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Health Benefits of Yoga

 Developed in India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for over 5000 years.  Practicing yoga postures is a great way to get yourself in shape both for your body, mind and spirit. Did you know that your yoga practice can also help you manage many health conditions and diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes and headaches. Yoga creates a sense of well being and calm, and stimulates your immune system which reduces stress and tension.

Not only are you improving muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, but you are also boosting your self esteem and improving your concentration and creativity. You may find yourself happier, less stressed and feeling a greater sense of balance.

There are many different styles of yoga and even though they are based on the same fundamental poses, each style of yoga has a different focus.

Hatha – Slow paced, gentle and focuses on breathing and meditation. Great for beginners who want to learn the basics of yoga.

Ashtanga – Considered a power yoga, with fast paced and intense lunges and push-ups. Great for fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina and improve ones spiritual self.

Vinyasa – Similar to Hatha with basic poses and synchronized breath movements. Emphasizing the 12 poses of the Sun Salutations with each pose being matched to breathe. Good for both new and advanced yogis seeking to strengthen their bodies.

Iyengar – Focuses on body alignment using different props like straps, blocks, blankets to strengthen the body. Standing poses are often held for longer periods of time. Great for those that want to learn  the proper alignment in each pose and those with balance issues.

Hot Yoga – Practised in a room heated between 95 – 100 degrees. Great for loosening tight muscles and sweating out toxins. Helps speed up recovery from injuries and enhances your flexibility. Great for beginners and advanced yogis and those with physical injuries.

Of course there are many other types of yoga from Kundalini to restorative yoga, but it’s important for you to connect with which type of yoga is right for you. Understanding the different teaching methods and practices will help you choose the right yoga experience for you and will make your practice more rewarding and fulfilling

Beyond the health and fitness benefits, yoga improves your mental health. Reducing stress, improving relaxation, and leaving you with a sense of peace. Yoga is designed to strengthen your body, but it is a meditative exersise that creates a healthy balanced body and peaceful state of mind.

The holistic effects of yoga is attained when you become not only physically stronger and more flexible but also mentally stronger and more flexible. If the practice of yoga helps you to find peace, heal your body and create a better sense of wellbeing, it’s only logical that you will become more accepting of your spiritual nature. It is this realization that will give your practice more meaning, but also embodies your thoughts, actions and purpose, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

There is no age discrimination in yoga. Yoga has been proven to reduce pain levels among seniors with arthritis and teaches kids to be active, relive stress and to think positively. The benefits of yoga are endless.

The Girls Great Escape at the Old Mill Toronto is coming back, mark your calendars for November 8th, 2014.   See the itinerary from our last Girls Great Escape here, the Yoga dance class was a treat!



Powerful Tips For Effective Presentations

Designing the right story (agenda) for your presentation is the critical key to ensuring the right message is delivered. Visually engaging presentations will help to inspire your audience, but first you must have your story. What is the one big idea that you want your audience to resonate with most? Create your headline to motivate your audience to listen, just like twitter it should be (140 characters) and make it memorable. You want to make sure your audience no matter how small or large, comes away with your main focus. 

Master your stage presence and make it look effortless. Walk the space you will be presenting on and get a clear idea of where you will stand. Start by asking your audience questions that will get them engaged and thinking about the topic’s relevance right away. Be passionate and it will come across in your presentation and most of all believe in yourself and you will be one step closer to delivering a great presentation worthy of a standing ovation. By taking your audience on a journey from start to finish and being your authentic self, (throw away the script) memorize your main points and ideas, and work on flowing between them naturally. Tell a story don’t just deliver data and remembering it’s all about the audience and what they want to hear you will ensure your presentation runs smoothly. Which reminds me of a point, get to know your audience, the presentation isn’t about you, you need to know your audience in order to deliver the story they want to hear and making sure they learn what they want to know.

Encourage the use of videos; pre, during and post presentations are always a great way to capture the attention of your audience, by keeping them engaged visually. Once you have your story you can also use powerpoint, keynote or other software to create engagement. Remember if your slide presentation can stand alone and people can just read them and not have attend your presentation, then you have too much information. Using humour, when and where appropriate allows you and your audience the chance to re-focus on the information being disbursed.

Finally practise to ensure the agenda runs smoothly, especially if you are using (AV) to avoid possible issues that will detract from the overall meeting experience. Finish your presentation by briefly framing your key points and your headline that you began taking your audience on a journey with.

The Old Mill Toronto is the ideal choice for those looking for a unique property with an elegant, historical ambiance, allowing you to devote your full concentration on your agenda and achieving the results you are targeting. Your success is our passion and priority.



Backyard Entertaining

With the flowers starting to protrude above the ground, and the sun shining just enough to go outside with out bundling up, summertime is just around the corner and it’s a great time to plan getting together with friends and family to enjoy the outdoors. 

There are many ways to plan a successful backyard party, but the first thing to arrange is the perfect seating experience to allow everyone to be comfortable and engage in conversation.  If your entertaining a large crowd then smaller seating areas, scattered around the backyard will ensure that people will mingle and create different conversations that can be enjoyed by various people.

Setting the perfect decor for your backyard entertaining can be done with a simple string of patio lights or hanging lanterns. Light tiki torches around the garden and use votive candles to set the mood by placing them in small glass jars. Get creative with your table decor by using lightweight colourful tablecloths and brightly coloured paper napkins, which are easily disposable afterwards, and less time in cleaning up.

Providing music for your party is a great way to encourage fun. You can use your patio as a dance floor and keep the music near by so those that won’t to dance up a storm can. You can hire a DJ but if you do not want the added cost then plan ahead with top dance hits from your era downloaded on to your iPod or use your MP3 player or cd’s for everyone to enjoy dancing to.

Food at your party always seems to be the number one concern. Easy backyard entertaining is preferably done with a smart backyard buffet. Keep your menu light and simple, food should be yummy and easy to handle and the less you have to fuss the more time you get to spend with your guests.  Why not take advantage of your grill and have a few people to watch over grilling hotdogs and hamburgers. Don’t forget dessert, something perfect for a summers evening like fresh fruit kebobs and maybe some freshly whipped cream to dip into. Be sure to have plenty of finger foods on various tables around your garden and set up a self serve bar table complete with a cooler for ice, so everyone can help themselves to a drink.

Hospitality is the key to throwing a great party, welcoming your guests and making them feel good that they came. Chances are with great friends, just being together is all that’s important.

Specialty Burger Recipes to give your grill a thrill!

Great cocktails to serve at your next backyard party.

DJ services to help bring your Backyard entertainment to the next level.



Benefits of a Facial

 

If you’ve never enjoyed a facial treatment before, then allow me to convince you otherwise.

A facial stimulates your skin by improving your blood circulation and relaxing your facial muscles, which in turn can slow the onset of dare I say…wrinkles, the nemesis of aging.

There are many benefits of enjoying regular scheduled facials;

* A brighter, healthier complexion
* Improved acne
* Reduced puffiness, redness & sagging skin 

Did you know that your skin renews itself approx. every 28 days. Facials can prepare the new skin cells to be healthier, by increasing the blood circulation under the skin allowing optimal healthy skin cells to develop, giving you a beautiful natural glow.

Facials can help smooth fine lines and promote collagen which helps prevent premature aging and wrinkles. Your lymphatic system that lies just beneath your skins surface will be manipulated to help decrease puffiness and aid in detoxification.

Facials provide exfoliation that smooths you skin, improves hydration and over all skin tone. But aside from your beautiful glowing radiant skin, facials allow you time to relax, which in itself is a great stress relief.

It is recommended that you have a facial every 4-6 weeks, but it is also recommended that you prolong the results of your facial by cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and protecting your skin from the sun at home.

Sugar, honey, oatmeal and yogurt are all natural exfoliants that can be found at home.

Honey can reduce inflammation and helps to fight acne making it a great hydrating facial scrub.

Yogurt hydrates and exfoliates and soothes and smooths your skin. Apply plain yogurt to your face for about 20 minutes and then rinse.

Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid which helps to remove dead skin cells. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with enough olive oil or your oil of preference to make a paste. Apply this to your face using a gentle circular motion then rinse well.

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural moisturizer. Finely grind up one cup of oatmeal in a blender, stir in one cup of plain yogurt and 2 tbls of honey. Mix into a paste and apply to your face for 15 minutes and rinse well with warm water.

Remember before applying anything to your skin there is always a risk of an allergic reaction, make sure you do your research first and speak to an esthetician at your spa beforehand as they can recommend products that are better for your skin type once that have taken a look at your skin.

There are many elements that can damage your skins appearance from weather, stress, natural aging, and a poor diet. A facial treatment allows your face to absorb what it needs to replenish itself and will also provide you with a little bit of calmness in your busy life.

Having clear bright and healthy looking skin can put a skip in your step as we head into spring.

Posted in Spa


Why Do Brides Carry Flowers

 

You can express yourself through the flowers you choose. During Victorian times, flowers took on an additional significance, as lovers would send messages to each other using different flowers, with each flower having its own meaning. It is believed that flower language actually began in Turkey during the 17th century.

For example, Roses represent everlasting love, Stephanotis is good luck, Zinnias represent lasting affection and Ivey signifies fidelity, but today’s tradition for the bouquet is really about added beauty and personal expression.

In ancient times, brides carried bunches of grains, herbs and strong smelling spices in order to ward against demons, angry spirits and bad health. Eventually, these bouquets were replaced with flowers. In Ancient Greece and Rome, the bride and groom wore floral garlands around their necks, signifying new life, hope and fertility. The groom is supposed to wear a flower that appears in the bridal bouquet in his buttonhole. This comes from the medieval tradition of a knight wearing his lady’s colours, as a celebration of his love.

According to legend, during the 15th century, people took their annual baths in May and would generally get married in June. Just to be on the safe side brides carried bouquets to mask the smell of body odour.

Today five of the most popular wedding flowers are; Roses, Calla Lilies, Hydrangeas, Peonies and Tulips.

For good luck 14th century Europeans tore fabric from the brides dress. It was believed that the bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. The piece of her dress was considered a “Good-luck keepsake”. The brides tossing of her bouquet was so she could extend a good-luck keepsake to her guests, but really it was also to avoid having her dress torn. It is considered lucky to catch the bouquet because it signifies by tradition and myth that whomever catches the bridal bouquet will be the next one married.

The Flower Shop at the Old Mill Toronto creates hand-tied European style bouquets from the sweet and romantic Victorian styles to the imaginative boldly exotic flower selections, each flower is lovingly selected to ensure your custom designed hand-tied bouquet meets your every expectation.



Roast Turkey with Herb Stuffing & Gravy

 

If you’ve never tackled stuffing and roasting a whole turkey before, or if you just need a refresher on cooking that perfect bird, this 101 cooking lesson is for you. A fresh turkey really does have a superior texture and flavour and it’s usually best to order ahead from your butcher or meat department to make sure you get the right size. If you are using a frozen turkey be sure to allow for plenty of thaw time to thaw in the refrigerator and never thaw at room temperature. The turkey for this recipe would take 2 1/2 – 3 days to thaw completely. Any stuffing you can’t fit in the bird can be cooked in a buttered casserole dish after the turkey comes out of the oven.

HERB STUFFING
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh sage
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp (2 ml) celery seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried savoury (optional)
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250 ml)approx. turkey or chicken stock
14 cups (3.5 ml) cubed day old bread

TURKEY
1 Turkey, 12 – 14 lbs (5.5 to 6.5 kg) 
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, melted
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp (1 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper 

GRAVY
2 cups (500 ml) approx. turkey or chicken stock
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp (5ml) chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup (80 ml) all-purpose flour
 1/3 cup (80 ml) dry white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper 

 1. For the stuffing, melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add celery, onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add sage, rosemary, celery seeds, savoury (if using) and 1/2 tsp (2 ml) each salt and pepper; saute for 5 minutes or until onions start to turn golden. Pour in about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the stock and scrape up brown bits.

2. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and mix with bread. Add enough stock to moisten stuffing (when you squeeze it, a handful should just hold together). Season with salt and pepper, let cool completely.

3. Preheat oven to 325F (160C).

4. Remove any giblets and parts tucked in cavity of turkey and reserve for the stock if desired. Rinse turkey inside and out with cool running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. You want at least 1 inch  (2.5 cm) of space between the turkey and the sides of the pan.

5. Fill cavity with the stuffing, packing lightly, but not to tight, in order to leave room for expansion when cooking. Bring legs together towards the opening of the cavity and tie with kitchen string. Lift the flap of skin at the neck and stuff the smaller cavity, if desired.

6. Combine melted butter, sage, rosemary and about 1/2 (2 ml) each of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush all over the outside of the turkey.

7. Insert the probe of a meat thermometer between the leg and the breast with end of the probe into the thickest part of the thigh and without touching the bone.

8. Roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until thermometer for both meat and stuffing reads 180 F (82C). Transfer turkey to a large cutting board and cover loosely with foil to “tent”.

9. For the gravy, remove rack from roasting pan. Pour pan drippings into a large liquid measuring cup. Let stand for 2 minutes. Spoon off the fat that floats to the top of the cup, (an idea to speed up this process is to add ice cubes which will solidify the fat faster). Reserve 1/4 cup (60 ml); discard remaining fat. Pour in enough stock to remaining pan juices to make 3 cups (750 ml) total liquid.

10. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Return the reserved fat to roasting pan and heat until sizzling. Add onion and sage and saute for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, while whisking to make sure flour is incorporated with the fat, for one minute. Gradually pour in the wine, while whisking. Gradually pour in the stock, keep whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer whisking often for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

11. To carve the turkey, untie the legs and spoon stuffing out of the cavities into a warm serving bowl, cover and keep warm.

12. Cut legs from turkey, inserting knife between the thigh joint and the body and using the knife to cut the meat while slightly wriggling the leg to loosen the joint. Carve meat from the thigh and serve drumstick whole if desired. To cut the breast meat position the turkey so the neck is farthest away from you. Make a cut along the breast down the centre of the turkey starting from the neck and working towards you an dkeeping the knife blade as close to the bone as possible, carfully cutting themat away from the bone in one large piece. Transfer the large piece of breast to a cutting board, then cut cross wise into slices. Repeat on the left side. Cut wings loose from the body, wiggling loose as you did the legs.

Finally you are ready to serve the turkey with the hot gravy and stuffing alongside. Refrigerate any leftovers within 1 hour.  Enjoy this meal with a nice Pinot Noir, the soft tannins and earthy, berry fruit notes provide the right combination of flavours for this dish or a nice Chardonnay, another favourite with a turkey dinner.

Enjoy!