Category Archives: yoga

Spynga’s Girlcrush: Dr. Dina M. Kulik

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 Kilik Kyoga for kids toronto

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.

Posted in yoga | Leave a comment

Massage and Yoga: The Perfect Pairing

By: Allison Cumberbatch, RMT

massage therapy toronto RMT flowers

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.

Posted in yoga | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s So Much More Than Teacher Training

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…

Posted in yoga, yoga teacher training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

I am often asked by new students how many times a week should they practice to “nail” their chaturanga, arm balance or inversion.  My answer is always the same. Be safe and start slow. Practice once or twice a week, see how the body feels and increase the days of practice from there. The benefits of a regular practice go far beyond perfecting a plank, crow or handstand.

Posted in healthy living, life & wellness coaching, toronto studio, yoga | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How The Hollow Body Position Has Changed My Life!

I am not a gymnast, I have never been a gymnast, nor will I ever be a gymnast!!! However here I am at 41 obsessing with handstands and handstand walking. It wasn’t until I mastered the hollow body position that this dream became a reality. I am actually walking on my hands!!! @jillrs75 Achieving this goal of mine would not have been possible without the time and dedication spent perfecting a solid hollow body position. So what is it? It is basically one of the hardest elements I have incorporated into my training and my classes. I am not saying this to scare you but to prepare you for what will be a rewarding yet huge challenge. So picture the shape of a banana or a hammock, this is the image you want to match when performing your Hollow. If you follow the instructions below point by point you can and will Hollow!

Posted in yoga | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Mastering The Dogs Can Change Your Practice

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.

Posted in toronto studio, yoga | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Power of Yin Yoga

Dive into the World of Yin yoga and watch the many aspects of you and your life change before your eyes.

Dive into the World of Yin yoga and watch the many aspects of you and your life change before your eyes.

by Naomi Zahler

Yin Yoga is a specific style of yoga that encourages the holding of supported postures for a duration of 3-8 minutes. Not to be confused with Restorative Yoga, the purpose in Yin Yoga is to support the body only enough that the “yang” tissues of the body (muscles specifically) can relax, allowing the “yin” tissues of the body (connective tissues) to find space. The muscles of our body move our skeletal system into action. The connective tissues, like our ligaments, tendons and fascia support our joints and stabilize our skeleton. If a posture is held in a “yang” way, meaning, we find sensation or depth in our postures by using large muscle groups; our connective tissue would automatically go into protective mode. In other words, if we want to release our “yin” tissues, we must let go of strain in our “yang” tissues first. The practice of Yin Yoga focuses on exploring ways of doing just that by focusing awareness onto these connective tissues of the physical body, while clearing the energetic pathways of the subtle body as they are taught in Traditional Chinese Medicine (also know as the meridian lines of the body) and using breath work to help settle the mind throughout the practice. Stillness is encouraged while holding Yin postures so that we can witness the mind as we challenge any static energy within the subtle body. This is the true beauty of Yin Yoga and also its greatest challenge. It is while we hold these postures we are able to observe our habits toward whatever emotions arise and learn to lean toward these existing habits through breath, awareness and love for the Self.

Posted in toronto studio, yoga | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Teacher’s Insight on the Gift of Restorative Yoga

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.

Posted in healthy living, yoga, yoga teacher training | Leave a comment

The Beauty Of Yin/Yang: 5 Questions With Tracey Soghrati

Tracey Bellanger SoghratiBriefly describe a yin/yang yoga class
The terms Yin and Yang are convenient labels used to denote polarities in the world around us. They represent the opposite parts that define something that is whole. When something is described as being “yin” in nature, it is slower, more internal, deeper and perhaps more esoteric that what it is being compared to. When something is described as “yang” in nature, it is faster, more dynamic, more apparent, and perhaps more physical than what it is being compared to. This brings me to the point that a thing can only be described as “yin” or “yang” by comparing it to something else. Thus, in calling a yoga class “yin-yang” we are implying that the class incorporates dynamic physical flow, as well as still, deep postures, and finally the more subtle aspects of yoga such as philosophy, pranayama and meditation. It is the practice for those who want it all.

Posted in healthy living, life & wellness coaching, yoga, yoga teacher training | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everything Hurt, But It Was Heaven

sari.warriorIIvari cropped
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?

Posted in pre/post natal, yoga | Tagged , , | Leave a comment