Member Stories

Beautiful Words from Dean Tumibay

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The following is a beautiful message from long-time Yogalifer, Dean Tumibay.  For me personally, Dean made my transition into the media team so easy; he was always there to field my millions of questions and frustrations over technology... there to lend a hand wherever he could.  Dean will ALWAYS be a Yogalifer and we are ecstatic to see him grow into his career.  Best of luck, thank you for all your hard work, support and silliness!

You are a true gem Dean.


 

I came to Yogalife a week after it opened, April 2010, in the hopes of finding a yoga studio nearby that I could complete a self-induced 30-day yoga challenge with my cousin, Michelle. I had done hot yoga before, and heard about these 30-day challenges at other studios, but never committed to one. I decided to give Yogalife a shot.

 


Just like many of you, I was first blown away by the sheer beauty of the space.


 

Polished white floors, warm tones, large windows, complimentary tea – what more could one want in a space? With bright smiles, the two owners greeted me at the front desk. They warmed up to me even more when I explained that I was doing a personal 30-day-challenge before they even had established an official one for their studio.

 

My cousin and I became familiar faces in this space, chatting constantly about what we loved and in some cases, hated strongly disliked about classes. Near the end of my challenge, I found myself sitting in the lounge, alone, quietly reading a magazine when one of the owners approached me. With a bright smile on his face, he asked if I’d be interested in a position at the studio. I was elated and within a week of submitting my resume, I was behind the front desk of Yogalife Studios South.

 


At the time, I didn’t realize how accepting this offer would define 4 years of my life.


 

Yogalife became a second home to me. In this space, I laughed until my stomach hurt, held warrior 2 until my legs burned, cursed under my breath during a tough core sequence, danced to the greatest hits of the 90s while the rest of you were in class, played a didgeridoo, unclogged a toilet and folded a million towels. It was perfect.

 

Yogalife provided me an opportunity to let my creative juices flow, after being stagnant for a number of years, getting caught in the regimented schedule of being a University student. I became a part of the media team, shot many of the videos on the Yogalife blog, and made a point to expose our amazing crew on a deeper level to our beloved clients.

 

 

Though it was my home, Yogalife exposed me to a world in Edmonton that I had no idea existed despite having been here all my life. The wonderful individuals I met in different communities outside our own enriched my life and opened my mind to so many alternative practices.

As my employment here came to a close, I began to observe all the beautiful things that I’d miss when that faithful day came, where I’d walk through the doors as an employee for the last time and hand over my key to Caren, the studio owner. I embraced the bright sunshine in the empty lounge, softened by the frosted windows, the smell of my favorite tea brewing, the warm air of the Sun studio, the bright hallway lights, the cat pictures on our computer desktops, and most importantly the anticipation when clients and instructors would walk through the front doors.

 

Many of you came in, often stressed from work or school, but walked out with a smile on your face, responding to my question, “How was your class?” with an exasperated “A-ma-zing…”

Beautiful.

 

I always dreamt of a job like those you see on T.V. The places where everyone knows your name (go ahead, sing the Cheers theme song), where those same people are genuinely interested in the on-goings of your life, and just happy to share space with you, even if just for a brief moment.

Yogalife was exactly that.

 

It was my goal to get to know as many of your names as possible, and if I ever fumbled with a pronunciation, please accept this as my apology. I am grateful for every interaction I’ve had with each and every one of you. I loved knowing your stories, celebrating your successes, and being present as your yoga practice grew. I loved that because of you, Yogalife became a place I could go when I needed to escape any stresses I ever experienced.

 

To the amazing instructors and GSRs I’ve met, you have become such an important part of my life, inspiring me in ways that I could never fully express in words. I’m grateful to call many of you friends, and look forward to where this next step in this journey takes us.

 


I walk away from this studio, holding dear to me the sweet memories of serving this community, and wish all of you nothing but love.


 

The absolute highest in me honours the highest in you and bows to it.

 

Namaste.

Lindsey's Final Words

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Lindsey's final classes were on Saturday, September 6, 2014. As a parting gift to the studio, she wished to share a few final thoughts on her experience here as a Yogalife instructor.

Teaching at Yogalife was the reason I decided to quit my job and do yoga full time, which was the best decision I ever made.  Over the years not only have I grown so much as a student, a teacher, and a person, but I was blessed in watching the massive growth of our community.

Seeing familiar faces in my classes, and witnessing the amazing progression of each student reminded me everyday how lucky I am to be a yoga teacher.  

I received so much joy from being at the studio that I never wanted to leave!  I used to joke that I spent more time at Yogalife then I did at home, which wasn't much of a joke as it was absolutely true! (The couches are quite comfortable to sleep on really.)

There are so many great experiences that I will take with me as I transition into the next chapter of my life.

The friendships I made within the community, practicing and learning from the incredible teachers, ridiculousness and laughter with the amazing front desk staff, my forever loyal PUD crew, and so many more fantastic memories, that I will cherish for lifetimes.

The last 4 years have been beyond a rewarding experience for me.  

I truly feel that the energy and teachings that I offered, have been given back to me in exponential amounts by the students and community at Yogalife.

It has been a gift and a blessing to get to know each and every one of you, and I do hope that our paths will cross again.  

With infinite love and gratitude.

Lindsey

Taylor Nystad: On Completing the Ironman

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Before completing her shifts at the studio, we just had to get one last story from Taylor regarding a major accomplishment in her life, completing the Ironman Triathlon. Taylor gives us a detailed account of what it's like to be in one of the most esteemed triathlons in the world. Congratulations Taylor!


 

4am:

My alarm goes off, but it wasn’t necessary as I had maybe slept for 30 minutes total since 9pm the night prior. Cue the anxiety attack. Everyone is now awake and getting ready. Me, on the other hand, am crying and considering handing in my timing chip. At this point I’m too afraid to race, I don’t feel ready. I force myself to eat something but I think I might vomit.

 

6am:

We’ve finally reached Alta Lake via the shuttle busses. There are athletes everywhere in the transition area. I feel a little better but still want to bawl my eyes out every few minutes. We get our bikes ready and put our wetsuits on. It’s time to say goodbye to our friends and family as we head to the lake to warm up.

 

6:55am:

It is 5 minutes to the swim start. Everyone is floating in the water. I then realize I have misunderstood the swim course and am at the front of the line. In reality I wanted to be near the middle as I am an average swimmer.

 

There are people everywhere, so there’s no chance for me to move farther back.

 

The swim:

The cannon goes off and instinctively I start swimming. I am literally in a human washing machine; there are people everywhere. I’m getting kicked, pulled, grabbed, and shoved. I know I have to stand my ground or else people will swim over me. The course is a two-lap rectangle, so I know I just have to endure this until the first turn. Once there, I decide to swim on the outside of the course. I know it might slow me down, but it’s a better alternative to swimming in the flurry of people. I end up swimming 4.5km, and am 10 minutes slower than what I originally wanted.

 

Swim to Bike transition:

Everyone is running out of the water to his or her transition bags but I decide to walk. In the swim I didn’t use my legs so I’m still feeling a little shaky. I grab my bag and make it to the change tent.

 

Let me just say now that the volunteers for this event are absolutely amazing.

 

A volunteer finds me and helps me with whatever I need. Trying to put on compression socks out of the swim was probably a bad idea. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much difficulty putting socks on. I get the rest of my gear on and run out to find my bike. Volunteers lather my arms with sunscreen.

 

Now it’s off to bike 180km.

 

Bike Km 1, Alta Lake to Callaghan:

There are cyclists everywhere. This was my first triathlon and cycling event so I was for the most part, unaware of what was in store. I pass people, and people pass me. The first portion of the course was mostly downhill which gave me enough time to settle into the new demands that my body was putting on me. I started off easy on my nutrition, waiting for my body to adjust.

 

Km 25 Callaghan- Whistler:

This was the first real climb of the race. 12km uphill to the top of Olympic village where the ski jumping venue is. But what goes up must come down. I had biked this portion once before in May so I knew what to expect.

What I didn’t know was how my body would fare going 180km. The farthest I had biked before in training was 100km, once.

 

I went with the philosophy of taking it one hill at a time, and to not push myself too hard.

 

I made it up Callaghan at a good pace. Going downhill Callaghan was a nice break for the legs. Once at the bottom of Callaghan was the climb back up to Whistler. This wasn’t too hard as you had some downhill moments to rest. I made sure to maintain my nutrition plan: 2 gels, 1 bottle of electrolytes every hour. If I had any inkling of a muscle cramp or GI issues, I took a sodium capsule right away.

 

Whistler to Pemberton:

Biking through Whistler was the first time I saw my friends and family since leaving Alta lake. You only see them for a few seconds, but it gives you a boost of energy. At this point I was three hours into the bike and was on track for my goal time. Whistler to Pemberton was essentially all downhill with the exception of a few small climbs. 1500ft drop in elevation to be exact. This was once again an opportunity to rest the legs to prepare for the 80km you had left once you reached Pemberton.

 

Pemberton Out and Back:

I finally received my special needs bag. Mine had an endurance drink, dried mangos, ibuprofen, sodium capsules, gels and skittles. You’re probably questioning the skittle part, but if I was in serious risk of bonking, I needed a rapid sugar dose. Skittles do the trick. I took everything from my special needs bag and put it wherever I could on my bike.

 

Once you leave Pemberton there is a 25km out and back of dead flat road in the valley.

 

This was the most boring part of the course. That turn around point could not come soon enough. I knew I had to fuel and pace properly on this portion because the last 30km of the bike was the most difficult. I wanted to bike at my original goal pace, but I knew if I pushed too hard, the rest of the bike would be a suffer-grind fest. It felt as though a hundred people passed me. I just had to remind myself that I was doing my own race and I was on pace to make the cut-off.

 

Pemberton to Whistler:

I have been dreading this all day. I had done this portion of the course back in May, and let’s just say it went less than ideal, as in I had to walk up a few hills. There was one last aid station before the climb so I stocked up on everything that I could. I had saved a few espresso gels from the special needs bag. These gels would be my saving grace: just enough of a caffeine boost to keep you going when there’s no fuel in the tank. I went into the climb saying I would take it one hill at a time, just as I had done earlier. Everyone who passed me in Pemberton, I caught up to.

 

It was 32 degrees and there was no shade. People were dropping like flies.

 

There were people on the side of the road, walking, vomiting, and a select few receiving medical help. My legs felt good and I knew to just take it easy. I ended up staying with a few other cyclists. We all talked to help distract us from the constant stream of hills that never seemed to end. I kept drinking as much fluid as I could. At one point even my water was so hot that drinking it made me feel uncomfortable. I just knew I had to keep going.

Reaching the final aid station was like finding water in the middle of the desert.

 

I knew I only had 10km to go and that the end was near. I just kept biking but by this point I felt like I was going to bonk. I ate whatever fuel I had left and popped sodium pills like they were candy. I finally saw my family back into Whistler. I had made the bike course before the cut off; I was ecstatic.

 

Bike to run transition:

I don’t think I have ever been so excited to get off of a bike in my entire life. If you ever want a free bike you should wait by the athletes at the end of the bike course on an Ironman.

 

After being on that bike for 180km you don’t want to see it ever again.

 

The volunteer who relieves you of that bike is an absolute savior. I get into the women’s change tent to switch to my run gear. Once again the volunteers are incredible and help you with whatever you need. I change my gear and head out onto the course.

 

Run Km 1-21:

I get out onto the run course and am surprisingly jogging. Well, more like shuffling. My jog pace was a fast speed walk at best.

 

I had 7 hours to do the run, but I forgot to put ibuprofen and sodium in my bike to run bag and I needed it badly.

 

I wouldn’t get any of those items until the halfway point, in my special needs bag. I just knew I couldn’t stop moving. At every aid station I drank pepsi or chicken broth for sodium and ate a gel. There were people everywhere on the course cheering you on which helped.

 

Km 22-41:

I finally have my sodium and ibuprofen, which helped immensely. Every step I took pounded into my knees. I knew I had done some damage but I wasn’t exactly sure to what extent. I had done the first half in just over 3 hours so I knew the odds were in my favor to finish. I had just less than four hours to do a half marathon.

 

They were going to have to pull me off the course before I would willingly quit.

 

By KM 30 my dad had caught up to me (he was also racing).  We sped walk the last 10ish km and ran on every downhill. We were close to the finish line and could hear the music and crowds going wild. We were so close but it all felt so far away.

 

The finish line:

We had finally made it into the village area. I tried to jog but I could barely sustain it, even with everyone cheering me on. I made the last turn and there it was, the finish line. Suddenly any pain in my body had disappeared. After over 16 hours I had finally made it to the runway of the finish line.

 

Everyone was cheering for me.

 

One person stuck out their hand to high five me, and the next thing I knew everyone was doing the same. Running down that finish shoot was Euphoric, a culmination of raw emotion and exhaustion. Cameras are flashing everywhere to capture your golden moment and the announcer tells everyone your name. I crossed that finish line, and for the first time in over 16.5 hours, I could finally stop moving.

Crossing that finish line is an experience that I will never forget. It makes all the hardships endured completely worth it. I believe that it will be a source of inspiration for the rest of my life; if I can make it through an Ironman, what can’t I do?

 

-Taylor Nystad 

Introducing the Class of 2014: Uttara Vidya 200-Hr YTT Grads!

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It's been a long, introspective, snort-kombucha-out-of-your-nose hilarious, challenging journey—full of asana, alignment, anatomy and ancient philosophy—but the graduates of Yogalife's first-ever Yoga Alliance-certified Uttara Vidya 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training have finally completed their learning adventure. Or has it only just begun...

 

 

The idea for a Yogalife teacher training came long ago. Yogalife's studio director Lindsey Park says this dream of hers has been a long time coming. After years of seed-planting and mental prep, and months of pulling together plans, photos, manuals, and assembling a team of facilitators, Yogalife's school of Uttara Vidya, or Higher Learning, was ready. With 25 eager students and three willing teachers, the first of Uttara Vidya's 200 hours began on May 9th, 2014.

 

 

Yogalife's teacher training was the most transformative time of my life. I grew significantly as a practitioner and as a person. It was fantastic to be led by three of the most amazing people I've had the pleasure of meeting, and to make so many new friends. The environment was a supportive and safe place to grow and change and I wouldn't have changed a single thing about my experience.

-Brandi Armstrong, CYT-200

 

With four full weekends and a two-week intensive behind them—hours upon hours (200 of them!) full of heart-opening and hatha, build-ups and breakdowns, sweat, laughter, and tears—Lindsey, Brittany, and Brandon present 25 freshly-certified teachers into Edmonton's yoga community, full with wisdom and ready to share. Look for these beauties at an upcoming Yogalife Karma class (at Yogalife North, Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Yogalife South, Sundays at 1:30 p.m.).

 

Congratulations, Uttara Vidya Graduates of 2014!!!

Look for Uttara Vidya's next YTT 200-Hr Training program coming in early 2015, registration opening soon. If you have any questions in the interim, please feel free to contact Uttara Vidya at trainings@yogalifestudios.ca.

 

A letter from Yogalife's owner, Caren.

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Dear Yogalife students, teachers & yogis,

Happy Happy New Year!!!

 

How should I start.... ;) If we haven’t had the chance to meet yet, let me introduce myself. My name is Caren. I was the very first Yogalifer pretty much ever. I have had the pleasure of seeing the growth of this little studio become what it is today. Thank you for all the love and support that you show our Yogalife family everyday just by showing up.

 

My resolution this year is to start 2014 with clarity, integrity and intention. For me, 2013 has been a full year of shifts and lessons, of opportunity and growth. I am so fortunate and blessed to be part of such a rich yoga community, to be able to find abundance in the relationships I have made and to love what I get to do everyday. Thank you for showing up and helping me see that.

 

It might get long… so thank you for continuing to read this.... : )

 

Gratitude to the teachers who pour their heart and soul out in every class they teach, gratitude to them for helping us inspire health, strength, vibrancy and more in our community.

 

Gratitude to the front desk yogis who keep up with the cleaning and the laundry with vigour so that we can practice comfortably in the studio. Gratitude to them for making our day a little brighter with their warm smile or when they offer tea as an alternative to when we show up late for class.

 

Gratitude to the social media yogis for crafting beautiful reads, photos and videos to keep us motivated, educated and excited.

 

And Gratitude to all the students who keep showing up for classes and workshops, ready to move, ready to breathe and ready to learn. Your determination and exuberance fills me with humility and pride.

 

It’s already 2014! It’s hard to imagine that life moves so quickly and that Yogalife has been open for almost 4 years now. No, it doesn’t feel like just yesterday that we opened our doors, but my body definitely still remembers that "night before open foot fracture", and the space boot that came with it. My foot still hurts when it’s cold out…

 

This year our intention is to craft classes, workshops, and blog content that will inspire you. So we are offering a January and February filled with workshops dedicated to motivating your resolutions and goals. Perhaps there’s a workshop that will move you, challenge you, and make you smile.

 

Share your thoughts with us on how you felt about 2013. What do you want to see this year and what interests you?

 

These past 4 years have been a wild ride! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year brings. Feels like it’s going to be… wait for it…. LEGENDARY.

 

Love,

Caren

Norman Marcelino: A Life Changing Experience

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A former coworker and now friend introduced me to Yoga. At work, he demonstrated a pose that he learned but it didn't spark my interest. Why, you ask? Well, picture a man wearing a crisp dress shirt, slick dress pants and polished dress shoes positioning into a Warrior II stance! If this so-called "Yoga Practice" would make me look as foolish as he did, I was definitely making it my last priority to try it out.

 

When I finally decided to attend my first class, I was oozing out with confidence because I instantly felt like a true Yogi after getting a glimpse of myself in the huge mirrors as I swaggered with my matching Lululemon outfit. Since I was the only male in the studio, my ego level was off the charts! Before my head got any bigger, the confidence wore off when I noticed that I had difficulty following (mentally and physically) the flow. I learned my first lesson when the Instructor advised us to leave our egos outside the studio and only focus on what our own bodies were doing. As the Instructor commanded, I focused on my Ujjayi breath and immediately noticed a change in my state of mind and physical abilities. The advice shifted a disappointing start to an exhilarating end!

 

It's been a year and half since I attended my first class. I incorporate the Ujjayi breath to help me stay calm during difficult situations at work and in my personal life. Also, being aware of my ego is allowing me to think more clearly and rationally when realizing whether it's my "ego-self" or my "true-self" that's making daily decisions. Most importantly, I'm more connected to my spiritual being in a way that opens my heart and mind to seek a deeper purpose in life.

 

Last week, a profound moment occurred in Yoga class when an epiphany helped me see the difficult poses I avoided (because of how uncomfortable my mind and body felt), were metaphors in my life for the challenges I avoided to face and the changes I resisted to accept! My little arm hairs stood up and I felt chills running up my spine because of that moment. I truly appreciate that even after attending more than 200 hours of class, I can still learn new things from the thoughts and emotions that I experience during a Yoga practice. I recommend all types of Yoga to everyone who is looking for a new way to workout, explore their mental capabilities and connect with their spirituality. For me, it helps to have an open mind/heart because sometimes, unexpected thoughts/emotions reveal itself to allow me to have an awakening. Other times, I only feel the heat, humidity and sore muscles but that's a cool feeling too!

 

We are all students of life. When we accept that all the trials and triumphs we face on a daily basis are lessons to teach us how to become better people, the energy we exude into the Universe and the energy returned to us will be that much stronger!

 

Namaste.

Cindy Lieu

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I started going to YogaLife in February 2011, two-and-a-half months after I got into a major car accident. The idea was to incorporate yoga into my rehab to get my body moving again after being stiff and inactive for 11 weeks. What I didn't expect was how I incorporated yoga into my life.

I'm a self-professed lazy person, but I really enjoy going to yoga. It's part of my routine now. The atmosphere at YogaLife is a big reason. I've done yoga at other studios, but I never felt like I was part of a community like I am at YogaLife. The staff, instructors and students are positive and encouraging. It makes for a fun time at the studio. I also like the variety of classes. So now I'm a yogi and a YogaLifer!

Don Wong: My Yoga Journey

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I've been physically active all my life. I had a laundry list of activities to keep myself busy such as running, sprinting, weight training, roller blading, cycling, and skiing to name a few. Stretching was not even apart of my vocabulary let alone yoga.

All that changed when a car, failing to stop at a red light, rear ended me. Sending my vehicle into the car in front of me and in turn sending that vehicle into the car in front of him. After the melee was over, my car was positioned into oncoming traffic. Fortunately the traffic lights were red.

After about 6 months of acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic adjustments, I was not healing. Activities I use to do I was not able to do due to lower back pains, neck pains, and migraines.

I procrastinated about going to yoga for 2 months. Then one day my physiotherapist convinced me to try it out by coming along with me. She literally had to drag me in with a little kicking and screaming.And this is where my yoga journey begins.

After the first class I fell in love. I started attending classes 6 days a week, sometimes 2 to 3 times a day. It’s been little over a year now and I can’t see my life without yoga. Yoga has helped me cope with my lower back and neck pains and has also help alleviate a lot of the migraines. It has helped me become more in tune with my physical body and my mental state of mind causing a shift in my eating habits coupled with a daily practice, it has helped me shed 30 lbs off my frame and I have become more flexible than I could have ever imagined.

Yoga has made a profound change to my life, helping me attain a deeper understanding of myself, enabling me to find inner peace. I am now actively looking into becoming a yoga instructor, to gain a deeper understanding and to maybe one day share what I’ve learned.

Namaste Don Wong