Category Archives: yoga

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 south 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 south 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

Balance and Boogie: Kids Finding their Groove in Yoga

top-10-benefits-of-yoga-for-kids-434x332

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.

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

Spoil MOM with the Gift of Spynga!

ssweatshirtapril18 booktea

karbontanks

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

Posted in healthy living, yoga | Leave a comment

Spynga and Body Love

 

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.

 

Posted in healthy living, indoor cycling, life & wellness coaching, south studio, yoga | Leave a comment

Outdoor Yoga is possibly one of Toronto’s Best Kept Secrets

forward-fold-sari

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.

Posted in south studio, yoga | Leave a comment

Top 10 Reasons to Do Spynga’s Yoga Alliance Certified 225 Hour Teacher Training

meredith bannan, pranayama & meditation teacher

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!

Posted in north studio, south studio, yoga, yoga teacher training | Tagged | Leave a comment