edmonton yogi

Featured Yogi of the Month: Emily McNicoll


"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.




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.



Brandon's Final Words


Brandon's final classes were today, Saturday, August 16, 2014. He felt compelled to write one last thank-you to the Yogalife community.




I am thankful that Yogalife was the very first studio that I was able to teach at. It’s actually the only studio I have taught at so far. I am thankful that a chance was taken on me, even though I was very early in my teaching career. I am thankful for you, all of the students, who have generously allowed me to guide you, share with you, and grow with you. Even share a quote or two. I am thankful for all of the knowledge I have gained over the past two years.


I am thankful for all of your support.


For attending my classes so diligently. For following me to the North Studio when I would teach there. For coming to my Warriors of Change and Art of Massage Workshops. For joining my wife and I in Nicaragua.


I am thankful for your trust.


Thank you for trusting me enough to feel as though I had something to offer you. My hope is that I have helped even one of you in your journey through yoga and life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be even a small part in all of it.

I poured my heart and soul into this studio and everything I was involved in, and I promise to continue to do that for the yoga community.

If you want to connect with me, or find out where I end up and what I am up to, please follow me on Facebook at Brandon Jacobs Yoga.


“Letting go and moving on means to come to the realization that some people and some places are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”

Highest Regards,




Brittany's Final Words


Brittany's final classes at Yogalife Studios Edmonton were on Sunday August 10, 2014. She wished to say a few words as her parting gift to the Yogalife community.


Yogalife was one of the first studios that welcomed me in my infancy as a yoga teacher. I was so willing and excited to play a role in the growing community and taught a lot that first summer. So much has shifted since I began teaching at the studio over 3 years ago. Not only have I witnessed the growth of the community and studentship at Yogalife, but within our city as a whole.


We are truly so lucky to have such committed students and teachers of this practice just within our beloved Edmonton. 


I’ve been lucky enough to have had such fun, inspired and lively people in my classes at Yogalife. It would not have been such a memorable and enriching experience if not for the students. From putting holes in the walls in Power Upside Down to bringing us chocolate covered bacon, or even giving me (the yogi on the bus) a lift to the train after class. I’ve laughed so hard, felt so loved, so appreciated and so very inspired by everyone I’ve had the privilege of meeting in my time here.


Teaching the Tuesday night hot flow class has become one of my favourite teaching memories.


That class was truly unique from week to week, and I always loved showing up to that class knowing you would be making wild animal sounds, dancing in the dark, doing ridiculous amounts of core and purely delighting in your practices. I always felt uplifted after teaching that class, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Thank you for allowing me to be but a small piece of your practice these last few years. Words are not even close to being able to express the love I feel for this community. If you would like to reconnect, please follow my Facebook page, Yogi on the Bus.


I whole heartedly welcome the notion of crossing paths with each of you again one day. 


In Love and High Spirit,



Featured Yogi of the Month: Sara Cueva


  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!