by: Tanya Carinci – Founder of Girls In Fitness Training (GiFT)
“Are you pregnant?”
A simple one-liner of a question asked my 12 year old niece, Alana, one spring morning in 2010. Nothing wrong with the question except for the fact, I had given birth one year prior.
I remember the heat level in my body rising, my face turning the brightest shade of red from embarrassment and the feeling of absolute mortification.
What had happened to me? Prior to giving birth to my three wonderful children, I was a beacon of health, I worked out and loved my body. Where had the old Tanya gone?
Dr.Dina is a pediatrician who specializes in emergency medicine. She works at Sick Kids and is the founder of Kidcrew a forward-thinking clinic focused on patient experience for children and families of all ages offering paediatricians, allergists, neurologists, sport medicine and more covering your family head to toe and is located on Bathurst St, south of St. Clair. Dr. Dina lives in Toronto with her 3 sons, 2 dogs, and her husband.
Spynga: You’ve been coming to Spynga for many years now, what do you enjoy about Spynga and what’s kept you coming back?
Dr. Dina: I love the staff and the teachers. There is an awesome energy at Spynga and Ialways know I’ll get a great workout in a friendly environment. There are all sorts of people at Spynga, and everyone feels comfortable.
Spynga: You’re often described as an adrenaline junkie, what’s your favourite way to get an adrenaline fix?
Dr. Dina: Honestly, my daily AM workout. I need to get my heart rate up every morning before I start seeing patients. I take my kids to school, head to the gym, then to work.
By: Heather Hope
The teacher of a yoga class is responsible for more than just taking their students through the poses – they set the tone and feeling for that class. So let’s get to better know one teacher through our interview with Jodi Fischtein one of our Life On The Mat course teachers.
Jodi is a mixed-lineage yoga teacher who loves aspects of Ashtanga, Prana Flow Vinyasa and Yin yoga. In 2005, Jodi moved from Long Island to Toronto and has been sharing her yoga practice in Toronto since 2008. Jodi’s training includes prenatal yoga and Thai Massage. She is currently immersed in Dr. Jon-Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Toronto. Jodi lives in Toronto with her husband and four children.
Jodi was a bit hesitant to try yoga when she began attending sessions in New York in 1999: “I resisted the practice initially as I didn’t want to be still. So I behaved in a silly manner, yet I attended those sessions. Eventually I was subdued by the asana, noting the strength and flexibility I felt. Initially it was purely physical. Years later I began to draw my attention inward, to the subtle body.” When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Jodi responded, “Relax. Speak less. Listen deeply”.
By: Allison Cumberbatch, RMT
Throughout my career as an RMT I’ve tried various health trends to keep in shape. The only trend that stuck with me was yoga. How it moves. How it motivates. How it calms and how we can benefit from it physically, mentally and psychologically. I love yoga for many of the same reasons I love massage. I’ve been an active participant in yoga throughout the years and I’ve come to rely on it, I even incorporate it into my practice as a registered massage therapist.
I’m not a gym rat or fitness guru, so when faced with my first ever spin class I was excited but intimidated. I haven’t been into biking since I was kid; I enjoyed it when I was young but lost interest as I went into my preteens and never looked back. I was worried my legs wouldn’t be up to intense spinning, but since I love a challenge I signed up for my first ever spin class and began to prepare.
My workouts are usually done at home and combine yoga, cardio, and some exercises I learned in my preteens when I took dance classes. I wouldn’t say I’m in bad shape but I do tire easily and live a fairly sedentary lifestyle with a few workouts sprinkled in.
After a little googling I learned what basics I needed to bring to spin class: sports bra, sweat wicking shirt, running shoes, and an easy to open one-handed water bottle (no screw caps). My essentials ready to go, I arrived about ten minutes early for the Saturday 9am spin class with Casey.
“Anxiety is extremely contagious. But so is calm.”
I have spent my professional life working with children as both an elementary school teacher and now as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. I am constantly amazed at how much my ability to be connected to my practice, to be present and grounded, impacts my time with kids. These days, when I teach parents and teachers about sharing yoga and mindfulness with children, the heart of my message is simple but profound: Connection is what makes all the difference.
My observation is that yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand with connection. When we become more mindful, we connect deeply with ourselves and develop a capacity to connect more genuinely with others. Likewise, when we consciously foster connection with ourselves and with others, we naturally slow down and become more present.
This idea of connection is worthy of deep exploration. It seems ironic that we are living in the most connected world in history, and yet symptoms of disconnection are all around us: loneliness, sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration. According to ancient teachings, disconnection is at the root of suffering. To move out of suffering we must develop present moment awareness and a capacity to attune to ourselves and to attune to others. Attunement has been defined in the following way:
The first year of university is an exciting time. Personally, I couldn’t wait to make new friends, attend new classes, and experience a brand new atmosphere. What I wasn’t prepared for was the new food. The first year of university is notorious for “the freshmen 15”, an expression describing the amount of weight that some students gain in their freshman year. Many believe that this expression is a generalization, and perhaps even a myth. I, on the other hand, know first hand that “the freshmen 15” is not a myth, but an unfortunate reality for many university students, including myself. What follows is the brief tale of how I gained, and then subsequently lost 10 pounds in my first year of university.
I was a slightly overwhelmed mama of four, running a summer camp with my husband and struggling to find any sense of balance and connection with myself. I was finding some peace, adventure and strength on my mat at Spynga. So when the dates for the spring intensive Yoga Teacher Training were released, I had to find a way. It was no small feat to manage a 225-hour commitment, but thankfully I was supported by my husband (who managed our family and business not to mention made my lunches complete with love notes of encouragement), my family, and the community at Spynga that had so quickly become a second home. The program itself was a hands-on experience, rich in content with brilliant teachers. But it was so much more than that…
Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy can be one of the most empowering, enlightening and inspiring experiences imaginable. The practice vastly supports your own health and wellness, easing the wretched leg cramps, lower back pain and swollen feet associated with carrying a baby. Moreover it also deepens your connection to your baby, while teaching you breathing techniques and movement rituals to assist you throughout your labour. Whether you are attending a specific prenatal yoga class or a all-level yoga class with your growing belly, the overall experience can be dramatically transformed by applying some or all of these tried and true tips from pregnant yogi-mamas.
As a business owner and mom of three active boys—ages 8, 6 and 2—Casey Soer barely has time to focus on herself. Like so many busy parents, her life is filled with happy chaos: drops-offs and pick-ups, play dates, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, cooking and of course, managing Spynga—her original baby—which includes running a successful studio while simultaneously gutting out and building a shiny new space (to be revealed in just a few weeks!).