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Category Archives: yoga
I remember when I began falling in love with vinyasa; not just the style of a vinyasa yoga but the beautiful sequence that is inserted between postures, that fosters heat in the body, the intense flow from the strength demanded, and the feeling of space as the body is rinsed of residual sensations from holding the previous posture. When I first began practicing, each vinyasa felt like a treat for my body; the dessert after releasing (sometimes escaping) from a series of long held postures to wash out whatever sequences we did, like they never happened but you can continue to build and feel the effects within. It was my opportunity to feel every muscle and joint working to support each other in this dance with breathe.
For clarity, the vinyasa sequence itself is low push up (aka Chaturanga), upward dog and downward dog that you will no doubt repeat 50 times in a typical power, vinyasa, Ashtanga or any other “flow” style of yoga these days.
These are 3 separate postures, merged together into a three-way relationship that not only build strength but opens the front and back body sequentially.
Each posture, with its own nuances, alignment, muscle actions, and kinesthetic qualities, that when joined together, asks us to see how they compliment each other through the use of breath and movement.
by, Charlene Yeh
Teaching Restorative Yoga is one of the most important gifts that we can give our students and ourselves. Slowing down and resting are acultural for our society, so encouraging others to rest and relax requires a deep personal commitment to exploring one’s own quiet practice. How can we hold space and create a safe environment in which others can let go, forget their worries, and rest deeply? Because being active and dynamic are usually deemed more important than quiet and passive states, as restorative yoga teachers, we must have our own inner experiences to share.
Convincing students that they need more rest and not another workout, requires a belief that there is much benefit to be gained through the restorative practice. Through balancing the nervous system, we regulate hormonal levels, decrease cortisol levels, gain better sleep and a clearer mind. The practice also helps to release tense muscles, relieve achy joints, and train the mind in transitioning from stress to calm.
So here I am reemerging from the newborn baby bubble at 6 weeks post- pardum where, I think, you can finally semi catch your breath. Recovery from the wild ride of labour and delivery is hopefully becoming a distant nightmare or dream, depending on your experience and your body is healing, at least on the surface. Personally, I am knee deep in sleep deprivation mode where it is natural to feel like you have left your brain on most days and where 2-3 hours of snooze time feels like you drifted off for just a moment. Since my mind has been mostly occupied with feeding, poop, devising inventive ways to settle a fussy infant, and incorporating a toddler into this all – It was sadly foreign albeit natural, to turn my attention inwards.
I took my first breath with a vinyasa level 2 yoga class yesterday and besides reliving moments of childbirth again in certain poses, it was incredibly humbling on the mat for this veteran teacher and student of yoga. I have been stretching periodically since giving birth to Theodora. Mostly a few sun salutations to shake out the legs from sitting and nursing, forward folds with arms following over head to reverse my caved in chest from hovering over baby day in and day out, breathwork to get through the initial pain of breast feeding and meditating any chance I get….or is that sleeping?
by Ya’ara Saks
Kids live in a world with parents who are constantly plugged in, hurrying from work to playdate to homework and stressed out. Funnily enough we don’t realize that as overscheduled as we are – they are too. As adults we come to the mat to destress, let go and find balance – they reap the benefits when we come home calm and clear – why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to model us and have that time too?
Yoga for kids is the perfect antidote to all that we pile on our kids from school to sports and more. Yoga gives them the tools of a balanced healthy outlook and strong positive connection with themselves. Already at a young age and into their teens, children often feel pressure at school academically and socially. With the added pressure if they are involved in competitive organized sports, it’s easy for kids to become overly self-critical, and lose confidence as they grow and develop. Yoga is the chance to find the opposite – a nourishing space where there is no judgment and no need to be the “winner” or place a perfect pose.
Top 5 things to get your gal, MOM
1. Choose from a beautiful selection of inspirational books, candles and luxurious creams at Spynga North $20-$40
2. New Spynga black performance tank with the ultimate wicking system for $38
3. Reserve a spot for mom in our first super deluxe restorative yoga workshop on June 8th for $45
4. A Cozy Spynga Sweatshirt for spring evening walks! $95
5. A 5 class pack for her to use whenever she wishes $80
I’ve always been an perfectionist. For seven years through my late teens and early twenties, this trait manifested as a roller coaster of yo-yo diets, disordered eating behaviour and punishing workouts, in an endless pursuit of my own concept of the perfect body. Four years ago, on the verge of starting yet another diet cycle, I discovered an online community of people who believe in size acceptance and Health at Every Size (HAES), drastically shifting my goals and my frame of mind.
HAES posits that pursuing improved health outcomes can occur independent of deliberate changes in body size. In other words, healthy behaviours like eating well and exercising have value whether or not you become thinner as a result of these behaviours. From its website (http://www.haescommunity.org/), HAES encourages:
● Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
● Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honours internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
● Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.
Outdoor yoga at Spynga is possibly one of Toronto’s best kept secrets – an experience to be cherished in these fleeting summer months.
Scott Petrie, who teaches mindbody outdoor yoga flow Thursday evenings, thoroughly enjoys the vibe on the terrace. “The greenery, the trees, and the wood of the deck help you feel more connected to nature,” he says. “Taking a deep breath of actual fresh air, or hearing the birds tweet during savasana…those are things I don’t take for granted given that I’m almost always practicing indoors.”
As one happy Spynga client concurs, “There’s nothing like being outside, watching the clouds go by and the trees swaying as you do your tree pose.”
This observation reminds us of the Sanskrit meaning of the word “yoga” – to yoke, to unite, to forge connection. According to the ancient texts, yoga is about letting go of the self and allowing the deep connection between all and everyone around us to reveal it. As we stand, swaying gently, could it be that we are indeed the tree and the tree is in fact us? As the clouds placidly dance, the leaves wave hello, the wind whispers encouragement, as we allow our own breath to join the party, flowing in and out of the body as we move with power and grace, this deep connection has a chance to reveal itself almost effortlessly.
Ok…We are up to 12 reasons. Ever left a juicy yoga class and thought, hmmm… I wish I could teach like that? Ever had an inkling to inspire and move people back to themselves through breath and a spirited flow called yoga? Here’s your chance!
1. You love yoga so much you want to share the love with others!
2. An opportunity to study and learn about anatomy (in a fun way of course!), yogic philosophy, meditation, breathing techniques that calm and energize, and how to get in that very twisty pretzel pose that eludes you. See curriculum here!
3. Learn about yourself and take a trip on a remarkable transformational personal journey
4. Immerse yourself in a community of like minded people who can sit and talk about the minutia of posture alignment all day!
5. Discover the impact of teaching, inspiring, and touching people’s lives daily and what that does to your soul and the soul of others.
6. Work with a fantastically experienced faculty!
7. Free Yoga for 5 months (it’s included!)
8. Learn how to make a passion of yours a real live business and you are the BOSSS.. .yogi-like of course!