yeg yoga

5 reasons to get your kid(s) into yoga

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edmonton kids yoga Yoga is for everyone, which is why we are so excited to offer a five day teen yoga camp from July 27-31. Join Nicole from Blue Mango Children’s Yoga for a week of yoga movements, discussions on anatomy, visualization, journaling, jewelry making, smoothing drinking, art creating, and most importantly, laughing out loud with new friends.

This camp is designed for youth aged 10-15. This camp will teach you about body image, safe risk taking, trust in self and one another, strengthening courage, goal planning and the art of dreaming big.

 


“Yoga totally transformed me, and I just want to pay it forward and speak to the youth in a way they are going to understand.”

- MC Yogi on why he is a firm believer of spreading yoga to children


    edmonton kids yoga

 

Here's our top 5 reasons for getting children involved in this amazing journey:

 

1. Improves concentration: When your child gets used to the physical practice (asana or poses), they automatically improve their concentration skills. Your child learns how to sit still in one place and focus on what’s important as opposed to letting their mind wander and be distracted easily. This will help them at school, concentrate better, and achieve better grades.

 

2. Increases flexibility and balance: Yoga helps improve flexibility and balance and tones their muscles too. It makes them stronger and less likely to suffer sprains and fractures through accidental falls.

 

3. Improves general well-being: Kids who practice yoga regularly feel good about themselves and are healthier and happier than those who don’t. They feel both mentally and physically rejuvenated after a yoga session and this improves their mental and physical health.

 

4. Boosts confidence: When your child is able to display great agility and flexibility, it does wonders for their confidence. Their improved performance at school also helps boost their popularity and their self assurance. They become more poised and start to believe in their abilities. This feeling provides them with the adrenaline they need to achieve success in all their endeavours.

 

5. Relaxes their minds: Even kids are subject to a great deal of stress these days because of their workload at school and the high expectations that their parents/teachers have for them. They are pushed to be achievers at every single point of their lives, and when they fail, they take it to heart and become depressed. Yoga helps them relax and de-stress when they feel upset or depressed. It soothes their frayed minds and helps them get back to a normal mental state.

 

Kids are more flexible and agile than adults, so the earlier you get kids started on to yoga, the more benefits they gain.

 

About Nicole:

Nicole is passionate about teaching yoga to children/teens and cultivating play with in her classes. She has been working with young children in various capacities for ten years. With her extensive knowledge in early childhood development and her passion for yoga, her classes are educational, active, fun and relaxing. Nicole has indepth training with Next Generation Yoga and Yoga In My School and is currently working towards her Registered Children's Yoga Teacher credentials (RCYT). Nicole loves teaching yoga to children as much as she loves learning from her curious students.

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Yogalife Studios North | Nicole Owczarczyk July 27- July 31: 1:00- 4:00 pm Ages 10-15 $165 for 1 yogi and $300 for 2 Register Here!


Core Cleanse with Sarah Zandbeek

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The following post comes from Sarah Zandbeek, our friendly neighbourhood yogi, acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine magician.  Join Sarah this weekend for Core Cleanse, a two part-offering involving conversation and asana to understand and cleanse your digestive system more deeply.

 


Digestion, the actual breaking down of a whole into its parts so that the pure can be extracted and incorporated into the body and the impure can be expelled.

 


 

We tend to think of digestion as a physical act of our food being broken down and made into usable energy (ATP) for the body, which it is; however, we tend to forget that we are digesting everything all the time.  We digest emotions, reactions, life events, basically anything that is brought in to the body from the external and is internalized needs to be digested.

 

When we don’t slow down enough to allow the body to shift into our parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest, we not only literally put our active food digestive system to halt, we don’t digest life’s events either, both of which get stored in the body in different ways, shapes, and forms, eventually bunging the body up and cause a reaction.

 

Typically IBS, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, indigestion, epigastric discomfort, etc are our digestive tract issues; emotionally we see a restless or dull mind, anxiety, and even depression from lack of glucose able to go to the brain.

 

How to cure digestive woes? It is a life style.  It is NOT a momentary diet, though these can be helpful to get the digestive system back on track.  If we want to truly nourish our health, it is through our food and it is over our entire life span from the moment we choose to be healthy to the moment we pass on.

 

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It is healthy living, it is choosing to love yourself so much that you only want to put good things into your temple/vessel/body.

 

People change their diets when they are pregnant so that the baby has a chance to come out healthy, but why do we ourselves not want to be healthy?  Marketing?  Corporations tell us otherwise?  If you are truly wanting to uplift your digestion, you must uplift your Self first, so  eating healthy comes from a place of truth and yearning for well being, not from a place that wants to be skinny so that other people will think you are perfect.

 

It is meditating so your mind is clear and free of desire, it is avoiding rag mags, tv, and general advertising that makes you think you need to be anything more than your truest self.

 

At the core of your being, you want to live a fruitful, healthy, happy life and I can guarantee you, that truth does not say ” I want McDonald’s.”

 

Amen, Namaste, Om Sarah Z

 


CORE CLEANSE:

The Conversation || Saturday, January 31 || 2:30pm The Practice || Sunday, February 2 || 3:30pm register here


Mommy & Me

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The morning sickness, achy lower back, and fatigue of pregnancy have passed. But for new mamas, a whole other different set of physical conditions often accompanies the bliss of loving your little creation. Luckily, yoga can help address the most common concerns after having your little one. And moms aren't the only ones who can benefit from yoga; a few basic moves for the wee one can make your infant more comfortable and calm.

 


Mommy & Me with Dawn McCorry Yogalife Studios South || January 12-February 23, 1:30-2:30, register here Yogalife Studios North || January 14-February 18, 1:15-2:15, register here


 

Kari Edwards at MindBodyGreen offers these tips for new yogi mamas:

 

1. Focus on breathing.

In the first few weeks after birth your body needs time to recover so the best thing you can do is put your asana practice aside and focus on pranayama and meditation. When you're feeding your baby or in need of a boost after a long sleepless night, practice breathing deep into your belly long and slow through your nose.

Close your eyes and focus on the feeling of the breath as it moves in and out of your body. Even if you only manage one deep breath, your body and mind will thank you. Do this as often as you need throughout the day and it will help focus and calm your mind and enjoy these special early moments.

 

2. Ease into your practice with forward bends.

Provided you are recovering well and had a normal birth, beginning to include a few forward bends around two weeks or so post birth can help to compress your belly and aid in returning your uterus to its pre-pregnancy position. Check with your midwife if it's OK before you begin.

Sit with your legs together straight out in front of you. (You can lie your baby on your legs or beside you if you wish.) Bend forward from the hips, remembering not to push yourself, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths here.

 

3. Before you begin to include asana in your daily yoga practice, wait until six weeks postnatal or until you have the OK from your doctor or midwife.

If your baby allows you to put her down, you can begin with a few rounds (or just one round) of Sun Salutations to get your body moving and stretching again. Include chest and shoulder stretches such as eagle arms to stretch out a sore back from holding the baby and nursing. If your baby just needs to be held, you can practice a few gentle lunges or some standing hip rotations while you soothe your baby.

If you are feeling steady, you can include balancing asana like tree pose while you hold your baby but remember to take things slow and not to push yourself.

The key to transitioning from a prenatal to a post natal yoga practice is to take things slow. Listen to what your body needs as it changes and remember that you don’t need to be on the mat for a 60-minute period to benefit from yoga. Little bite-sized bits of yoga in your day will help to keep you calm and centered and to enjoy the many benefits of yoga.

 

 

Foundation Friday || Ujjayi Breath

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  

Find the balance of fierce grace with this essential yogic breath.

 


Foundation Friday || Ujjayi Breath


Ujjayi Breath Pranayama

"Ud" = moving upward, "Jaya" = conquest, victory fire breath, victorious breath, ocean breath

 

“Remember the connection between breath and movement: every movement comes out of breath. Rather than moving with and following the breath, the breath should initiate the movement. Practicing this way, we will be moved by the breath like the autumn wind picking up leaves.”

- Gregor Maehle

 

Ujjayi breath is a pranayama technique that allows you to focus and calm the mind.  Often coupled with asana, this breath will guide you deeper into poses, steady your intention and allow you to experience your yoga more fully.  In your practice, breath is regarded as the teacher; how you move and where you go is paralleled with the rhythm of your breath.  Ujjayi breath is strong, fierce, warming - your pranayamic partner to bring you out of fear, anxiety, or judgement.  Just as the intensity of your practice fluctuates, so does your breath.  You may choose to use this fiery breath throughout your practice, or switch it up with a more gentle nostril breath like sama vritti to adjust the tone of the moment.

* note that Ujjayi pranayama involves breath retention and Ujjayi breath is the steady rhythm, sans retention

 

Benefits of Ujjayi Breath

 

  • increases focus
  • calms the mind
  • builds concentration
  • creates internal heat
  • increases oxygenation
  • tones the lungs
  • facilitates the flow of prana
  • builds energy throughout practice
  • clears toxins
  • creates awareness, especially within transitions of asanas
How do you get there?

 

Ujjayi breath is done through the nose, travelling down deep into the belly and filling up the rib cage.  A hissing or "wave-like" sound is created upon exhale through the constriction of the back of the throat.  Breath is slowed by the diaphragm and by this constriction, resulting in an audible exhale.  The length of inhale and exhale is even and smooth, and intensity of this breath may increase in conjunction with the intensity of asana.  You may liken Ujjayi breathing to fogging up a mirror with your breath with the mouth closed.  Again, intensity can fluctuate but the principle of restricting the back of the throat is key.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 


Foundation Friday: Swadhyaya

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  Today we are sharing a teaching from Pantanjali's classic yoga sutras, Swadhyaya or self-study.  

 


Foundation Friday: Swadhyaya, Self-Study


Swadhyaya, the 4th Niyama Sva | Self Adhyaya | investigation or inquiry

 

“Study, when it is developed to the highest degree, brings one close to higher forces that promote understanding of the most complex.”

 -The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 11.44

 

Swadhyaya is one of the five Niyamas (daily observances) presented in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  These practices are the foundation of a yogic life; the system of the Niyamas lend to simplifying clutter and observing/attaining stillness.  Pantanjali teaches that these practices progress your spiritual life on the basis that everything you need is inward.  What one looks for is already there.  These 5 observances are a system meant to work in harmony rather than isolation.

 

 

Patanjali also notes that this Niyama involves the study of the ancient scriptures pertaining to Yoga (The Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).  These teachings are used to assist us in engaging in life spiritually through self-inquiry.  As we meditate and contemplate our own life's lessons - our thoughts, emotions, reactions - we begin to learn about our true Self.  Reflecting on our own flaws, patterns and stories rather than those of others gives us the opportunity to grow, allowing our mistakes to become lessons.  In your life and within your yoga practice, look at yourself with the same discernment you use with others.  As if you are watching your life on film, notice what happens with your sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts and breath; feel empowered through your process of self-study.

 

The Five Niyamas

 

The first Niyama: Saucha

Saucha is cleanliness which involves keeping your body clean inside and out.  This includes eating the right food, decluttering your environment, communicating with clean and clear words as well as purification of the mind.

 

The second Niyama: Santosha

Santosha or contentment is the practice of being content with having enough in life.

 

The third Niyama: Tapas

Tapas is the practice of austerity or self discipline. This is a practice for simplifying your life, removing all the unnecessary things that do not serve you. It is a way of reflecting the external into the internal to refine your needs.  The interference of thoughts and emotions can prevent us from seeing our inner stillness.

 

The fourth Niyama: Swadhyaya

The observance of Self allows you freedom to step into your highest form through truth and discernment.

 

The fifth Niyama: Pranidhana

This practice allows us to surrender to the divine or higher reality.  Yoga is a spiritual practice but not a religion - the science and vehicle that enables us to understand our own beliefs better.

Foundation Friday: Uttanasana

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Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.  Today we are highlighting Uttanasana, or standing forward fold.  


Foundation Friday: Uttanasana


Uttanasana || Standing Forward Fold OOH-tah-NAH-sah-nah

Ud (उद्; ud) = prefix for verbs or nouns, indicating superiority in location, rank, power, intensity Tana (तान; tāna) = "stretched" Uttana (उत्तान; uttāna) = "intense stretch" or "straight" or "stretched" Asana (आसन; āsana) meaning "posture" or "seat"

 

Uttanasana is an active time-out; your legs release, your feet root and ground you, your head is below your heart, and your spine releases. Taking time here allows your other postures to integrate and connects you to the present moment.  With a variety of ways to execute uttanasana, you can tailor your experience in this asana to suit your intention.  You may choose to dangle and sway, releasing tension from your entire back body, or you may choose a variation including a grip on the toes or hands under the feet with a more active core, spine and legs. Regardless, uttanasana allows you to hang your heart close to your body, a shape that offers inner reflection and the opportunity to create self-love.  As our postures are medicine, this one bows you into your Self, creating a reverent pause to fall deeper in love.

 

Benefits of Uttanasana

 

  • stretches your hips, hamstrings and calves
  • strengthens your knees and thighs
  • keeps your spine strong and flexible
  • calms your mind, soothes your nerves
  • reduces stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression
  • releases neck, spine and back tension
  • activates your core
  • stimulates your kidneys, liver and spleen
  • addresses symptoms of menopause, asthma, headaches and insomnia
  • improves digestion
  • can lower high blood pressure
How do I get there?

 

1. Start in Tadasana (mountain pose), creating a clear connection with the earth through your feet (pada bandha)
2. With your hands on your hips, exhale and fold forward, drawing your navel to your spine slightly to create more space from which to bend.
3. Continue to root down through the 4 corners of your feet and draw energy up the inner seam of your legs into your pelvic floor and core.  Allow a slight bend in your knee if needed to release any hyper-extension.  Lift your sit bones to stretch your hamstrings and take your inner thighs up and back to release your sacrum.
4.  Release any tension from your neck and allow the weight of your crown to draw you deeper into the stretch.
5.  You may choose to grab for opposite elbows, wrap a mudra around your big toes, walk your palms under your feet or place your hands to the sides or backs of your legs.  Follow the pattern of inhale to lengthen and exhale to deepen to continue to surrender in this pose.
6.  You may hold uttanasana for 30 seconds to over a minute, or perhaps as long as you need.  To come out of the pose, bring your hands back to your hips and rotate up from the joint until you are standing strong and tall.  Let the information of the pose land in you as you breathe and observe.

Brandon's Final Words

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


 

Gratitude.

 

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,

 

Brandon

 

Foundation Friday: Drishti

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Zoran's drishti aids in his balance and concentration.


Foundation Friday: Drishti or Gazing Point


Drishti (meaning: "full seeing", vision, point of view, intelligence or wisdom)

Pratyahara: sense withdrawal

Dharana: concentration

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"The eyes play a predominant part in the practice of asanas." - BKS Iyengar


Drishti, or focused gaze, is a means for developing concentrated intention. It relates to the fifth limb of yoga concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb dharana relating to concentration.  There are a total of 9 drishtis and each yoga asana is associated with one.  There are many yoga systems that use this practice and differences regarding which are used for specific asanas, but drishti is mainly part of the Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga traditions.

 

Why do we practice drishti?

 

Focusing your gaze as specific points allows your concentration and intention to flow in a circular manner.  The gaze first comes from within and is then directed outward to a specific point.  This intense focus creates an energy that is reflected back into your body to hold your concentration.  This allows the 'looking' to reflect inward, creating a withdrawal of the outward senses and a connection to Self.  The directed gaze also gives the mind a focused visual stimulus; wherever your eyes go your mind will follow.  Drishti allows the mind to be singularly focussed and balances our internal and external practice.  In a visually addictive world, our attention is like currency.  Spend it wisely!

 

Drishti may help...

 

  • concentration
  • inner connection
  • posture alignment
  • meditation
  • cleansing the mind
How is it done?

 

Though the gaze is fixed on an external point, the true meaning of drishti is meant to direct our focus to the subtle aspects of our practice.  We may become more aware of our breath, mind, and internal workings of our body simply by creating this circular focus.  In general, let your gaze move in the direction of your stretch.  Prana follows the direction of your gaze.
Yoga Journal states the following:

In Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose), for instance, we gaze at the nose tip: Nasagrai Drishti. In meditation and in Matsyasana (Fish Pose), we gaze toward the Ajna Chakra, the third eye: Naitrayohmadya (also called Broomadhya) Drishti. In Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), we use Nabi Chakra Drishti, gazing at the navel. We use Hastagrai Drishti, gazing at the hand, in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). In most seated forward bends, we gaze at the big toes: Pahayoragrai Drishti. When we twist to the left or right in seated spinal twists, we gaze as far as we can in the direction of the twist, using Parsva Drishti. In Urdhva Hastasana, the first movement of the Sun Salutation, we gaze up at the thumbs, using Angusta Ma Dyai Drishti. In Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I), we use Urdhva Drishti, gazing up to infinity. In every asana, the prescribed drishti assists concentration, aids movement, and helps orient the pranic (energetic) body.

 

In some cases, an improper drishti can actually be harmful, like shoulderstand where the head should not turn to look left or right.  Keep this in mind when working with drishti in your practice.

 

Let the drishti be your guide in to the unseen, to your source, your truth.  Allow the flow of your gaze bring you into your true balance and nature.

 

 

 

Welcome Back Meghan Currie!

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We are SO pumped to welcome back Meghan to Yogalife Studios July 25 and 26.  This time she is here to share her juiciness on LOVING.EVERY.MOMENT.

 

Every moment is a magical recipe of sorts. Even the most sour of flavours are important and serve purpose. We can collect and assimilate nutrients from every flickering moment if we chew slowly and stay present to the complex flavours of life. This weekend is an opportunity to indulge in all the flavours of You. To simmer in your own experience and let it take you to where you need to go. The classes weave together to create a complete transformational journey, taking your practice to another level of deliciousness!

 

Perfectly Imperfect

 

You are here. We begin here, as we are. This is where all the power lives. In truth, rather than in ideas of perfection. How is this all not perfect, as it is? Once the contraction of the idea of perfection relaxes, expansion can then occur. Prepare to sweat and have fun. We flow, opening up the corners of our bodies. Hips + upside down + gentle hearts

 

 

Surf School

 

Swim on air, surfing the breath in each moment. And whatever arises from each moment, we surf that too! This is where we discover the grace and power that comes to our practice from listening to each moment with sweetened ears. Arm balances + deep twists + hearts

 

A little bit about Miss Currie~

 

she loves...

handstands, motorcycles, smells, grafitti, safety pins, bicycles, pigeons, music, moss, languages, books, beets, mud, dancing, hydro lines, diagrams, sewing, teaching, surprises, shaking, yard sales, anatomy, instruments, sleeping outside, wisdom, nonsense, sprouts, spoons, body parts, seeds, insects, fears, rocks, giving, essential oils, foods that vibrate, photos, ocean, laughing, naps, spinach, crying, sewing machine parts, singing, love, wrinkles, long walks, good talks, all creatures, trees, apples, raspberries, learning, breathing....being...

 

Visit Meghan's site to get more acquainted!

 

Join Meghan at Yogalife Studios South || register here!

Perfectly Imperfect || Friday, July 25 || 7-9pm

Surf School || Saturday, July 26 || 2:30-4:30pm

 

Foundation Friday: Savasana

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  This post is the first in a new series that delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice. First off, we’ll be taking a look at the quintessential yoga asana, or pose—savasana.

 


Foundation Friday: Savasana


 

Asana

Corpse Pose, or “Savasana”

(sava=corpse, asana=pose)

sha-vass-a-na

 

 

Savasana is the most important—and perhaps, the most difficult—pose in yoga. While it may appear that someone in savasana is simply setting up for a nap, the goal is not actually to fall asleep—rather, savasana intends to mimic the restful effects of sleep by rejuvenating the body, mind, and spirit while the practitioner remains conscious. Since we are not distracted by sensory sensation in this restful position, we are perfectly prepared to lie in quiet awareness of our breath, of our mind, and our humble presence. Without attaching any judgment on to our pattern of breath or to any thoughts that may arise, we may simply be conscious of them.

 

Why do we practice savasana?

 

Savasana is a perfect place to pause and find some peace before yoga, to settle our minds and bodies, to get ourselves into a quiet space, setting the tone for our practice. After asana practice, it is so important to take savasana—savanasa is where our bodies make sense of everything that happened throughout practice. This is the time that we can integrate any new sensory information throughout our bodies—where we can soak up all the goodness of practice and let it sink in. It is also an exercise in calming the nervous system, and just like any muscle in our body, the more we can train our brains to find quiet—to slow down and simply notice things the way they are—the stronger our brains and nervous systems will be at mimicking the same quiet, stillness, and calm throughout the rest of our lives.

 

Savasana may help…

 

• Decrease your heart rate • Lower your blood pressure • Alleviate muscle tension • Lessen anxiety • Heighten your ability to concentrate or focus • Increase your energy levels

 

 

How do I get there? 

 

  1. First, lie on your back. Lay your feet outstretched from your body about hip-width distance apart, with your arms outstretched a few inches away from your side body, palms face up.
  2. Let your toes relax to the sides (your feet may rotate outwards slightly).
  3. Slightly tuck your tailbone under to lengthen your spine.
  4. Tuck your shoulder blades underneath your body to open across your chest.
  5. Slightly tuck your chin in to keep the back of your neck long.
  6. Close your eyes.
  7. Relax and soften everywhere that you can in your body.
  8. Release any breathing technique you may have been using in class—breathe naturally.

***Note: comfort is essential in savasana—find whichever variation of savasana is the most relaxing to you, so that it will be easier for you to avoid distractions.

If this position is uncomfortable, you can:

 

  • Keep your upper body the same, but bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall wide
  • Place the soles of your feet mat-width distance apart and rest your knees together (helps if you are experiencing lower back discomfort)
  • Place a bolster under your knees (also helps with lower back discomfort)

 

We hope this helps you better understand the concept of savasana. Please feel free to comment with any further questions. And let us know if you have something you would like to see featured in Foundation Friday!

 

 

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!