Yogi of the Month

Featured Teacher: Sarah Zandbeek

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If you've been around Yogalife Studios for a bit you've probably had an interaction with Sarah Zandbeek. From her thoughtful, informative classes and workshops to the teacher trainings facilitated each year, she is a staple member of the Yogalife family.  Today we're catching up with this beautiful human; enjoy her words!

Check out Sarah's Facebook page. Although since having a baby, she has taken a break from teaching publicly, she continues to develop and refine the teacher training each year. 


I am a woman with a curious heart and a fierce, graceful edge. I am a seeker, turning over every stone, searching the world and my Self for the truest of true. I am a Lighthouse, holding up a strong pillar, unwavering, bringing light to the depths until the light shines from below. I am a student of life, a deep lover, and a healer. At the same time, I am none of this. I am a girl trying to figure out how to exist in this world, a wanderer having forgotten my way, a student unwilling to see the teacher in front of me, and someone seeking to be healed; yet, I am always a lover and observer of life.

Every thing in its context, every thing with a lesson to be learned, everything in its place.

Om.
— Sarah

Trainings Taken:

200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training with Open Door Yoga in Vancouver 100 Hour Teacher Training with Ryan Leier, Troy Hadeed, and Dustin Fruson 200 hour Advanced Teacher Training in Bali with the brilliant and devoted Tara Judelle and the wildly, unfathomable Scott Lyons Time spent with Stephen Thomas in quiet seat studying breath and mantra University degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture at Macewan University

Share a favourite poem that inspires you:

Self Portrait

It doesn't interest me if there is one God or many gods. I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned. If you know despair or can see it in others. I want to know if you are prepared to live in the world with its harsh need to change you. If you can look back with firm eyes saying this is where I stand. I want to know if you know how to melt into that fierce heat of living falling toward the center of your longing. I want to know if you are willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat. I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even the gods speak of God.

-- David Whyte

 

 

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence?):

Anything that takes me on a journey into the deep caverns of this body.

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction: Radiant Sutras by Lorin Roche Five Spirits by Loris Dechar The Gift - Poems of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky The Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolynn Myss ....I could go on for ever, I am a bit of a geek.

Where's your favourite vacation spot? I use to dream of being a traveller and when I became one, I used to dread coming home. Now, my favourite vacation spot is in my heart. Sounds cliche, but it is true. I like being home, I like being away...everything has its purpose and I mostly enjoy my life and the work I get to do.

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends? Wine, cheese, crackers, olives, bread and butter and on the other hand, I love me a green smoothie. Kale is King.

What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student? Any time a student discovers something new for the first time is pretty cool for me. Watching the growth, the mind-boggles, the ripples of awareness seeping in. It's all so cool.

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on? I don't know that I really think about the poses all too much, I am mostly "favouriting" the insides! Get inside, what is happening in there...something juicy surely, something a little ragged, some cob webs, a few intricate disguises, so many things.


Who inspires you? Humans inspire me. It blows my mind often how we are all having a totally different experience and view of the exact same thing. It is all so curious to me.

I am inspired mostly by those seeking their truth through the depths of hell and choosing to keep going. The ones getting pummelled by Life's sweet lessons, but their heart continues to beg the question, "but who am I really." Taking only truth and laying everything else to dissolve. The ones that are curious about something more than what they already "know." The ones willing to give it all up for Love. Those are the ones who inspire me. The ones with fight in their heart and soul that denies nothing.

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What is your favourite festival to attend?

Burning Man....yes, Burning man. Woa.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Trey Ratcliff

 

If you could study with one person who would it be and why? Lorie Dechar, I read her words and hear the refinement and depth of her wisdom.

What is the best concert you've ever been to? Ooo, hard one. Probably Radio Head, outside in Vancouver, pouring rain...total Bliss!

Where's the next place you want to travel? Switzerland :)

Share your favourite self-healing practice. Quiet Solitude steeped with rich conversation with those who have learned to listen

Share one of your life goals. To write a book.

May we share in this practice together.

xo

Yogalife Teacher Feature | Ashlynn Udholm

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We caught up with Yogalife instructor Ashlynn Udholm to learn a little bit more about this mainly south studio yogi. Ashlynn joined the teaching crew at Yogalife back in July of 2015 and snuggled right into the family! Her practice and training includes an awesome variety - the softer side of yoga, nidra and yin, and the fire that accompanies rocket yoga or hot flow.

"To me, yoga is all encompassing. It is the way you think, act and breath; with that, yoga is ever evolving. Every time I step on my mat is a new journey, a totally different experience."

- Ashlynn

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

The quote that is inspiring me the most right now is by Tyler Knott Gregson:

"Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim."

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I think it is so relevant to anyone who maybe feels a bit lost in the wake of the world. And a wonderful reminder to live in the now.

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

I have been loving practicing to anything sweet and lyrical like Ben Howard and Jack Johnson. London Grammar and Purity Ring are always go to bands for playlists. But lately Garth Stevenson and Ólafur Arnalds have been my go to's for yin practices.

Your favourite books: yogi-inspired, fiction, whatever!

Oh my gosh. 'Furiously Happy' by Jenny Lawson is a must read. If you have known, loved, or maybe you even are someone who has dealt with mental illness, this is the most honest, funny, and down to earth books I have ever read. It shines a light on mental illness in the coolest way.

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

I love, and always have loved Sayulita in Mexico. But Josh and I recently traveled to El Tunco, in El Salvador and it has the same magic feel. And Dublin, Ireland - if you haven't gone yet, I entirely urge you to go.

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What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

Tacos.

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

It always seems to shift. For a while it was arm balances as a whole, then it was back bending, right now it's handstands. But I am so loving hip-focused yin practices right now.

What is your favourite festival to attend?

I'm a really big fan of Folk Fest. I love the atmosphere and the cute little folk-loving families. But T in the Park in Scotland is a riot and Osheaga is also a must see.

Who inspires you?

My parents. And my sisters. They are the strongest, most encouraging people you'll ever meet.

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What is the best concert you've ever been to?

Florence and the Machine will forever and always be my favourite but July talk puts on the best kind of party vibe. Dan Mangan is so super sweet also!

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

I love reading, hot baths and restorative yoga practices. Mmmm so good.

Where's the next place you want to travel?

There is always a cool quote that comes to me saying, "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." But the top of that list definitely includes India, Greece and Brazil.

Share one of your life goals.

To live for at least a year in a new country. I would love to immerse myself so fully somewhere that it becomes like home.

Strike up a conversation with Ashlynn the next time you see her before or after class - she's a real gem!

Click here to meet another Yogalife instructor.

Yogalife Teacher Feature || Dawn McCorry

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Get to know Dawn McCorry

 

Dawn has been teaching at Yogalife since 2012. She loves the playful, loving, welcoming environment at Yogalife Studios. Dawn mostly teaches and practices at the North studio, but enjoys teaching her Mommy & Me class at South each week. She loves having her students feel quiet, connected, and relaxed at the end of a practice. Dawn is also the Mom to three very busy hockey playing boys and a Certified Birth Doula. She is looking forward to working on her 500 hr teaching training this year. Side note: we're looking forward to when she brings in cookies! (her gingerbread yoga-shaped ones were a serious hit this holiday season)

 

Catch Dawn February 13 for Prenatal Partner Yoga

Yogalife Studios North

2:30-5:30pm

  REGISTER yogalife  


  How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

I started practicing yoga in 2005. I was looking for a way to heal and regain strength from my first pregnancy, yoga seemed like a great fit. My twin sister, Donna, and I went to our first class together at Shanti Yoga Studio in downtown Edmonton. The instructor was Zoe Stikeman, she was absolutely fantastic, so kind and knowledgeable. It was a beginner Hatha class, I remember feeling so comfortable on my mat right from the very beginning. What I wasn't expecting was how calm I felt right away. I discovered it was something that I was really yearning for in my daily life. Zoe has since moved to Toronto, if you are ever in the area, look for her classes!

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

'Live in the Sunshine, Swim the Sea, Drink the Wild Air' Ralph Waldo Emerson

'Heart in Hand, Feet on Ground' Jann Arden

'Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.' Howard Thurman

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

I love Wah!, Garth Stevenson, Mumford and Sons, and sometimes a little old school hip hop to get my booty shaking in a downward facing dog. ;)

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

Any of the BKS Iyengar books Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates Secrets of Meditation by davidji How to Practice the Way to a Meaningful Life by Dalai Lama All books written by Ina May Gaskin All books by Ray Long The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

For Fiction The Birth House by Ami McKay The Green Mile by Stephen King I am currently reading the Harry Potter series to my youngest son.

 

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Tell us about your first teacher training.

My first teacher training was with Clare Newman at Mamata Yoga. I actually did my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training before I did my 200 hr. I knew that was what I wanted to specialize in. It was amazing, I wanted the weekends to last forever. I then went on to do my 200 hr a few months later with Clare after I completed my RPYT Training. I connected with fellow students in those trainings that will be my life long friends. Yoga Teacher Training has a huge impact on your life and I am forever changed because of it.

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

Anywhere near the ocean. I am a water baby, it is quite funny that I currently live in land locked Alberta. But one day I will live near the sea.

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

I love cooking lasagna, chili, and stew. Any type of comfort food that warms you up from the inside out. I also like baking cookies.

What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

Any time that my prenatal students come back to me to talk about their birth experiences and say how their yoga practice effected it in a positive way.

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

I really like to do a head to toe practice, with a bit of focus on a specific area of the body. I used to experience chronic lower back pain, which has disappeared after I started practicing yoga. So I really enjoy any postures that can strengthen my back.

Who inspires you?

My boys, they inspire me to do good in the world, to make it a better place for them to grow up in. As well as strong women who stand up for what they need and what they believe in.

What is your favourite festival to attend?

I had a fantastic time at Wanderlust 108 this year. I used to go to Big Valley Jamboree every year, it used to be like a big community out there every year. You would run into the same people year after year.

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

In terms of my Yoga practice, Seane Corn. I love her honest attitude and strong practice. Her Off the Mat and Into the World organization is doing amazing things. I was able to attend a couple of her workshops a few years ago, they were brilliant.

For my Birth Doula role, Ina May Gaskin and Penny Simkin. They are both extremely knowledgeable in pregnancy and birth.

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What is the best concert you've ever been to?

This is a hard one, I love live music. This past summer was really great with the Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons, and Taylor Swift always puts on a unreal show. Garth Brooks in Vegas a few years ago was a dream come true for me. But really any concert that I am with my friends and family dancing and singing loud is fantastic!

Where's the next place you want to travel?

I really want to take my boys to Disney World. (perfectly located by the ocean ;) ) My dream vacation is an African Safari.

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Meditation, whether is it is for 5 minutes or 30. It always centers me.

Share one of your life goals.

To raise strong, independent, sensitive, kind, fair men.

Featured Yogi || Amy Stuparyk

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Amy Stuparyk came through the doors of Yogalife Studios right when we first opened and has been a part of the family ever since. When she's not gallivanting the world she's teaching nearly everyday at our south location. Amy is sassy and hilarious, something that shines through in her classes. For a spicy practice, check out Amy's 'Arm Balances & Inversions' on Tuesday nights at 8:30! See Amy's full schedule here.

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How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

My very first yoga class was a registered class at the Devon Community Center when I was 14 years old. And I absolutely hated it. It was too quiet, and too slow. I was a dancer so naturally, I wanted to move more. 3 years later, I quit dancing and was looking for something different to use to stay fit because I really disliked the gym. A friend of mine told me about Yogalife opening up and the free week they had, so I came in for their very first class with a few friends. I thought maybe hot yoga would change my perspective of yoga. And it did. It was so much fun. I remember trying to jump to the top of my mat and jumping so far I fell forward like 3 feet of my mat. And the next day, I felt like I got hit by bus! I made myself go everyday the free week and after my third practice at the studio I asked the teacher, “How do I do what you do?”

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming .... WOW what a ride.”

“You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.”

We attract the energy that we put out into the world so I always try to have fun and keep smiling.

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What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence?)

I like to practice to electronic dance music when I’m doing a faster practice and just playing around, and when I do a yin practice, I find random slow songs on YouTube to throw on quietly in the background, mainly trying to focus on my breath.

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Fierce Medicine by Ana. T Forrest

Tell us about your first teacher training.

My first teacher training was very interesting. I spent a month in Montezuma, Costa Rica at Anamaya Resort. The resort was beautiful! The staff were amazing, the food was delicious, and the view was epic! The instructor should not have been doing teacher trainings though. There was a complaint put in 2 weeks into the training so for the last 2 weeks they brought in another instructor and we had to choice to learn from her, or from the original. I basically had 200 hrs of training packed into 2 weeks and only learned how to teach because of all the time I put in practicing. Now because my training wasn’t the best, I ended up taking another 200 hr a year and a half later through Gaitri yoga with the amazing Ally Bogard and Jana Derges (now Roemer). This training changed the way I teach and the way I practice. It really made me the teacher I am today.

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

I am happy being anywhere with a beach, but my favourite place I’ve been to so far is Thailand. I cannot wait to make my trek back there.

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

My mom’s homemade potato salad!

What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

Some of my closest friends now, were my students first. I even met my best friend through teaching. She was one of my regulars when I was teaching full time in Leduc. We were chatting one night before class, ended up finding out we had the same birthday, and the rest is history from there!

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What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

I have so many favourites! I always love to play with inversions and arm balances, especially handstands! Dancer's pose has been my favourite poses since the beginning of my yoga journey, and I have come to absolutely love side plank. It would be easier for me to name off the few things I’m not a fan of doing, rather than what my favourites are. I love it all.

Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me. My parents, my best friends, my boyfriend, my brother, my students, and even my dog!

What is your favourite festival to attend?

I haven’t been to many festivals, yoga or music related but I loved Boonstock when it was around.

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

I would really love to practice with Ana Forrest. I read her autobiography, and she had such an amazing life that made her the yoga teacher she is today. She teaches on how our emotions are connected to tension in the body and uses yoga to help release that emotion which is something I love teaching and learning about! Also, I would love to practice with Paul Grilley. I just love the way that he teaches Yin.

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What is the best concert you've ever been to?

I’m not a huge concert goer but the best concert I’ve been to would have to have been the K Rock Bash with my Dad. Trooper, Kim Mitchell and Tom Cochrane.

Where's the next place you want to travel?

South America. Specifically Machu Picchu in Peru

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Sleep! I have to make sure I always get plenty of sleep. Daily naps are a must! :)

Share one of your life goals.

I want to travel and see the world!

Featured Yogi || Gabi Weaver

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Gabi - PRINT-3  

Gabi joined the Yogalife Studios family in November 2014. She's brought along an awesome, bright energy and a unique skillset with her training in therapeutic yoga. Her classes are fun, energetic, and informative. You can check out her class schedule here and read more about her therapeutic yoga classes here.

 


 

How did you get your yogic start?  Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

I took my first Yoga classes in Vancouver from a pretty woman named Susan, in 1997. I took the class at the advice of the personal trainer at the gym where I went to work out. The class was in a beautiful spare room, and luckily, Susan was an excellent teacher, so I kept going. From the very first class, I knew I wanted to become a Yoga teacher. I felt the power of yoga coursing through my veins, my heart, my soul. The great tragedy of this moment was that I was in my mid-twenties, had a lot of student loan debt, and was just starting my career in Marketing. I knew that yoga would be in my future, but at that time, I could not afford to pursue it. It was difficult to find yoga classes, never mind a teacher training. Thankfully, that has all changed. Almost 10 years after my first Yoga class, in 2006, I became a Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. It was a life-changing moment in every way. I do not know of any other job that could bring me as much joy and contentment and gratitude. I absolutely LOVE teaching Yoga, and I love everything about our field. I think it is the best job in the world!!

 

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

My own beliefs about life are to: “Treat everyone you meet with love and respect, we are all equal.” “Be humble, be kind, be open, be soft, be sincere”. “Make goals, write them down, and never, ever give up.” “Do less, live more, breathe, stop and smell the roses.” “The way you treat those closest to you, says everything about you.” “ When you start living your truest life, the people and circumstances to help you make your goals and dreams come true will magically appear. “ Learn from your mistakes and past, only you can decide to treat them as lessons, and the reasons for your success, rather than reasons for your failure.”

And some famous quotes that have inspired me:

“If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.” Mother Theresa “The meaning of Life is to find your gift. The Purpose of Life is to give it away”. African Proverb “Live as if you were to die tomorrow” Learn as though you were to live forever” Mahatma Ghandi

 

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence?)

I love to practice to great music, and my tastes run all over the place- world music, Afro-cuban, Latin jazz, Bohemian ethnic music, Canadian alternative, instrumental, singer/songwriter,etc. One of my secret disappointments is not being a musician myself. I must content myself with being able to make a great playlist, and being able to use music to inspire, energize, and relax students in my Yoga classes. That said, I think the best yoga practice is when there is no music, but the steady and sweet sound of my own Ujjayi breath.

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

I read voraciously, and always have. I like to read about Yoga, Travel, Cooking, Nutrition, Food, Farming, and Healing. I tend to choose books that are funny, wise, and inspiring. I enjoy memoirs, some of my favorites were Mahatma Ghandi, The Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela. I have read some great Yoga memoirs: Yoga Bitch, by Susan Morrison, May I be Happy, by Cyndi Lee, Warrior Pose, by Brad Willis, Do your OM thing, by Rebecca Pacheco, Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, by Stephen Cope, and Hell-Bent, by Benjamin Lorr.

 

Tell us about your first teacher training.

I was lucky enough to study with a true Yoga master, Karen Claffey, in Montreal. She had certifications in practically everything, and was very wise, thoughtful, and supportive. She taught us more than just yoga, but a way of life, as she lived and breathed the teachings and philosophies of Yoga. It was a life-changing experience, and I feel very blessed to have had Karen as my first teacher.

 

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

Every year, I travel to Sivananda Ashram, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It is very different from staying in a resort. It is incredibly beautiful, and rustic. I go alone, stay in a tent, connect to nature, meet amazing new people who become life-long friends and enjoy the healthiest vegetarian food. I take programs and spend my days learning. Everyone at the ashram must attend the two daily Satsangs, which are made up of meditation, Kirtan, (group singing in Sanskrit) and presentations from the many visiting program teachers and spiritual leaders at the ashram. Our days start at 5:30 am, and are busy until 10pm. I always make time for a couple of daily swims in the breathtakingly clear turquoise ocean, and walks on the pristine fine white sand beaches. My yearly trips to the ashram are completely rejuvenating, nourishing and life-changing, both mentally and spiritually.

 

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

I am a huge foodie, and love to cook many ethnic foods that require hunting for exotic spices and ingredients. I love Vietnamese, African, Japanese, Brazilian, Indian, Mediterranean, French, Turkish, Lebanese, and Czech cooking. My meals can best be described as simple, very fresh, well-seasoned, very tasty and healthy. I could easily be a Chef, if my own Mom (herself a European-trained Chef) did not constantly dissuade me from a life of cruel hours and intense pressure.

 

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What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

I have been lucky enough to have formed some strong and very honest friendships with some of my yoga students. Many of my students have hugged me and told me that I had changed their lives. I am grateful to be able to teach Yoga therapeutically for people in recovery in treatment centers and people suffering from eating disorders, severe PTSD, and intense anxiety and depression. I have been lucky enough to have influenced many people on their path in life. Each of these experiences has taught me about the real meaning of life, how to love, how to forgive, how to heal, how to overcome great tragedy, and become all that you are capable of.

 

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

I could never just pick one! But, I do love inversions, and I’m pretty sure I spent more time upside down than right side up as a child.

 

Who inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere, in my closest family and friends, complete strangers, and even in a bad situation, I try and see what I am meant to learn from it. I think it is so important to live consciously, mindfully, and to surround yourself with inspiring influences and people, and to constantly step outside your comfort zone and grow into the person you are meant to be.

 

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

Hmmm…that’s a tough one. There are so many wonderful and talented teachers. I would have loved to have studied with the great masters of Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabi Jois. However, I would love to study with Kathryn Budig, and Kino Macgregor. They have qualities as teachers that I greatly admire. Tenacity, kindness, honesty, acceptance, humor and how to be humble. I would also love to study with some well-known Therapeutic Yoga teachers, Bo Forbes, Amy Weintraub, Timothy McCall, and Kelly McGonigal, among many others.

 

What is the best concert you've ever been to?

Jake Bugg, who is an almost unknown but very gifted and dynamic singer/songwriter from the U.K.

 

Where's the next place you want to travel?

Hawaii!!

 

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Yoga, meditation and pranayama has always been my way to heal, whether it is body, mind or spirit.

 

Share one of your life goals.

To consistently make the goals and choices that will lead me to living the life that I have always dreamed of. To live consciously, simply, and from the heart.

Featured Yogi Of The Month: Suzanne Slocum-Gori

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Suzanne Slocum-Gori is joining the YEG yoga community this Sunday to share "Architecture, Mystery & Radiance within the Subtle Body" at Yogalife Studios South.  In the past few weeks I've been getting to know this woman through emails, reading her website, and chatting with fellow teachers; we are HYPED, to say the least.  She holds a doctorate within Counselling Psychology, a E-RYT 500, Co-Owner of One Yoga for the People Vancouver & the SARA Foundation for Cancer Prevention.  Amazing.

 

Suzanne's teachings encourage students to dissolve barriers & to dance through an intelligent practice in order to create more intimacy with Grace.

 

We simply can't wait!

 


Architecture, Mystery & Radiance within the Subtle Body Sunday, January 18 || 1:30-3:30pm

Click here to register


 

A conversation with Suzanne:

 

How did you get your yogic start?  Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

 

A memorable jump into yoga was when I was living in Boston and completing my Master’s Degree . I was a marathon runner. One of my running buddy’s mother recommended I attend a ‘breathing’ (pranayama) and restorative class with her. She took me to an Iyengar instructor where we primarily focused on witnessing & feeling our natural breath, developing a steady Ujjai and relaxing our muscular-skeletal system. All I can remember is I left the class feeling as if I was walking on a different planet embedded with a new atmospheric system. I was so heavily rooted yet incredibly buoyant. My senses were awakened to a point I felt I was smelling, tasting, seeing and experiencing myself and the elegance around me for the first time. I dove into the practices of yoga and all of its components from that day on.

 

Share a favourite teaching that inspires you.

 

One of my favourite teachings is to ‘look for the good or magic ~ in every situation’. We will find it if you look long and deep enough. Applying this motto requires a triggering of our cognitive functioning, and the rippled effects are immediate, soothing, uplifting and permeate into the physiological and emotional layers. An additional teaching that changed my life: ‘you need to ask in order to receive’. Our needs and longings are more likely to be nourished (satisfied) when we send out a request, prayer or intention. My little piece of advice when you send a request: be very specific.

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

 

There are too many favourite books to list…I am officially a book junky. Here are a few that have been in my hand in the last month:

- Avatar: The Last Airbender (Book Series) - Gene Luen Yang

- The Power of Myths - Joseph Campbell

- Bless the Space between Us - John O Donohue

- Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine - Dr. David Frawley

- Anghora - Dr. Robert Svoboda

- The Sacred Path of a Warrior - Chogyam Trungpa

- Take your pick of yogic texts: Upanishads, Mahabharata, Shiva Sutras, Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, etc.

 

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

 

I cherish my time in the kitchen. It grounds my family, friends and myself. Preparing food creates an internal and collective cohesion. When the kids and our family unit seem to be scattered, stressed, dense or sad, I immediately pour a focused and loving attention into a curry…usually one that includes tumeric, cumin, mustard & cardamon seeds, ginger, cinnamon and coconut oil & milk. My curries most often utilize lentils or moong beans, served with squash, kale and quinoa (or rice). The mixture of ingredients slowly (at a low heat) metamorphose into aromas which provide a deep anchoring in our beings. The nourishing food enters our systems ~ creating an ignition of our innate fire and energetic centre points, which ultimately cultivate an internal magnetic force, a feeling of 'wholesomeness' and a cohesion of all of our fragmented parts. The element associated with smell (or our nose) is ‘EARTH’. The earth element is stable and medicinal, but is also incredibly rich with diversity and strength. Therefore, the aromas bring forth an abundant amount of sensation to experience from a deeply rooted & cohesive stance. The kitchen also serves as a fire place….a space for family and friends to gather and tell stories. This process often stimulates the power of healing, synthesis and even ancestry. Fire is a ceremonial element, inviting alchemy and transformation. The kitchen is my fire ground.

 

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

 

My practice prioritizes attention into my legs, hips and pelvis on a daily basis. I open and strengthen my thighs, hamstrings and hips. Mobility of my femur bones allows me to clear the pelvis, (specifically a widening of the pelvis) leading to more freedom in my low back and additional power to broaden my chest and heart. I couple this with a strengthening and activation of pelvic floor and deep core muscles with the aim of directing an energetic force up my center line (as I internalize a divine flame (or deity) rising up to the sacred space of my heart). I find these practices can be incredibly purifying as they tend to assist in eliminating energetic debris, toxins or emotional blockages and ultimately assist in healing wounds. As our channels are cleansed, prana and awareness flow more freely filling in imprints with sprinkles of the most important ingredient of all - LOVE (i.e., bliss).

 

Who inspires you?

 

My mother has been the most inspiring being for me. Her ability to serve others and emanate compassion in a reliable and consistent manner is extraordinary. Her energetic system must be incredibly strong in order to hold and direct the amount of light that she does so gracefully. Light is a refined force which vibrates at a high frequency, and my mother exudes this medium as her primary pulse. Yes - she oscillates, as all humans do, but she never grasps on to any of the various energies moving through her. She always traverses back to the middle path, serving out abundant amount of

 

Love.

 


www.suzannefaith.com


 

Featured Yogi of the Month: Emily McNicoll

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"Monthly pedicures, good food, frequent body work, and a daily meditation practice are some of the ways I integrate love and self care in my life. All of these things are a reminder that I am worth taking the time to pause, slow down, and work toward feeling at peace in my own skin." 


Featured Yogi of the Month: Emily McNicoll


Meet Emily McNicoll, Yogalife Studios family member since day one.  You can find her at both studios facilitating drop-in and registered classes as well as workshops.  Her next offering, Restorative & Sound Healing, is coming up this weekend at Yogalife Studios South; November 29th from 2:30-5.  Learn more about the workshop and register here.

 

Emily teaches prenatal and hatha yoga at both studios, enjoy one of her regular classes:

Yogalife Studios North || Monday 530pm hatha, 7pm prenatal; Tuesday 930am hatha

Yogalife Studios South || Wednesday/Thursday 930 hatha, Saturday 930am hatha, 11am prenatal

 

Emily, thank you for sharing!

 


Perfectionism used to drive my self study. Which, in truth means the way I looked at myself was through the eyes of fear. I was never good enough. My inner critic was loud, destructive, and mean.

Now, after a lot of guidance from amazing teachers, a willingness to take a good look at myself, and a good dose of faith, I see through the eyes of love. My heart cherishes the parts of me that I believe to be imperfect and recognizes them as wonderfully unique, beautiful, and the very places from which I can grow. A kindness, understanding, and compassion toward myself has allowed the edges of my heart to soften and ultimately the perfectionist morphed into a woman who practices self acceptance.

Self acceptance and self care go hand in hand. When I take time for myself and really listen to what I need every day, I am saying to myself: "I love you, you are worthy of care, you are enough." I also believe one of the ways we can show the people closest to us that we love them is to take wonderful care of ourselves. When we do, our family and friends can watch us blossom and grow.

To grow will take work. As expansion happens so will struggle and growing pains. As I learn to love myself through the growing pains and dust off my knees when I've fallen to them I inevitably teach from those places. When I speak with a light heart and sense of humour about my own struggles, students relate. May my willingness to love myself through the light and the shadows encourage my students to do the same. May my work be of service to them.

Namaste.

 

 


What are my favourite books?

"The Way of the Happy Woman." By Sara Avant Stover. The author wonderfully explains how each week of a woman's cycle correlates to each season. She offers great meditations, recipes, self care practices, and yoga sequences that I can embody seasonally. Her offering through the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yoga, and Ayurveda encourages me to eat, practice, and live in harmony with the seasons and therefore the cycles of my own body.

"A Painted House." By John Grisham. A wonderful story told through the perspective of a seven year old boy growing up of a farm. I've read this book five or six times and always come back to it on the cold days I want to curl up with a tea and get lost in adventure.

 

What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

I've been teaching prenatal yoga for over four years. One of the most memorable experiences I had as a teacher was seeing a new born child of one of my students. She had been coming to class before she even had a baby bump. To watch her grow, shift, and move toward motherhood was incredible. I'll never forget the day she walked into YogaLife carrying her new baby. Goosebumps covered my body and I just kept saying to the sweet little girl "you've been here before, you were just inside! I'm your yoga teacher." To know that I play a role in helping women through big changes in their lives is a humbling gift.

 

What is your favourite pose/body part/sequence to work on?

My practice right now is best described as "Occupy Armpit" and it makes me laugh. Obviously a spin on the Occupy movements that were happening all over the world, it is about revolution. My chest, armpits, and shoulders are asking for movement and freedom as I sink deeper into seeing myself and the world through the eyes of my heart. Active back bends like wheel, camel, and cobra are feeling great. So is anything where my hips and armpits move in opposing directions like triangle, side angle, and half way lift. I have always embraced the medicine of yin and restorative yoga. I'm loving resting with a block between my shoulder blades and relaxing with my arms at different angles. The nurturing aspect of restorative yoga is bringing liberation into the more active poses I mentioned above.

 

What is my favourite festival to attend?

I have to say the time I look forward to the most in Edmonton is the Edmonton Folk Festival. There is always a wonderful gathering of friends I don't often see and an explosion of artistic expression. I love the ease of the festival and the positive attitudes of the people I encounter there. The music is diverse, the love is free, and the beer is cold. What more could I ask for?

 

What is my favourite place to travel?

Oh, a tough choice indeed. I love to travel and every place I've been has offered something unique and charming. So far though, I'd say Bali has my heart. The sea is my medicine and Bali's beaches are beautiful. What is most endearing to me about the Balinese is the simple way in which they live. Food, family, and faith is at the forefront of their culture and I feel at home there.

 

 


Featured Yogi: Courtney Kennett

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Thank you to Laurie Jensen Photography for the beautiful photos featured in this piece. www.lauriekjensen.com

We are incredibly grateful to have Courtney on the team at Yogalife Studios.  Read on to learn about this YEG yogi and be sure to check out one her classes!

 


Featured Yogi: Courtney Kennett


This month Yogalife has decided to focus on the topic of Self-Love & how to incorporate Yoga as a Healing Practise. I feel honoured to contribute to such a near & dear topic to my heart, and I will do my best to present my thoughts in a truthful and sincere manner.

For years (and even to this day) I struggle with that constant battle of negative self talk & the never ending strive for "perfection". Although it is a positive thing to set goals & to be productive, this can also be a very slippery slope that can result in a damaging outcome. But how do we draw the line? And how do we Love ourselves even if we aren't quite where we want to be? These were questions I asked myself for years & after submersing myself in the true roots of Yoga I have finally been able to show gratitude, love & positivity towards myself!

 

Below are a few things I have learnt that have helped transform my perspective on practising Yoga.

 

1. Rather than thinking of Yoga as a way to "burn calories & workout" I started looking at it as a healing modality... It's became a time for me to disconnect from my worldly commitments/distractions & an opportunity for me to focus on my journey towards becoming a calmer, kinder, patient individual.

 

2. Instead of letting my mind wander towards envy of the girl with the "flat abs & perfect head stand", I've learnt to set a personal intention & create an individual Mantra every time I step onto my mat. If my thoughts start to shift in a negative direction I gently remind myself of my Mantra " I AM BEAUTIFUL & I AM ON MY JOURNEY TO BECOMING MY BEST SELF".

 

3. Speaking of Journey, I often tell my students "It is called Yoga PRACTISE, not Yoga PERFECT". As a result, we must realize that teachers do not expect us to be perfect or to never fall out of a pose... And if they do, then please find another instructor lol ;) I purposely try to fall in class & make a fool of myself when I teach, just to show my students that it's ok to slip up & struggle at times (it makes us human).

 

4. Lastly, I encourage everyone on their Journey to take what they've learnt in class & start applying it throughout their day. For instance, if I learn about a new Pranyama (breathing technique) to calm my mind, then I try to use it when I feel agitated, nervous or hard on myself.

 

Yoga is an amazing tool we can all use on our "Journey To Self-Healing".

 

 


Here's a little bit more about Courtney


Q: What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

A: Music plays an integral part in my yoga practise & the mantras chanted or sung truly affect my soul. I connect a lot to Deva Premal & Nirijan Kaur.

 

Q: Where's the next place you want to travel?

A: My husband & I are going on one more "just us trip" before our little Yogi baby arrives. It is one of my FAVOURITE places... Waikiki in Oahu!!!

 

Q: Share one of your life goals.

A: My life goal is to be a "Supermom"... To inspire, motivate, encourage & support my children in any stage of their lives. I know there will be days when I fall & fail, but I truly believe that all mother's plays a divine role in the nurturing, rearing & shaping their children's lives for the better. I acknowledge any mother that has been and that is yet to come... You are all "supermom's" in my eyes!

 

Namaste Courtney

Featured Yogi: Jana Renee Roemer

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Jana basking in the yoga space at her last Gaiatri 200 Teacher Training in Golden, BC.



Featured Yogi: Jana Renee Roemer


Jana is no stranger to the Edmonton Yoga community, or the yoga community in general. Since moving to LA last year, she's been back for workshops, events, and to run the recent Gaiatri teacher training alongside Sarah Zandbeek and Emily McNicoll.  Jana is an important teacher and mentor to a lot of us in the city and beyond... enjoy getting to know her and definitely catch her when she's back in YEG!

  How did you get your yogic start?

If I'm really honest, my mom is a yogini in disguise, so much that she didn't even know that yoga is a thing until I started digging into the practice. The yogic lifestyle and many of the philosophies are just the way she is, as was her mother and probably the reason I chose her as my mom! So my start down this path was embedded into the way that I was raised. If I look back, I see I meditated Krishnamurti-style, open-eyed presence from a super young age, although, I definitely didn't label it as such and no one taught it to me. It's something I naturally did growing up on an acreage, in nature, with a LOT of time alone.

I was first introduced to yoga philosophy while attending the University of Saskatchewan in 2001. That started a deep dive into the Spiritual realms & contemplative philosophy. It took me another three years before ever stepping on my mat.

  Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

I was fresh out of University and super poor. My mom bought me a gym membership at the Talisman centre in Calgary, but I didn't have running shoes. My roommate at the time suggested that I come to a yoga class with her that was included in the membership. The teacher was Trevor Yelich, we did handstands that first class & I've been hooked ever since!

  Tell us about your first teacher training.

My first teacher training was with Gaiatri Yoga. My teachers were Trevor Yelich (my first teacher) & Ally Bogard, who has also served as a powerful mentor in my life. I had recently moved to Edmonton, broken my back in a snow boarding accident and was craving an alignment based practice in order to help me heal. The teachers I had found in Edmonton were great, but not addressing alignment with the refined details I had grown accustomed to while practicing in Calgary with Ally & Trev. I actually didn't start the course to be a teacher, I enrolled in the course hoping to understand alignment within the practice so I could take charge of my own healing process. As the course went on, it became so obvious that this is my calling. Not only to teach yoga, but to work at the same depth that we traversed through the teacher training. It literally completely transformed my life. I actually started my second teacher training before even finishing my first! I wanted to learn everything I could from as many different perspectives I could find!!  

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

That's a tough one. There are so many magical places on this planet. I'm currently living 100 steps away from the sand of Venice Beach, California and am feeling quite spoiled as I type this from my home & can hear the ocean crashing. Now that I live in Venice, I crave Canada in a big way, so heading home is an appealing vacation destination. I'm only days away from heading back to Black Rock City, Nevada which is a temporary city that is completely built & taken apart, all within a month. It's quite simply one if the most magical places I've ever visited.

When I was 21, backpacking through Australia with one of my best friends, we decided that since we get to choose where we live, why wouldn't we live in a place were people go on vacation? If we can choose how we live our lives, why wouldn't we choose to live life like we were on vacation? Wouldn't that make for a good life?!?! I feel like I've done a fairly decent job of making that my reality. Since stepping away from my 'real' job and committing to this path, I've never felt like I have a job. I live fully and embody my passion and any time I am 'working' its truly just an extension of my life and an experience of 'following my bliss.' Because of that, I don't feel like I even need vacations anymore. Life just is one!

  What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

Anything crazy awesome healthy in my vitamix. Chaga & reishi tea. Fresh organic veggies & fruit.

  What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

Too many to choose just one. I fall so deeply in love with everyone in the teacher trainings & retreats that I run. It's such precious work. I adore Humans, especially the ones that allow themselves to get vulnerable with me. To witness the unfolding that happens in the framework of yoga teacher training is a Divine gift. It brings me to my knees! Talk about Sacred space. Woah!

  Who inspires you?

YOU!!

  What is your favourite festival to attend?

Burningman. Obviously.

  If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

God. I much prefer going straight to Source.

 

  Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Loving myself through nourishment of ALL kinds. Whole organic foods, Kangen or spring water, meditation, breathing, movement, inspiring relationships, true romantic love, spending time alone, kind & loving thoughts toward myself, forgiveness, gratitude.

  Share one of your life goals.

My biggest life goal is to lead as many Humans as possible to the unlimited supply of Self Love that lives deep inside themselves. The more people we have in this world truly, madly, deeply in love with themSelves, the better place this will be. When I'm 100, I want to look back & know I made a difference in this world.

  Where's the next place you want to travel?

I've actually been traveling non-stop since 2004. Right now, I just want to be still. Stay home, love my husband and prepare my home for this little baby we're about to welcome earthside. First, Black Rock City, then Joshua Tree for a 10-day silent meditation retreat, then stillness. We're planning a retreat in Mexico in February 2015... Stay tuned for details!

I LOVE YOU!!

 

To find more of Jana, check out:

JanaRoemer.com Jana's Blog Instagram - @jana_roemer Facebook - Jana Roemer Twitter - @jana_roemer

Featured Yogi of the Month: Sara Cueva

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  If you've taken a class with Sara (or even overheard her giggling in the tea lounge), you know that she really is something special. Dedicated to sharing love and light, this yogi is bursting with both. Sara has a playful love of arm balances and inversions and has lead various workshops in this area at Yogalife Studios.

 

Catch her in her regular classes Tuesday 9am south, Wednesday 6:30pm south, Thursday 9am and noon south, Friday 9am and noon north, Sunday 9am and noon south (all hot flow!)

 

Featured Yogi of the Month: Sara Cueva

How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it? I was on facebook one day, and saw that a co-worker of mine had posted that she was going to try out this "hot yoga thing", curious about yoga, I asked if I could join. A few more co-workers jumped on the bandwagon, and the next day we all showed up at Yogalife South. It was a hot flow, and I, not knowing any better, showed up in pants and a long sleeved shirt. Needless to say, I spent a good hour after class laying across the benches in the ladies changeroom, begging my legs to work long enough to get me to my car. I was instantly hooked. After a short period of time, I started to discover that there was much more to this practice than the physical benefits.

 

Share one of your favourite quotes:

 

One of my favourite quotes that I teach from regularly is "If having things turn out the way you planned is the measure of a successful life, then some would call me a failure. What's important is not to be bitter over life's 'disappointments'. Understand that not every day can be sunny. So when you find yourself in darkness and despair, remember that it's only in the dark of night that you can see the stars, and those stars will lead you home. So don't be afraid to make mistakes, stumble, and fall down, because most of the time the greatest rewards come from doing what scares you the most. Maybe you'll get everything you wish for, maybe you'll get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life will take you. The road is long and in the end, the journey is the destination" OTH.

 

Favourite music to teach and practice to:

 

If you've ever been to my class, you know I'm all over the board when it comes to music. Any given playlist on any given day will move from Green Day, to Sarah McLaughlin, Nirvana to Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. But every playlist will always contain a little Bob Marley!

Favourite books - I read a lot of books, but recently read "Yoga for a world out of balance" by Michael Stone and would highly recommend it for everyone! It is a very powerful book that applies yogic philosophy to our world today.

 

Tell us about your first teacher training:

 

My first teacher training was with Clare Newman. Words will never be able to adequately articulate the profound affect that the training had on my life. Suffice it to say, it changed my life. It opened my eyes, my heart, my mind to a realm of possibilities that had once been unfathomable to me. It brought me to where I am today, living a life of utter contentment. I say everyday I love my life, and mean it wholeheartedly every time I say it.

 

Favourite Vacation spot:

 

I love Maui. There is something so serene about the island. However, last year I took a trip to Thailand with my mother, and if only because I had the opportunity to spend 10 days sharing space with her, I think it may always be my most favourite holiday.

 

Next place to travel 

 

The next place I would like to travel? I'm going to Mexico in July, Camping in Alberta in August, Canoeing the North Saskatchewan in September, and have plans for Costa Rica in October, Okotoks in December, Maui in February, Canmore in March, and Belize in April. The world was meant to be seen. Spread the love everywhere you go!!!

 

 

Favourite pose/sequence/area of body

 

Inversions are my favourite poses to work with. I fell in love with arm balances early in my practice. I've always adopted a playful approach to them, bringing out that innocence of play, that freedom to explore and try new things. Learning to overcome the fear of arm balances inspired such a positive change in my life, off of my mat. I love teaching arm balances because I love that moment of clarity, of courage, of light, in a students face when they overcome their fear, when they discover that openness to trying something new and scary, and that victory smile when they realize that they can prevail!

 

Who inspires you?

 

My children are my inspiration. I teach based on the things that are happening in my life, and in the lives of the people around me, as I believe that this authenticity really resonates with students, because when that happens, there's that recognition that we are all going through it together. My children inspire a lot of the talks that I have with my students inside and outside of class. It is their willingness to be open, to innocence, to playfulness, to courage, to resilience, to surrender, to make mistakes, to try again, to laugh until their tummies hurt, to live in the flow of the moment, to love with all their hearts that inspires me, and by sharing that with others, I hope they will too be inspired.

 

Favourite festival to attend:

 

I love festivals. I attend them as often as I can! In July you'll find me at Street Performers, A Taste of Edmonton, and KDays. I'm really looking forward to the Fringe Festival (where sometimes you can find fellow Yogalifer Vlady Peychoff performing), and Heritage Days because the food is amazing, and I love the way our community pours out to celebrate the many cultures of Edmonton!

 

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

 

I would love the opportunity to study with Paul Grilley. I respect the intelligent anatomically focus that he brings to the practice of Yoga. Also, Michael Stone as I respect his teachings on modern society. Recently I had the opportunity to study under Matthew Remski, who I would also highly recommend checking out if you have time!

 

Favourite self healing practice:

 

One of my favourite things to do when I need to nourish my soul is to dance with my children. To get so completely connected in the experience, in the moment, to move to the beat of our music, to hear the laughter in their voices and see their smiles stretching ear to ear. We have a ritual of making food together every day, during which time we dance like no one is watching, and share that space and energy together. The meals taste amazing when prepared in this way! It's a simple way to find that lightness in your heart, in your spirit. I encourage everyone to try!

 

Share a life goal:

 

I have found that teaching yoga is my higher purpose. It is that thing that I love to do, that I am most passionate about. I only want to share that with the world. To show people that you can find santosa (contentment) in the every day, and hope that when people can find that, that we can change the world. My goal is to one day teach people how to become teachers, because the more people that are passionate about their lives, the more they live and lead by example, the stronger our community will become for it, until eventually everyone has found santosa. Everyone can find their higher purpose.

 

Know a yogi that we should feature?  Connect with us!  

Featured Yogi Of The Month: Neil Haggard

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This month we caught up with Neil Haggard, Yogalife's resident adventure yogi who has been with us right from the start!  When Neil's not travelling, you can find him leading classes and workshops or riding his bike.  What a perfect ambassador for Bike Month!  Neil is an active cyclist, hiker and climber and is inspired by how Yoga builds strength and flexibility to support and enhance so many outdoor activities.

 

Neil shares a bit about his upcoming Yoga for Summer Athletes workshop, Sunday, June 29 3:30-5pm:

Click here to register!

 


 I am excited to offer this fun yoga workshop to active summer yogis!  Runners, recreational cyclists, walkers and hikers will benefit from an invigorating Yoga Asana practice to build flexibility for hips, hamstrings and develop a strong core!  This workshop will be fun and challenging, for anyone active in summer activities who wish to enhance their fitness, strength, flexibility and knowledge of anatomy!  We will work with breath techniques, experience stress relief and learn ways to develop a deeper sense of health and well-being!  Come and join with other like minded yogis, as you deepen your practice, and give your body the support it needs to continue with the outdoor activities that you love!


How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it? My start in yoga was 17 years ago as a runner with tight hips, hamstrings and a sore back. I found yoga helpful in stretching my body and savasana was so helpful in dealing. I learned to breathe, started cycling and found it really helped me when I was racing road bikes and doing time trials. I had a wonderful Korean senior teacher (Julie Jeong) at the YMCA who inspired me to continue and eventually join the Yoga Association of Alberta where I became a certified YAA teacher. I have been teaching for 11 years and enjoy teaching Hatha, Yin, hot and warm flow, and core to all levels and abilities. I am now an intermediate teacher with the YAA and was one of the original yogis who started with Yogalife a few months before we opened the South studio! I teach morning Hatha on Mondays and 7 pm Foundations and 8:30pm Warm Flow on Thursday evenings as well as various workshops throughout the year (Tibetan Singing bowl meditations, Yoga for Cyclists, Anatomy for Yoga, etc) I am excited to offer a workshop for Summer Athletes on Sunday, June 29 3:30-5pm - a strong, fun practice to enhance all summer activities!!

 

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

There is do, or not do...there is no try - Yoda

 

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence?)

Karunesh (~compassion) has some amazing music to practice with, and I use their music while teaching. Gandalf also has some incredible music for asana and meditation!

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired or fiction.

Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar and Judith Lasater's Living Your Yoga are two favorites

 

Tell us about your first teacher training.

A River Lodge yoga retreat with the Yoga Association of Alberta where we each had to teach 2-3 poses to other teachers. It was incredible how much we learned from each other and the senior teachers.

 

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

Nepal - I lead Yoga & Culture tours and treks to Nepal each year and when I return this October, it will be my 13th time there! I keep a Nepal blog - www.neilinnepal.blogspot.com. I have just returned from nearly a month cycling in Norway (my 4th time there so I guess it is also a fave)

 

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

Seafood and a nice California or Australian wine!

 

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

I actually have 2 favourite asanas - Kapotasana - my piriformus always needs a stretch and Warrior II for strength

 

Who inspires you?

Gandhi and Iyengar

 

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

I breathe, meditate, enjoy stillness and nature while cycling solo Jasper to Lake Louise, which I do for 3-4 days each year! Very restorative. I climb rock, XC ski and Ice climb as well as do some mountaineering which I find meditational to be in the mountains and notice the stillness, clear my mind and enjoy this amazing earth!

 

 

Where's the next place you want to travel?

Central and South America are waiting - Patagonia, Machhu Pichhu, Ecuador!

 

Share one of your life goals.

A life goal would be to move to a country in Asia to live, steep in the culture and become fluent in the language. I plan to fly around the world in 2-3

years!

 

 

Namaste Neil!  Thank you for sharing.  

Featured Yogi Of The Month: Brandon Jacobs

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This month we're sharing a slice of Brandon Jacobs' life.  You can find this guy leading classes, helping with the upcoming Yogalife Studios teacher training, facilitating Warriors of Change and The Art of Yoga and Massage workshops, and writing for our blog.  Whew!  Oh, and he's a massage therapist and was recently published in Elephant Journal.

 

To keep up with Brandon, follow his Facebook page!

 


I was basically pulled in and drawn to come to Yogalife. I had practiced at a couple of different studios in the city, but in all reality, had been searching for a "home." Yogalife has become just that for me.


My normal schedule is:

Mondays - SOUTH STUDIO - 12:00pm Hot Flow, 1:30pm Warm Flow, 5:00pm Hot Flow, 7:00pm Mindful Vinyasa Flow

Saturdays - SOUTH STUDIO - 7:30am Hot Flow, 9:00am Hot Flow, 10:30am Beginner's Hot Flow

 


I have been a part of Yogalife since September 2012. I finished my Teacher Training at Yogalife in August of 2012, and started out writing blogs and helping with the media team. And it eventually transformed into what it is now!



Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

- I have just too any quotes to pick just one. That would be impossible! One of the greatest lessons I learned was from Patrick Creelman. He once said that if you truly want to become innately aware of your body and truly transform it, you need to find teachers who cue very succinctly and precisely, and then do absolutely everything they say, without compromise. This has helped me not only as a practitioner, but also as a teacher.

 

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

 

- I practice to a lot of different music, so I definitely cannot pick anything in particular. Mostly electronic, if I had to put it into a genre! I steal a lot of people's music! It's really just anything with a pretty solid beat. I rarely notice words!

 

Biggie or Tupac? haha

 

- Tupac

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.

- Yoga and the Path to the True Self, The Great Work of Your Life, Way of the Superior Man. I would say that those three have influenced me the most.

 

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

 

- It's really anywhere my wife is, but we seem to lead towards Nicaragua.

 

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

 

- Anywhere where good friends are where we can have a real conversation. Without cell phones. If I had to choose food, it would be sushi. Every time.

 

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

 

- Ustrasana (camel) is one of my favorite postures, simply based on the fact that it can be very emotionally opening. I suppose that makes me a bit crazy. I am a sucker for any inversions or arm balances and am constantly in search of new transitions. It's pretty amazing what our bodies are capable of once we figure it out!

 

Who inspires you?

- My mom and dad have always inspired me. Always. I have always looked at my dad as my hero. My wife inspires me to continually just be authentic. She believes in me even when I doubt myself, and it's truly the greatest gift. Her desire to learn anything and everything is something I greatly admire.

 

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

 

- Honestly, it's just yoga. Yoga is what has always helped me to heal and it continues to do so. It's my calm in any storm. It is one place where I can shut off everything and just breathe. I can't remember the last time I practiced and noticed much of anything besides my own mat and sweat.

 

Share one of your life goals.

- I simply just want to leave some sort of legacy. I understand that isn't necessarily "simple" but I believe that we all have the power to affect some sort of change. That we can help and influence people, even when we don't think people are listening or watching. We don't ever really know the ripple effect we may put into motion by the way we act, the words we say, or the thoughts we consciously or unconsciously think. I don't know where or what this legacy looks like, and it's not something I will "try" to do. I just think that by being real, honest, authentic, and loving, that I am somehow capable to doing that.

 

Do you have a favourite teacher you'd like to see featured on here?  Let us know at info@yogalifestudios.ca or connect with us on Facebook!

Featured Yogi Of The Month: Maya Japa Kaur

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If you've had the pleasure of meeting and practicing with Maya Japa Kaur then you know she is just that: a pleasure.  She is the co-visionary of YEG Bloom, a project where intention and action meet to create the space for inspired potential.  You can find her sprinkled around town, sharing her passion for yoga, intention, love and GOODNESS! 


 

How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

Kundalini Yoga 2002. Did seva work in exchange for my TT and started subbing by 2004.

Angelica Sarkisyan brought me to my first yoga class, “Free Yoga in the Park” at Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles. Was the best tuesday morning of my life. Yoga and Hike.

 

Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.

“Patience Pays” By Yogi Bhajan

 

What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)

Any dub remix of hit or indie songs is best for asana practice and Aykanna is perfect for Kriya meditaion practice.

 

Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction?

“The 40 Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak, a novel of Rumi. Changed my life.

 

Tell us about your first teacher training.

Transformational! I did my Kundalini Yoga Level 1 TT and I came out the other end amplified and connected to self in a way unfamiliar to my

old self. WOW.

 

Where's your favourite vacation spot?

Tulum, Mexico

 

What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?

Mexican Quesadillas and guacamole. “TASTE"

 

What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?

Witnessing her quit her job, dump the chump and travel to India with me and now living her dream and teaching yoga.

 

What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?

#BackBends!! more of a love/hate relationship ;)

 

Who inspires you?

My powerhouse girlfriends on the internet and in 3D. Gabrielle Bernstein, Danielle LaPorte, Jacki Carr and Ashly Albrand. AND my life partner, Robindra. Who on the daily inspires me to be a better, joyous and compassionate being of light.

 

What is your favourite festival to attend?

Topanga Days Festival. Everyone comes together and sets on the lawn and watches the community put on a wicked show.

 

If you could study with one person who would it be and why?

Paramahansa Yogananda. Read “Autobiography of a Yogi” and you’ll understand why ;)

 

What is the best concert you've ever been to?

Bjork at the Hollywood bowl VIP baby. #Besssht

 

Share your favourite self-healing practice.

Meditation! Heal the mind and you heal the body.

 

Share one of your life goals.

Move to Sevilla, Spain and open up a Yoga Studio Co-op. 10 Year Goal. #CrushingIT

 

Where's the next place you want to travel?

Bail or Peru. They are both ringing in LOUD.

 

Biggie or Tupac? hah

Tupac. LA homie.

 

Namaste Myrah!

Featured Yogi of the Month: Suzi Bird

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This month we are featuring one of our very own Yogalifers, Suzi Bird.  You can check out her full bio here AND catch her at both our North and South studios weekly.  

Below she answers a variety of questions, both silly and soulful.  Namaste Suzi!


 I found Yogalife Studios because long time friend Sara Cueva found it and introduced me shortly after she started practicing there when it opened. I teach Tuesday and Thursday nights at south 8 and 9:30 and sunday mornings 9 and noon at north.  I've been at Yogalife for just under a year and have been with them solely because I just love everyone so much :) - Suzi

How did you get your yogic start? Who brought you to your first class, what was that like, and where was it?

My brother took my to my first real yoga class when he was living in Vancouver, it was a brand new hot yoga place. It just about killed me, but I felt so good after I had to go back the next day, and the day after, and the day after..........
Share a favourite quote, lesson, or teaching that inspires you.
If you're doing it right, it never gets easier.
What's your favourite music to practice to (or do you prefer silence!?)
I love listening to really uplifting music, stuff that just brings a smile to my face and makes me want to throw my hands in the air.  I listen to a lot of Faul, Xavier Rudd, DJ Drez.  I also like anything with a good sexy beat to it, Dr Toast, various house music and whatever else comes my way from Bastille to Ed Sheeran.
Your favourite books, yogi-inspired and fiction.
I love Jodi Picoult books.  My favourite yogi book is The Tree of Yoga by BKS Iyengar
Tell us about your first teacher training.
My first teacher training I lived in a tent in the desert next to the ocean.  It was 30 degrees during the day and 5 at night, it had some of the best food I have ever tasted in my life and there was a rattlesnake living under my tent!
Where's your favourite vacation spot?
My heart belongs to Chaig Mai Thailand
What is your favourite meal to make and share with friends?
I love to cook, anything, everything, for everybody.  My specialty is ribs or stuffed chicken.
Biggie or Tupac? haha
Tupac
What's the coolest experience you've ever had with a student?
When I first started teaching I had a karma class where only one student showed up.  I was really nervous but the one on one really showed me how much I really knew and we were able to laugh and have a lot of fun together for the hour.
What's your favourite pose/sequence/area of the body to work on?
As much as I hate working on hips and hamstrings it's where I need the most work, so I see the progress very clearly and it always feel like an accomplishment, even for the tiniest improvements.
Who inspires you?
My mom
What is your favourite festival to attend?
I have only been to Folk Fest, and that was only once.  I have always wanted to go to Wanderlust.
If you could study with one person who would it be and why?
I would love to spend more time with Meghan Currie.  She is just so free and playful and loveable she reminds me that I always need to live my life with child like abandon
What is the best concert you've ever been to?
New kids on the block.  I'm not even lying
Share your favourite self-healing practice.
A cup of tea, puppy kisses and a good book can always make any day feel better, but my mat is always there when I need it.  A soulful heart opening practice to some of my favourite tunes will always set me free
Where's the next place you want to travel?
The next place I would like to go is either Cuba or Argentina.
Share one of your life goals.
I would like to do the splits some day.  As a kid I always wanted to, and as an adult I can now see how to get there.

Featured Yogi of the Month: Krishnamacharya

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It's time for a little history lesson as we highlight the life and work of the man referred to as "the father of modern yoga", Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. Credited with the revival of hatha yoga and the constructor of vinyasa (combining breath with movement), Krishnamacharya is one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century.


As you deepen into the origins and philosophy of yoga it is likely you may become a bit obsessed with Krishnamacharya.  Not only could he stop his own heartbeat (a real crowd favourite), but he held degrees in all six darśanas, or Indian philosophies.  What may resonate most with yogis is his underlying principle of teaching:

 


“Teach what is appropriate for an individual.”


Although known worldwide for his contributions as a yogi, Krishnamacharya was known in India mainly as a healer.  He combined knowledge from Ayurvedic and yogic traditions with the common goal of restoring health and wellness.  He travelled around India promoting yoga through demonstrations and transferring knowledge through lectures.  Through all of his teachings, Krishnamacharya held true to his philosophy of making the practice unique  and accessible for the student's capacity.

 

 

Some of Krishnamacharya's students include B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois, two of the most renowned and influential teachers in the world. Let that sink in... he taught the some of the world's best teachers!  These guys invented this stuff.


It is amazing to be connected to the history of this practice, regardless of where you're at in your yoga journey.


Stay tuned for more featured yogis.  Our goal is to educate you on those who inspire us, whether they hail from India, L.A. or YEG.  Namaste!