life is the fact that we do not perceive, understand, or choose correctly and that part of this is due to the nature of the mind itself. Thus they stressed the importance of educating and developing the mind in terms of its full capacity to learn, acquire knowledge, remember, and imagine.

As the basis for this education and development, the ancients identified the four great Vedic scriptures and the oral instruction of the teachers as the primary source and the teacher-student relationship as the primary mode. And, as pointed out above, both the texts of the scriptures and the commentaries of the teachers were traditionally transmitted through chanting. In other words, the method was to learn “by heart,” that is, to memorize the texts and to be able to repeat them exactly.

In our modern secular world, certain subjects are a required part of all elementary and secondary education, and beyond that, education proceeds by choice and in accordance with our individual interests. In ancient times , while some Vedic teachings were given to all students, others were given according to family tradition, so that even the traditional models lack uniformity. Yet two things remained constant: in order to preserve these sacred texts without corruption through time , precise and detailed rules for chanting were always followed; and chanting itself was used as the primary tool for training and developing the mind. For example, the exacting process of repeating the chants without mistakes developed the students’ ability to listen. Listening required and developed their ability to direct and maintain attention. And it also required the mind to remain open to receive instruction.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart by Gary Kraftsow.


KraftsowGary Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Use the PROMO SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout at

Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

By on January 26th, 2016 — Comments Off on Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day


Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Vimanasana: Chariot or Airplane Pose

The fact is that we are all human and we all get moody at times. Dependent perhaps on the weather, the circumstances throughout our day or weeks even, the score of a game, the outcome of a movie, the unfulfilled ending to a novel, the results of any experience we attribute value to can and does occasionally get the best of it. Once we identify the swing in our persona, we oftentimes try to get back on track through reflection, positive actions, affirmations, reminders of all we have to be grateful for, mediation and our yoga practice. Akin to our emotional well being, our physical well being is also recognized for undergoing turbulence and feeling disconnected to its natural tendency. In particular, our sacrum becomes quite moody as well. Especially in our asana practices, many asymmetrical asanas akin to virabhadrasana II, utthita parsvakonasana and/or trikonasana when not balanced with neutral poses such as virabhadrasana I, crescent pose and paschimottanasana can start to bothers our sacrum and generate a sense of discomfort. Practicing a symmetrical backward bend like vimanasana: chariot or airplane pose, is ideal to neutralize the hip joints: therefore, offsetting and reducing if not relieving any built up discomfort in our lower spinal vertebrate column.

To Get Into Vimanasana

To physically achieve vimanasana, begin by lying supine on the stomach with the legs together or slightly apart. To better understand which leg positioning is best and appropriate for your body consider in the direction of the legs in relation to pelvis when eventually lifted. The outward movement of the legs encourages the sit bones to move outwards as well and the pelvic rims ultimately move toward each other. By moving the legs closer towards each other so that the toes touch when lifted, the sit bones also move inwards and the pelvic rims move outwards. When ultimately lifting the upper body, with legs lifted together or farther apart continues to support a grounded sensation throughout the pelvis.

While laying on your stomach, the legs engaged and reaching long behind you, the arms are either down the sides of your torso, palms reaching up or if it is causing too much strain on the lower thoracic region and upper lumbar region of the spine to have your arms lifted at chest height, feel free to lower the forearms onto the mat. The elbows are bent directly underneath the shoulders and the forearms shoulder-distance apart.

To reiterate, vimanasana begins while laying on your stomach, the forehead rest gently on the mat or it if is more comfortable for your neck, turn your head to one side and place the cheek on the mat, your arms are down by your sides or elbows bent underneath your shoulder. Exhale completely and on your next inhalation, tighten the abdominal muscles while rolling shoulders back and down the spine and leading with the breath, pull the chest forward and up, the legs lift (feet together or legs wider a part) and if the arms are by your side they lift up and can spread out line airplane wings. While continuing to inhale, the head extends away from the shoulders and chin gently lifts up while still parallel to the floor beneath you. On a cleansing exhalation, lower the chest, legs and arms (if lifted rather than bent) beside your torso while relaxing the abdomen muscles and lowering the forehead or cheek (now in the opposite direction) onto the mat.

When inhaling to repeat vimanasana, keep in mind that the legs should not be lifting higher than the height of your chest to reduce any chance of strain on the lower back. Ease into and out of the pose, allowing the breath to guide your rather the physicality of the asana. Master Teacher, Gary Kraftsow guides you through this grounding, relieving, yet spine-strengthening pose in his Low Back, Hips and Sacrum Viniyoga Therapy practice.

The Second Dimension: The Vital Body and Pranamaya

By on January 20th, 2016 — Comments Off on The Second Dimension: The Vital Body and Pranamaya

Beautiful sporty fit yogini woman practices pranayama breath control exercise in yoga asana Padmasana - lotus pose with Vishnu mudra in studio

By Gary Kraftsow

According to the ancients, the vital body consists of five identifiable aspects: prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, ākāśa, and pṛthivī. 1 All five of these aspects represent some manifestation of energy, and, although not equivalent, all may be understood in relation to the vital metabolic functions of the physical body.

Today we tend to think of health and vitality in terms of standards of measurement— the ratio of LDL to HDL in our blood serum cholesterol , the level of our PSA, the strength of our bones, for example. These measurements require professional medical tests. At best, most of us have a physical once a year, and many of us avoid doctors altogether.

According to the ancients, however, from the moment of our birth it is prāṇa that organizes, activates, and animates our physical bodies. By paying close attention to certain characteristics that reflect the balanced flow of prāṇa through our physical bodies, we can have a relatively accurate picture of our own health and vitality on a daily basis. These characteristics include how we fall asleep; the quality of our sleep, dreams, and morning energy; the nature of our digestion and bowel movements; and the regularity of our menstrual cycles, to name only a few examples. We can gain an even deeper understanding based on the quality of our respiratory rhythms, once we understand and can apply the science of the breath, called prāṇāyāma.

As with āsana practice, the ancients also suggested that the purpose and methods of prāṇāyāma practice should complement each other and that they should change as we grow. By becoming familiar with our threshold capacity for inhale and exhale, we can better assess our own physiological and emotional stress levels as a basis for improving the general quality of our lives.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart by Gary Kraftsow.



Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Use the PROMO SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout at