Yogalife Classes

3 Tips To Start Meditating

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Ready, Set, Meditate

Meditation, like any other form of self-care, can be daunting or challenging in the beginning, but holds innumerable positive benefits once you find your flow. Just as you wouldn't start by running a full marathon, start small and let your meditation practice develop at your own pace. Anything's possible - you may sit for an hour, undisturbed - but chances are your body (or mind!) simply won't want that. By nature, we are busy, cluttered and distracted beings. This is why we refer to meditation as a practice - something that we build and nurture, commit to and experience. Start with these three easy tips to give yourself the time and space to de-clutter.

1. Literally Clear a Space

Clearing your mind and dropping into your body can be a lot easier when you've set up your space to reflect what you need. You don't need a zen garden with trickling fountains and softly cooing doves, but you DO need some sort of sanctuary. This can simply be a comfortable pillow and a candle, away from distractions. If you are trying to sit and drop-in near a pile of unfolded laundry or sink full of dishes, perhaps choose a different spot.

2. Sit for 10 Minutes

There is no maximum time that you must reach in order to "have an experience" or "really meditate", but you should commit to a minimum. Start with 10 minutes: set a timer and see what happens - maybe it feels like an eternity and maybe it flies by. This practice is about steadiness; a commitment to 10 minutes may turn to 15, 30, an hour. A steady commitment WILL help build your practice.

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3. Use Props

You may not be used to sitting up tall for extended periods of time, so rather than suffering through your meditation, use props to find a comfortable seat. A block or bolster under the seat can alleviate tension in the hips and lower back. Blocks under your knees can help support and take pressure off the joints and a rolled-up blanket under your ankles can create a soft padding between your bones and the earth. There's always the option to lay back and rest your spine into the earth or a bolster as well.

Join A Class

Again, meditation is something you learn how to do, especially with the guidance of a teacher. If you are looking to build your tool box, consider joining a class to deepen your understanding of meditation, breathwork, mudras, mantras and gentle poses to prep the body to sit longer.

If you're interested in exploring meditation, join Sarah Zandbeek for Pranayama and Meditation, Wednesday nights at 7pm, Yogalife Studios North.

We Want To Give You Yoga!

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Here's how we're going to do it

Feeling loved, appreciated and comfortable in a yoga studio is incredibly important. This is perhaps where you spend your calmest hour or so of the day; where you may open up and become more sensitive to yourself and your needs. It's where you sweat, grow, challenge yourself and even change. This place can grow to be your second home, your family, your team!

We want to make your connection to our studio really easy and affordable, and keep you excited about us! Here's a few ways we're going the extra mile to keep you on our team:

 

30 Days of Unlimited Yoga for $39

 

Yogalife unlimited trial pass for new students

 

The best way to become acquainted with a studio is to go as much as you can! Get the most out of your 30-day trial: try new classes, meet the instructors, make friends in the tea lounge, have an apple after class (we provide those!).  Your membership includes mat and towel service if you need it, on a first come first serve basis.

 

Our new student trial price equals less than the price of two drop-ins and comes with a mat and towel if you need. Bonus.

 

12 Class Challenge

 

Yogalife new student 12 class yoga challenge

 

This is where things get interesting. The 12 class challenge is just like it sounds, completing the goal of 12 classes within 30 days. We offer such a variety of classes; warm foundation, yin, meditation, vinyasa flow, acro, hatha flow and happy hips, just to name a few. You may fall in love with hot yoga or prefer to practice in a non-heated space; this trial period is your time to explore.

Once you complete your 12 classes in 30 days we will excitedly gift you with a free month of yoga (one month auto-renew = $99 - we're giving you two!).

 

We hope your curiosity and connection to yoga and Yogalife will continue to flourish as you deepen your practice.

 

Save On Your Monthly Membership

 

yogalife membership perks

 

When you get into the groove of a steady practice and come to the studio multiple times a week, it makes sense to do an auto-renew membership. To help with this commitment, we'll cover $10 of your monthly fee. Sign up in the first month of your 30-day trial to snag this deal.

 

We know this is a lot of information but at the end of the day we just want to give you yoga. We want you to feel valued and supported as you get more serious about your practice. Whether that involves 3 sweaty flow classes a week or a variety of hatha/yin/meditation, we want to make this as accessible as we can. Never hesitate to ask our staff and instructors about the details.

3 Reasons To Take A Beginner Yoga Class

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beginner yogaBeginner yoga, a very good place to start!

When you first decide to unroll a mat and try this yoga thing, it can be daunting to figure out exactly where to start. With so many classes, teachers and styles, it is nice to learn about the foundations of the practice to assist the navigation. As you go through this journey it becomes more clear that it really is about YOU, so why not start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, and allow yourself to truly find YOUR path. Here's 3 reasons to hit up a beginners yoga class, regardless of where you're at in your practice.


Get Acquainted with the System

Yoga is an ancient system comprised of asana (physical movement), meditation and pranayama (breathwork), amongst other things. Any of these facets may arise in a public class and work in unison to create this holistic practice. When you first start out, getting the sense of all these elements in unison may feel a little misaligned. The instructor may guide you to empty your mind, but your mind is trying to figure out what the heck to focus on. A beginner class will break down why and how we breathe the way we do in yoga, the most important piece of the puzzle. Once you harness this breath, the movement and meditation come with more ease.

Learn To Listen

Yoga can seem like a gymnastics routine. Any given class can and will have all levels of yogis there to do their thing, and it is your job as the ultimate teacher to choose YOUR practice for that moment. Whether you modify, rest or go deeper depends on what YOU need, not your acrobatic neighbour! A beginner class offers a pace that facilitates this learning to listen. You will spend more time breaking down poses and figuring out alignment so that you feel empowered to choose what works for you and what doesn't.

Reconnect Your Roots

The phrase "approach your practice with a beginner's mind" is heard often in a yoga class. If you are serving yourself for that exact moment in your day, then nothing you've done before on your mat and nothing that's to come really matters. Yes, your experiences are in your fibres and lend to how you operate, but when you cross the threshold to your mat it can feel like the first time, every time. Revisiting a beginner class can be a good reminder of this very foundation; to start fresh and reconnect with those original roots. Humility is one of the most tender offerings of yoga. begninner yoga 1


Yogalife Studios offers a variety of classes suitable for beginners. Check out Warm Foundation Flow, Beginner's Hot Flow, or Hatha Foundations to get a good base to move from.

View our full schedule!

We are also offering a 5-week registered Beginner Yoga course with Michelle Chung. This course is for those that have little or no experience to the practice of yoga. The registered classes will introduce you to fundamental postures (asana), breath work (pranayama) and the connection of breath and movement together (vinyasa), in a comfortable atmosphere with new yogis alike. Each week will be a progression in order to safely open up the body and build a solid foundation in the practice of yoga. Props will be used to help create space in the body, postures will be broken down to show proper alignment in order to prevent injury and emphasis will be given on breath and core control to help strengthen the body. Space will be limited so that new students will get the attention they need. Students should be able to easily go from standing to sitting on the floor and from sitting to standing.

Beginner Yoga - 5 Week Course with Michelle Chung Yogalife Studios South November 1 - December 6 || 2:30-3:45pm register here!

Foundation Friday | Prenatal Yoga

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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're sharing tips on prenatal yoga.  

Our post today comes from Emily NcNicoll (who you may remember from Monday), our prenatal-passionate yogalifer. This piece was written specifically for teachers and is equally important for an expecting yogi to understand the limits of her body and practice.

 


 Pregnancy in Yoga by Emily McNicoll


 

Although it can be intimidating to have a pregnant lady walk into your class, it is a wonderful chance to serve a woman that is going through a lot of change and would likely appreciate your support. Remember that knowledge is power and keeping educated with simple guidelines can make a big difference to your teaching experience and the way in which you serve your community.

 

Just like asking people about injuries, being informed about a pregnant woman in class is important. A simple “If you’re pregnant, come have a chat with me before class starts” is a good way to let a woman know she is seen and cared for by her teacher. Also, talking with front desk staff at the studio can be a good way to stay informed. Knowing the basic do’s and don’ts about practicing yoga while pregnant is a great way to build confidence as a teacher and a great service to all potential students.

 


Things to keep in mind and at heart:


Pregnant women produce high levels of a hormone called Relaxin. One of the roles that this hormone has is allowing for the ligaments around the pelvis to relax therefore allowing the bones of the pelvis to shift for childbirth. In terms of any exercise that involves stretching, it is very important for a pregnant woman to stay away from acute sensation in her joints (i.e knees) as Relaxin can make her ligaments and tendons more susceptible to injuries than a person who is not pregnant. My advice to the woman is to engage firm foundation of hands and feet (hasta and pada bhanda,) avoid hyperextension, and ease away from any painful sensations.

 

Pregnancy tends to induce heat in the body as it is literally working to grow life. With this in mind, encouraging woman to ask the teacher to cool down the room when she is feeling too hot is really important. A cooler room is often a relief to a pregnant woman as her internal temperature is high. I often bring a sweater when I teach prenatal so all the woman can remain comfortable, myself included!

 

Just like paying close attention to painful sensations and her own temperature, encouraging a pregnant woman to set her own pace and listen to her body is important. Teaching modified postures first and then offering more challenging variations is a great way to allow a woman to empower herself with choice. One day she meets her mat she may be up for a lot of physical challenge and the next day it could be different. This is why as a teacher being educated in modifications and prop use is really important.

 

When a woman asks about other classes that she can attend, going through a studios schedule with her and advising her of a few “don’ts” is really important. Here are the things she should know when exploring her yoga practice:

 

Always talk to the teacher before class to inform them of the pregnancy.

 

No hot or warm yoga. As explained above, a pregnant womans body temperature is on the rise. It is important not to aggravate this further. Also, pregnancy is thought to be a good time to introvert and build the bodies energy. Hot yoga can easily exhaust energy reserves which are needed for childbirth and being a mother. This is another great reason to encourage a woman to go at her own pace as only she will truly know what she’s feeling and her own personal needs.

 

No core yoga. A little bit of core engagement is encouraged (like 20-25% of her capacity) as it helps to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor and support her spine and hips. A core yoga class would not be recommended.

 

No arm balances. Unless a woman already has a strong inversions practice, staying away from arm balances is a safe bet. The risk of her falling out of the posture must be considered. Keeping her and her child safe is obviously important. Likewise when doing one legged balancing postures. Pregnant woman should be encouraged to use a wall when getting into and out of the poses with the option to play with taking hands off the wall. Some women find their balance to be way different when they are pregnant and the wall is there for her safety.

 

No deep twists. Gentle twists are a great way to lengthen and restore the spine but deeper twists with core engagement are a great way to encourage elimination. Keeping a soft lower belly and lots of room for the uterus is important.

 


A couple other things to consider:


The feet in forward folds should be a little wider than hip distance apart. In the beginning stages of pregnancy it will leave space for the womb and with in the later stages it will be the best way to accommodate the babies growth.

 

In the second and third trimester laying flat on her back is not recommended. The baby can put pressure on the mothers aorta (a main artery) and cause loss of blood flow to the brain and heart. Modifying reclined postures like savasana with bolsters is a good way to keep her more upright. You can also recommend resting on the LEFT side with a bolster between the thighs and one under her head. The left side is important due to the position of the aorta.

 

Know your oils! Some essential oils can cause uterine contractions. If you’re using oils in class be aware of the contraindications and when in doubt, don’t use them.


If you're interested in prenatal classes at Yogalife Studios, please get in touch with us at info@yogalifestudios.ca or by calling either of the studios.

Our next round of prenatal yoga classes start December 4th at Yogalife Studios South with Sara Cueva and December 5th at Yogalife Studios North with Emily McNicoll.

 

Learn to Fly: This Saturday with Sara Cueva

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This weekend, Yogalife Instructor and Karma Coordinator (and co-host of our current Instagram challenge!) Sara Cueva is leading her popular Arm Balances and Inversions workshop at Yogalife South. Check out the video we shot with Sara last year to learn a little more about why she's so passionate about taking flight within yoga practice—and gain some insight into the goodies you'll learn in Saturday's class!

Arm balances and inversions with Sara from Yogalife Studios on Vimeo.

Learn to Fly with Sara Cueva runs this Saturday, September 6th at Yogalife South from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Sign up here.

Guest Teacher Lisa Cohen

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Yogalife Studios South is excited to welcome guest teacher Lisa Cohen, joining us from Arizona.  

Lisa will be leading Melissa's Ashtanga class this Sunday June 29th at 12:30pm.

 

A little bit from Lisa:

 


Yoga came into my life when my father and sister took me to their Ashtanga yoga teacher, Anthony "Prem" Carlisi, in 1998. I did Primary series, all of Primary series in my first class. I couldn’t move after class or the week after. I was humbled. I knew that I would practice yoga for the rest of my life. I didn’t know that I would teach, but Prem passed the torch to me when he moved away. After 15 years on the mat, I am still a lifelong student, still humbled  and still in-love with the Practice.

 

Yoga opened me up to many ways of seeing and learning, communicating and growing. Yoga is opening, loving and evolving. Yoga is an ego corrective experience. Finding yoga has helped me practice gratitude everyday in every way.

 

My class is appropriate for all students willing to try something new and step out of what they might think is possible, ordinary or routine. With guidance and love I try to challenge each student while nourishing the body with breath and awareness and clarity of alignment.


 

To learn more about Lisa visit her site  www.flowinwithcohen.com See you Sunday!