Friday, 16 November 2012

Why Yoga and Why Yoga Teacher Training

Five years ago I was working at a job that I had lost my passion for, I had this constant noise in my head that wouldn't turn off which brought out more negativity than normal.  The same advice was being given to me by my friends, mentors and career coach – What do you love?  Find something you Love and you won’t have to work a day in your life right?  Listing what I didn't love was easy but I struggled with what do I love?  What would recharge me both mentally and physically instead of draining me?
I started taking yoga four years ago at my workplace. The instructor’s passion for yoga was contagious.  Her willingness to share the challenges she experiences in her own practice enabled me to be more forgiving of myself.  I love the feeling of peace and contentment that come from practicing yoga.  I felt strong both mentally and physically.  I could have the crappiest day at work and after yoga class I would have a smile on my face.  When the breath and postures align during my practice it is one hour of true peace.  The emphasis on breathing as you move in and out of postures helps quiet my mind. I am not always successful but I aim to embrace the yogic philosophy of compassion and patience and accept I am a work in progress.
The idea of teaching yoga came from a comment in passing from my yoga instructor.  Teach yoga?  Why not?  I love yoga and share my joy of yoga with everyone I meet.  The idea was germinated.  Find something you love right? 
After a few years of taking yoga classes I decided to take yoga teacher training and as happens in life found a new job that has renewed my passion which makes it easier to go to work in the morning.
Year one of teacher training is almost over and minus the stress of the testing weekend coming up, I have enjoyed learning about the subtle details of the poses and attempting poses I wouldn’t dream of doing myself and working outside my comfort zone.  The variety of classes offered at the YCW has given me a more balance yoga experience which has flowed over into my personal and professional life.  What could be better than that? 

Beverly Wood

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Middle Way

Since birth I have been drawn to ‘the middle way’. A Libra, and a middle child in a “mixed” marriage, I guess I was pre-disposed.

What is the Middle way?

I guess it depends who you ask.

The phrase “everything in moderation” immediately comes to mind. It is a favorite saying of mine and many people I know. In general, I believe it is a healthy adage to live by, but  sometimes it is also necessary to be moderate in ones pursuit of moderation!!!

Buddhism is often called ‘the middle path’ or ‘way’. While not a Buddhist, I do follow the teachings and writings of many who are. The interpretation that speaks to me is mindfulness; responding to what is happening in the moment, rather than from dogma, habit, or preconditioned expectations.  

The Buddhist intention: not too much attachment or too much aversion also comes to mind. Awesome intention- but hard to put into daily life!!!!

Yoga also is often perceived to be a middle of the road practice as well with its emphasis on acceptance and not-attachment. Yet, the path of yoga can be quite extreme in its requirements, depending on how the teachings are interpreted. In addition, different styles of yoga often contradict each other when it comes to alignment or what is recommended on a particular path of healing. Many of my yoga teachers over the years have been definite in their beliefs and protocols and yet very few of these wise and well respected people actually agree on what those protocols are.

This just strengthens my belief in the middle way!!!
Each one has something brilliant to offer. My job is to listen to my own inner wisdom and discern which is right for me. That being said, others would say that I am watering down wise teachings- that in order for transformation to occur you must you pick a path and stick to it. 

 Which voice to follow?

There is a popular Buddhist teaching that says: if two students are walking down the road- one will be told, go a little to the left and the other a little to the right. This teaching is a teaching on the middle way- Both  instructions are accurate for what is necessary in that moment for each individual and include the recognition that to bring the whole system into balance- what is required in the moment may not feel like a to move towards centre.
It is common to encounter resistance and uncertainty when we are asked to change a pattern or a habit. Often the recommended steps feel quite dramatic or extreme- they feel out of balance. A great example is learning Tadasana. When most of us first learn how to stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) it feels foreign, and off centre- when in reality the sensation is the body getting used to a new equilibrium.

Knowing that change feels strange-how do we know if an uncomfortable feeling is an old familiar patterns causing resistance or something genuinely not for us!!??

Sometimes checking things out with a trusted teacher or friend can be helpful and necessary.

Ultimately we can develop the capacity to follow our own inner wisdom by continually returning to the present moment- and checking in

·         pause 
·         tune into the surroundings
·         feel the breath 
·         feel the body sensations
·         open to the wisdom of the body and the moment
·         rest
The result is a few moments of presence, a brief opportunity to connect to our own experience within the larger whole. 
From here the path may be clear. In my experience rather than a definitive answer, I encounter a greater willingness to be okay with uncertainty. 
I am more likely to accept the situation and move forward from a place of curiosity and compassion instead of doubt and fear: to walk the middle way.



Friday, 14 September 2012

A Change is Gonna Come

one more from the YCW Teachers in Training 

In our fast paced  world, where everything has to be faster better stronger, where we all are  very result oriented, yoga doesn’t really fit, why choose yoga as an activity of your choice when you can lift weights, run, play sports and see results and accomplishments bright, clear and fast?
I must say, these were exactly my thoughts, the classic, ill start yoga for stretching, and hey if I learn to balance on one finger, that’s a bonus!!
It wasn’t till 3 years after I started practicing that I realized, something amazing is happening, I started noticing those oh so very subtle changes in my mood, energy levels, attitude and in my body, things just became....... well...... better, the biggest difference is all of my aches and pains from running and lifting weights went away, I didn’t even notice when it happened, just know that the pain in my knees and lower back that I have struggled with since I was 14 were gone.
When this aha yoga moment happened (notice that yoga moments are actually 3 yearlong LOL)  I knew there and then, I need to learn more about this amazing discipline and culture, so teachers training program was the natural thing to do. When the realization happened my heart was pounding like crazy all  I could think of is – I need to go to there!!!!! Clearly I didn’t know about pranayama breathing back then! 
Till this day, yoga amazes me in its subtle power and strength, the slightest miniscule adjustments make a great difference, all you need to do is learn to listen to yourself be honest about your capabilities, and well, be patient.
Yoga changes you on every level, not just the hot yoga booty everybody are talking about, the change is coming from within, therefore it takes time for it to surface. But when it does, you know that there is nothing like it, it gives you wholesomeness, connects your body and mind, helps you to feel grounded and stable, and not just for tree pose but for all your life’s positions.

Now I love hearing ‘ oh yoga is for stretching’ it means that I can tell the wonderful yoga story again, and maybe, just maybe bring one more person to a studio, take a step back and observe how their eyes just open.

Can’t wait to become a teacher and watch the magical yoga transformations happen right in front of my eyes.

Namaste everybody im going to get my – soon to be hot yoga booty on the mat for a morning practice”
Vera Rubin is a member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr Teacher Training Program

Monday, 3 September 2012

Coming Back

September always reminds me of the cycle of life.

It is a time of returning.

For some it is a loss. I have a friend who always experiences a tiny bit of grief over the end of summer. Definitely the days are getting shorter, the air a little crisper and the green starts to turn to yellow.

For me it is mostly an exciting time- a time of new beginnings and returning.  Maybe I am predisposed to see it that way- as a September babe- it literally is the New Year for me. But it’s the time of Jewish new year, and for so many the return to school.

In the yoga business, it means people coming back from holidays – rested, inspired, seeing faces we haven’t seen in months.

It is the start up of new programs and new possibilities! It never fails to surprise me how happy I am to get back in to my routine- to get fully involved in work. The same work and routine I was so grateful to have a rest from a few months ago. That is the beautiful thing about life it is always changing.

 At the same time September can feel overwhelming- especially if I forget to pause and enjoy the moment and the beauty of it all. There is so much to do so much more to be done!!!
Aak- the excitement can turn to anxiety!! On the one hand the change is inspiring, but only if I remember to breath and stay present.
As we come back into our daily routines and rhythms why not do so with consciousness, gratitude, and love. Times of change are also powerful times for transformation- even more so if we enter into it consciously and with intention.

Take a few moments to connect to what you are returning to.
Breathe and feel the beauty of this quiet moment- even if it is just one -with nothing to do.
Connect to what you love or value about your life.
What you want to cultivate, and what you want to leave behind.

Anytime you feel overwhelmed- try returning to the rhythm of the breath to the quiet beauty of this moment, and return to your life fully present ready for anything.

 Welcome back!!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Sacred Geometry

Yesterday was the last day of our summer intensive.

 It has been a very magical experience, a privilege to be a part of.

There is something about practicing together with a shared intention that is transformative in a way that is beyond words.

As a teacher it is awe inspiring to observe the commitment, willingness, and dedication of the participants. It is also humbling to watch bodies, minds, and spirits literally light up and transform as the week goes on.  It is an opportunity to see the unique beauty of each individual in the group and yet the sense that we are all mere particles of a larger reality is palpable. It is apparent that there is no “me” teaching anything –  just there to hold the space,  guide, and be witness to the transformation unfolding. 

Coincidentally during the intensive someone from a newspaper asked me what I thought about the popularization of yoga and how it had moved away from traditional spiritual practices of India.  I know he had a point but because I was in the midst of this amazing experience, the question seemed trivial.  The practice we were doing could be scrutinized as westernized by someone’s standards, but that does  not make it any less valid. What was happening in the yoga room was every bit as sacred and spiritual as what someone might learn in an ashram in India, and perhaps even more so.

Self awareness, acceptance, compassion, transformation, and joy are not limited to methodology, lineage, and they are certainly not limited to yoga. Still yoga as we know it is an opportunity to integrate the practices of the body mind and spirit. How deep a practice is ultimately depends upon what we bring to it.  This week was an opportunity to witness beings show up with love, courage, and a willingness to surrender to the divine flow of life.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympic Effort

With the opening of the London Olympics this past weekend it seems fitting to insert a blog relating to the Olympics.

The way yoga practioners veiw the Olympics ranges from believing they should be abolished to those are people trying to get yoga in as an Olympic sport.

Clearly yoga means different things to different people.

For me yoga is an inner practice, not measured by outside standards or judgments.  Right from the first class I attended the message was "this is not a competition"- that message has stuck with me. In my instructor training at Kriaplu Centre, the message was again- allowing, accepting, trusting  and learning to "just be".  Life is full of  places where we feel we must be the best, or live up to expectations. It is refreshing, and powerful to have something that is done for its own sake that helps us connect to our true nature.

This does not mean  yoga is an opportunity to go to sleep. Following specific alignment instructions help a person stay injury free in a posture. Those instructions can also help get you into a pose you could not access on your own. Focusing our attention on specific instructions or attempting different and challenging poses are ways of waking up our awareness and  learning to be present to life's difficulties.

Of course there are people whose practice is awe inspiring and we want to emulate, but the journey is to recognise that and refocus our awareness back to what is true for us. Most of us who practice yoga struggle with wanting to be the best, do it right, or to please the teacher.... in my opinion turning yoga into a competition only feeds that side of our nature.

That being said the path to becoming an Olympic level athlete shares some essential elements of the yoga path. In particular I am referring to what Patanjali call the 3 supports: Tapas, Svadyaya, and Ishvara Pranidhana. 

1) Tapas: is sometimes translated as burning zeal, and physical discipline.  Not only are both the Olympic athlete and the traditional yogi deeply committed to the practice of their sport but all the related physical practices – rest, diet, etc. This kind of discipline requires what the yogis sometimes call burning zeal -an almost obsessive passion- without it the Olympic dream would not be reached. For most yogi’s the tapas is usually for health or oneness with our true nature, with so many people practicing yoga  I believe it is but ultimately it is an individual question- what inspires and motivates us to get to a class  or to do our own practice!?

 2) Svadhyaya: It is usually translated as self study. It refers to the inner work, study of your own patterns and nature as well as the study of the masters/teachers who have gone before you. For the modern Yogini this may involve studying sutras (ancient writings on the path of yoga) or simply studying with a teacher. It also involves a willingness to look at our inner experience with curiosity and kindness.

3) Isvara-pranidhana Faith, Surrender, Grace. This can also be translated as presence. Despite the hard work,  practice and the inner preparation, when it comes down the competition, an Olympic athlete must be fully present to the task at hand- which ultimately involves a letting go. As an observer it appears that it is also a case of grace that allows one person to finish a fraction of a second ahead of another and become “the best”in the world.
For the yogi it is through attention to the breath, and body that we come into presence (even  if it is only for a moment). In this place we may connect to our true nature, and a feeling of oneness with all that is. The result is that we gradually learn to live our lives as if each moment was as precious as winning an Olympic gold medal!


Thursday, 19 July 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Yoga

Reading about the experiences of others in the Teacher Training program, I must admit that I am somewhat envious of the early exposure to yoga that some individuals received. My household was more of a Jane Fonda workout kind of environment and the only thing my mother ever told me about yoga was that she had tried it once and found it incredibly boring (ironically, she became a convert to the joys of yoga about a year ago).

As a result of my lack of early exposure to yoga, I did not encounter and experiment with it until my early twenties. And I am somewhat abashed to admit that it was mainly a matter of economy that originally brought me to the yoga mat instead of some other form of exercise. At the time, I was a cash-strapped young person and most of the studios offered a free first class. Well, the word “free” had a Pavlovian effect on my friends so the next thing I knew, I was buying an only slightly irregular pair of discount sweatpants (I’m pretty sure this was before the term “yoga pants” had been coined) and hitting a circuit of introductory classes.

As I visited a variety of studios and experienced a few different styles of yoga, I felt my interest building and there is one class in particular that stands out for me. The instructor had asked us to lay on our back with the bottoms of our feet pressed into the wall. She then had us do a series of stretches with one of the legs and then place our feet back against the wall. What I discovered upon doing this was that one of my legs now actually seemed longer than the other. I was amazed at this. It made me feel like I had some sort of control over my body – a sensation that I had little familiarity with at that point.

Throughout the years, yoga was always in my life but always on the back burner. I never had enough time to go to classes, enough money; it didn’t fit into my schedule etc. Then as my life became more hectic, more filled with work and kids and stress, I realized that yoga needed to be brought forward to the front burner. Only by making a practice such as yoga a priority would I be able to gain back a feeling of control over my life. By making my practice a priority, I was making my self a priority.

It is my hope that through teaching, I will be able to help others to find the love of yoga and the connection with their true selves that I myself have experienced. Don’t get me wrong: my personal practice still has a long ways to go. But helping others to strive for deeper and more complete poses without “pushing” themselves will also help me to be kinder and more forgiving of myself, I believe.

As of this fall, I will be starting a volunteer position teaching a Beginner’s class at a local Family Centre. It is an undertaking about which I feel excited, but also very nervous.  However, in the same way that I knew it was time to pursue my interest in yoga more seriously, I know that it is now time to step forward and give teaching a try. For if there is no progress forward, then there is only stagnation, inertia, and ultimately, discontent. If I hadn’t donned those irregular, discount yoga sweats so many years ago then I would never have learned how much I love yoga and, likewise, unless I give teaching a try, I’ll never know if it’s something that works for me.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Catch My Breath

One morning four months ago, I woke up to a terrible noise. Off in the distance, massive bulldozers were tearing down the forest in our backyard. Without a word of warning, the neighbor had decided to clear cut the property bordering our yard. When the snow melted, the newly revealed devastation was overwhelming; the land lay gouged and strewn with deadfall too small to be of use for pulp processing.  I could not begin to fathom the loss of life- the trees, animals and our connection to Earth.

How shall I maintain my composure and balance over the upcoming years as the logging project marches toward the scheduled date when large tracts of land shall be harvested all around us? Vrksasana pose has become more difficult.

The yoga mat is my ballast when I can no longer focus. I broaden  the collarbones and descend the shoulderblades to recreate space and release the muscles adducting my heart. I practice breathing. After all these years of practice, why is it still so hard to breathe?

Where would I be without my mat? Yoga is my companion, my teacher. And yes, I know the forest will grow back eventually. Meanwhile I need to practice patience, balance and breathing.

By Heidi Martin
Heidi is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

An Alignment Practice-Journey from Student to Teacher

Trikonasana – Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

It’s a beautiful spring morning as I enter the sunny yoga studio on Grosvenor Street.  I’m greeted with cheerful good mornings as I take an Angel Card: “Alignment”.  I frown.  Not quite as inspirational as I would have hoped.  I find a pen and sign my name onto the studio list.  “You write your name as if you were left handed.” My yoga teacher observes.  “I am left-handed.”  I reply.  And relate the quirky story of how I came to write with my right hand.  In kindergarten my teacher took on the arduous task of teaching 29 children (all armed with scissors) to cut along a straight line.  “Raise the hand you like to use best!”  She asked us.  29 little hands went up, 2 of which were left.  “I think it would be easier for this exercise if you were all right handed.”  And then I was!  Not only am I naturally left-handed; I am also naturally very compliant.

Trikonasana – Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

“Ha. Ha.”  Says my yoga instructor.  “It just goes to show that you cannot suppress your true nature.”  I’m not sure if she remembers this exchange but I do… It made me want to be a yoga instructor.

Trikonasana –Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

We moved a lot as kids, every few years.  It was sort of uncomfortable but mostly fun.  Each time we moved it gave us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.  I would be better this time, more fun, less serious.  I should have new clothes; a new hair cut.  I liked to move.  I probably shouldn’t have married a Winnipegger.  They will tell you they will move but it’s not true.  They are family people.  Grounded.  That’s why I fell in love; but staying is still hard.

Trikonasana – Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

What does it mean to continue practicing the same poses day after day on a mat that is barely as long as you are tall?  What does it mean to raise a family in a community that doesn’t let you forget?  To shop in the same stores and speak with the same people.  The body remembers – the people remember – and somehow you remember too.  The movements become less grand the adjustments more subtle.

Trikonasana – Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

Yoga has taught me to be still, to be present, to ground, to move honouring my natural curves.   When I make a mistake on the mat I have to return and face the consequences the next day.  There is no running from the self.  And as the alignment becomes more refined the adjustments become subtle I find myself returning home.  I return to my mat day after day because it reminds me to return to my life day after day.  To face my mistakes, the people I love and the life that I work to create.

Trikonasana – Virabhadrasana – Parsvakonasana

Sarah  Swanson
Sarah is a member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg  200hour Teacher Training Program

Monday, 25 June 2012

Evolution in Yoga Evolution in Me

By Kim Nelson

I remember as a child my thoughts of yoga as intriguing and mysterious. As I got older these ideas evolved into a vision of yoga involving standing on one’s head, sitting in the same position for extended periods of time and mental concentration exercises that led to an intangible experience called meditation.

 I knew there was more to it. I just didn’t know what it was. Eventually, armed with uncertainty and unfamiliarity, I ventured into my first yoga class. What first struck me most was that in a roomful of people, I could find my own place of privacy, solace, peace and profound silence. I never thought that I’d find that among other people. To me, that was something that could only occur if I was alone with no external stimuli. If I was perhaps in a bubble or if I had learned the mysterious, elusive art and science of meditation.

Yet, here I was having an experience different than my preconceived notions. There was something to this. It reached me and so began my journey. Almost five years later, I’m still practicing yoga, still learning and it still reaches me, still challenges me to know myself and to be true to myself.

Here are some of the things I have learned along the way. I can breathe. I can be quiet and still and be with myself. I can listen. I can become aware. I can feel. I can understand. I can surrender and let go. I can really breathe. I can be.

Our physical bodies are inextricably connected to our entire being in this human experience. I did not always believe this. Practicing the physical postures of yoga was my starting point to tuning into myself in a new way, opening doors to self awareness that had been closed.

Yoga has certainly branched out in a myriad of directions from its Sanskrit roots dating back thousands of years ago to the Sutras, the Upanishads and the Vedas. It has been through an evolution and continues to evolve. Yet what remains constant is its essence, what it always was, a path of discovery, a way to connect to who we really are and the divinity from which we all come. Namaste

Kim Nelson is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Finding Peace in a Busy World

 I have just read the article “Busyness Plan” by Sally Kempton and completely related to her message on so many levels.  Ms. Kempton makes the point that we are often addicted to busyness in our “capitalist” society and frame of minds.  She offers insight into finding the spaciousness in the gap between time and timeless.  That perfectly blissful and peaceful place where you experience just “being”.  She goes on to explain that activity is fine and essential but our state of mind while engaged in an activity can be peaceful.  As in the story about the two monks, one scolds the other for sweeping instead of meditating.  The other’s reply is, “you should know that there is one inside who is not busy”. 

Accessing this is the key to bliss.  It reminded me of my life lately.

I have always valued busyness.  My family, culture and ego have always promoted and responded to busyness.  It is a state of being that was ingrained and learned through proud comments of, “oh, I’ve been so busy today” or “today I worked on this, this and this, made supper, took the kids to swimming and painted the bathroom”.  I have learned that being busy is a desirable, sought-after trait and way of being.  I have been conditioned with the praise and adulation that follows a statement of “I’ve been so busy…”  However, as I grew older and my children became more self-sufficient and eventually moved out on their own, I discovered I was burnt out emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I was a mom, worked full time, took university courses, managed my home, volunteered for everything, had my boys in as many activities as we could cram into a week and thrived on the busyness of it all. It wasn’t until I realized when life slowed down that my state of health was a mess.  I had anxiety, panic attacks, stomach problems, irritability,  jealousy, anger, illogical fears, unhappiness, illness and unbelievable exhaustion.  I was DONE! 

I had been living on a diet of caffeine, sugar and adrenaline.  My  adrenaline switch had no off button.  Out of desperation I began looking at myself, my patterns, habits, diet, and recognized a deep inner longing for peace, ease, relaxation and wholeness.  This process of discovery took me to naturopathic doctors, alternative healers, informal group therapy and study groups, psychics, card readers, past life regressions, traditional doctors, exercise routines, more self-help books then I can count and eventually yoga.  I felt such a strong calling to do yoga.  My body craved it.  As I began to practice at home to DVD lessons, my state of being began to alter.  Eventually this search for peace took me through a 2 year detox, a new way of eating, and accidently an experiment in which, out of desperation, I left my ego behind and found a new point of view I called “the observer”.  This brought me so much peace it was quite incredible the first time I “left my body” and viewed a stressful situation from this position of detachment. From this perspective I  had clarity and calmness.  I was rational and thoughtful. I was kinder, more patient, wiser and more in-tune with what was happening.  Essentially, my ego got out of the way and the “one inside me who is not busy” was allowed to be present.

Accessing this state of being is a constant learning curve.  I am more aware of the times I enter this state without effort.  These are the times I am totally engaged in an activity and lose all sense of time.  This is a blissful place to be.  The first time I experienced this sense of timelessness was in childbirth.  It is an incredible experience. A day could have passed, an hour, a minute I had no sense of time just “being”.  I longed for this experience to happen again but never achieved it until I began to practice yoga and learn more about the ego and detachment.  Since this time I  have experienced this state doing more mundane activities such as cleaning my house, writing, painting, doing yoga, working in the garden, and talking with a friend.  When time is irrelevant you know you have entered a place of peace.

I have dabbled with meditation but at this point I am not practicing it regularly.  I have good intentions of beginning this practice and more fully developing a yogic state of being.  Since I have been practicing yoga and taking the teacher training I have had many friends, colleagues and family comment on how calm I am.  How nice to hear after being tormented by the ego and filled with anxiety and exhaustion. 

I see the way I was living in others on a daily basis.  I wish I could sit them down and tell them to take a time-out, breath and leave their ego behind. But I know we all have to find our own way in our own time.  When the opportunity arises to discuss peacefulness I share my story and encourage friends and acquaintances to experiment with going to the place of the observer or “the one who is not busy”.  When accessed it is  pure bliss!  Now I can say with confidence I am a happier person and she’s always been there, lost in the gap.

My wish for all who read this is the opportunity to access their place of peace. 

Namaste, Elaine

Elaine K. is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

On Yoga

Then the  Yoga teacher training assignment  came forth and said.... Speak to us of Yoga.
And the student answered ,saying: Yoga is a freedom song,
But is not freedom,It is a blossoming of ones self
But... it is not the fruit
It is a depth calling unto a height,
But.... it is not the deep nor the high
It is the confined taking  wing
But.... it is not a space encompassed
Yes,In very truth it is a freedom song
 The human  body knows it's yearnings,and its rightful need,and will not be decieved.
 And my  body is the harp of my soul,
 And it is mine to bring forth sweet music
  from it ,or confused sounds
I go  to my field and my garden
And have learned  that it is the joy of the bee to gather honey from the flowers
But it is also the  joy of the flowers to yield its honey to the bee
As a yoga student growing in her  practise, I am not unlike the flower and the bee--

Laura Lysenko

Laura Lysenko is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Yoga in Italy

Jan and I just returned back from leading a yoga trip in Italy.
The destination was an 800 year old farm house in the Tuscan Hills.

 23 people joined us in the journey, our ages ranged from early 40’s to early 80s. It was, as they say, the trip of a lifetime. The people, the places, every moment was amazing. 

Each person on the trip was touched by something different: The food, the wine, the flowers, the history, the art, the culture, the shopping.  There is so much to say. I could fill pages, but this is a yoga blog so that is where I will start and end.

The reason I am drawn to yoga is the journey. Every yoga pose and every meditation session is an opportunity to explore an inner landscape as vast as the outer world.

The reason Jan and I have started to offer yoga trips is to provide an opportunity to explore the outer world, with the added benefit of the yoga practice to focus and enhance the journey.

On our trip to Italy I was reminded how clearly the outer journey also enhances the inner. Experiencing the depth and beauty of the world around brought me into a balance of my own body mind and spirit held in the body mind and spirit of the world.

Each day the group came together for yoga at 6:30 am.  We met in an awesome room that was once a stable, but now a lovely yoga space.  While the transformation from stable to yoga room is relatively recent, the sense of time and history was palpable to us as we rested on the uneven floor boards. 

Donkeys and horses regularly stood at the window looking in. Perhaps they too have a sense of history and wondered what we were doing in their space. Or maybe they were drawn to the energy of communion and peace they felt emanate from the room. The morning yoga practice was an opportunity for our group to come together, to stretch, to strengthen and to prepare body and mind for the day ahead. Each evening the group came together again for a restful practice, an opportunity to give body, mind, and spirit, a chance to integrate the day’s events.
For me the most profound yoga was experienced in the in between hours, when we were off the mat.  Every day we all hopped into little vans and headed off to explore the spectacular Italian countryside on our way to yet another hill top Etruscan village.

The countryside was hilly, filled with the vivid greens of the various crops that includes olive groves and wine groves. Other green fields were dotted with red poppies, and beautiful yellow and purple flowers. The beauty of the landscape inspires me to source out my own inner beauty and offer it out, and to invite others to do the same.

Each village visited had its own magic. Quite possibly the magic came from a loving attention to detail demonstrated every where you looked. In the way the flowers hang from the balconies against ancient stone walls, beautiful artwork visible everywhere you turn, exquisitely fashioned  clothes, shoes and bags, or the enticing gelati, cheese, and wine displays.  
As someone who easily tires of details, Italy inspired me to begin to bring such caring appreciation to my own life- to slow down and patiently, lovingly attend to what is in front of me, for its own sake.

While the yoga practice at times emphasizes sense withdrawal,  and one reason is to help us attune to the subtleties that exist. Italy is a delight to the senses- an invitation to appreciate the subtle nuances along with the not so subtle!-Drink it all in! Taste! Feel! Breathe! Italy inspires us to live fully.

There is so much to absorb and experience, you cannot help but be fully in the moment and at the same time profoundly aware of an ancientness beyond words and a future is limitless.

This is yoga at its best.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Looking at the World Upside Down

“Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant---”
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind--

Emily Dickinson        c. 1868

I love this poem by Emily Dickinson.  For me, she is saying that at some point in our lives, when we are ready and open, we will  be dazzled by the light of a right alignment with our world. A kind of getting right with the light.  Until we have capacity to comprehend and life experience to inform our views, we are best served by taking in information in gentle digestible bits.  Chunking it down.  Swallowing the elephant - one bite at a time.  Of course, life can throw curve balls, and the lessons are lived and learned at lightening speed.  Assuming one is not blinded by a direct hit of lightening, what can be meant by “the Truth’s superb surprize”? 

I have been taking classes at the Yoga Centre Winnipeg for the past four years.  Last year, I decided, it was time to take the plunge and enrolled in the Teacher Training Program.  Did I want to teach?  Perhaps.  Did I want to learn more about the path of yoga?  Absolutely.

I had retired from a fulfilling career in human resources.  Sure, I was trained to mediate, but could I meditate? I knew how to utilize personality preference systems such as MBTI but could I make sense of the Elements of Yoga (fire, air, earth, water, space) that the yogis favoured?   I wasn’t looking for a new job.  Facing facts - I was no spring chicken, as my mother would have phrased it.  I did not think I would or could build up to not so gentle Vinyasa or fire breathing Ashtanga classes.

I had felt very body conscious when I first started participating in beginner classes.  I did not get the concept of being on the mat, in my own space, that everyone was taking classes for their own reasons, relaxation, exercise, or socializing.  That people, generally, did not notice you, that they were so wrapped up in their own lives.  The studios were kept fairly dark.  After a few of months of beginner alignment and relaxation classes, I decided to “graduate” myself to a beginner flow class.  Before class, I ran into a former work colleague.  I mentioned to her how it was my first flow class and that I did not have a clue about how it would go and how ridiculous I might look trying, for the first time, to move fairly rapidly from pose to pose.  Her response spoke to her modesty and kindness: “when I am in class, I am so focussed on my own practice and that I rarely notice anyone or anything else in the studio”.  How pathetically egotistical I felt.  Of course, she was right.  She was all about being present in the yoga moment. 

Entering the studio for a yoga practice is about entering a special space that has been intentionally cordoned off from the mundane world, to invite you to bring your awareness into the moment, to still your mind.  Big Lesson: this is all about you (emphasis added).

Of course, the ego never lets up.  I wondered why it was that some people seem to move readily into what seemed to me to be complicated poses. I felt very frustrated that I could not kick up into head stand - or understand the euphemism of “float up” into the pose.  I felt my earthiness as I crumpled to the right in a spastic heap to the floor, my heels never making it up the wall. I was experiencing the inkling of the pose, but it was experienced in a truly “slant” manner, to paraphrase Dickinson, and pun intended.

One day, half a year ago, I made it up the wall and felt my heels contact the wall as I fully inverted.  Success.  The ego was satisfied.  Even for only 5 seconds. I notice when I think that it is force that will carry me up the wall, I do not succeed.  When I surrender to the breath, align my limbs, I am up the wall almost effortlessly.  Some days, I “float” up, and other days, I require a few tries before inverting.  I still ruminate on this pose - the ego knows no bounds!

I think it is safe to say that, not unlike the child in Dickinson’s poem, I am being dazzled gradually by the brilliance of the yoga practise and the surprizes/gifts of the teachings I am honoured to receive. 


Nancy M. is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Teaching my first Spring Sadhana

Last year while in teacher training, I saw the posting advertising Spring Sadhana. I was devastated that I could not attend because I live far away, so I instantly thought of teaching one myself.  I already had been teaching for a few years, I offered it to my class and they loved the idea. Then I realized that it had to be at 5:30 am to fit into their morning schedules, so I agreed and prepared to teach for 30 days straight.  I knew it would be an amazing experience and felt lucky for the opportunity.  The first day I was shocked that people were early and excited; it seemed much too dark and cold in April at that hour.  I made some tea, warmed up and taught a beginner level class.  Everyday I would make a new class for the next day, had to look up new ideas and poses. I learned so much.  As the days went on the classes lifted to another level. I taught everything I could and we were all stronger.  The students enjoyed meditation before and after class and we all felt closely connected, in love with the morning.  By the end I was so tired; I wished I had taken the weekends off to sleep in.  This year I am teaching another Spring Sadhana but in May and at 6:30 am so I can come home and start my day.  Not all the students can make it at this later time, but I know I need to take care of my body and mind. I'm also taking weekends off!  It will be 20 days instead of 30 days but it will still be wonderful and transformational.  I will do yoga, come home, play with my flowers, wake up my children, eat breakfast outside maybe, and then walk the children to school. It’s a beautiful morning. 

Lorissa Kowalchuk  

Lorissa Kowalchuk is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Averting the Gaze

Amazing how close is 'avert' to 'averse'…

Why withhold eye contact from neighbours? Why avert the gaze?

Here are some reasons:

Pair-bond Dynamics ---

Play it cool for other's sake;
Avoid the jealous other-other;
What if other shares attraction;
Giving one a chance to look.

Selfishness ---

Hope I'm not solicited;
I don't wanna talk to you;
Don't meet neighbours, build high fences;
Isolated suburbs, here.

Sketchiness / Emotional Toil ---

Inner self, I scream too loudly;
Lack of care or empathy;
Guilt & fear & real emotions;
Scared of being victimized.

Absorption in What I Do / Think ---

Lack of presence, mindfulness;
A space cadet lost beyond reach;
There's not room enough to list here;
Fill in blanks, your life is yours.

Non-Imposition / Respect ---

Giving others privacy, space;
It's the social norm 'round here;
No one's into people prying;
Or are we just conditioned such?

Meekness / Shying Away ---

fading away…

          ~ Cory

Cory Ash is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Transformative Power of Yoga

I was a driven Type A outside sales women who decided to open her own startup business 10 years ago.
Being more in control of my destiny and the ability to make things happen my way brought down my stress levels but I still felt an undercurrent of anger when I paid attention and heard myself on more than one occasion predicting the only thing that was going to take me out (of this world) was my stress levels.

I had celebrated my 50th birthday and thought, I have to at least try something that I will like to do and relieve some stress and anger.  I started trying different things and one was yoga.  I did it off and on, tried a few different studios and ended up at the Winnipeg Yoga Centre a couple of years ago.  That is where things really began to change.  There are many different teachers and many different styles of yoga to practice so when I began feeling a little restless with one there was always another class to try with another teacher. 

At first I thought, what a great workout, I feel more relaxed and practicing after work was the perfect way to shift into home life.  I found myself enjoying my evenings more and worrying or thinking about work less.  I also found I didn’t feel so burnt out which lead to less anger and stress.  Maybe I am on to something here.

As time went on I started noticing different things about myself, I began to examine old thought patterns and recognized that we all have a recording we play to ourselves that most times isn’t accurate or kind.  It can be anything but for me it was things like, this will never change or I don’t think I can do that (headstands) and just recognizing that helped me to stop those recordings and play kinder ones.

Now my body was getting stronger and my mind was getting stronger as well.  I wondered how I ever lived without yoga and where else I could go with it.  I decided to try the Teachers Training course and thought I would just do it for interest’s sake, I didn’t plan on teaching and I most definitely wasn’t going to stand on my head.  Well I learned if you quit resisting life it quits resisting you and now I not only stand on my head but actually find it enjoyable and I have started teaching classes.

I wake up many mornings and wonder “What is going to happen next?”  I’m excited.

In Peace

Brenda Parsons is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program

Monday, 30 April 2012

Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Just Be.

A lot of people say that Yoga makes them “feel good”. No matter what stress happens in my day or week, once I get in a Yoga room, lying on my mat, I already feel better. Once I hit the last Savasana of the class, an almost blissful feeling comes over me and stress has melted away. Now, there are many reasons that Yoga makes people feel good, but for me, I believe I can narrow it down to one: Presence.

One of my favorite quotes reads: “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present”. Yoga promotes breathing, moving and feeling everything in the present moment. No room for worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. It isn’t an easy task all the time, but, learning to remain present has taught me a lot in the Yoga room. It has taught me to be patient with myself when my arms shake in my arm balance. Compassion, when I feel frustrated. It forces me to feel vulnerable when I open my chest in bridge pose, but allows me to feel safe and supported by my own strength. It has shown me the benefits of moving outside my comfort zone and has encouraged me to try (insert ANY challenging pose), sometimes fail, and try again. It reminds me to let go in forward folds, and of any fears, expectations or outcomes. And then, in the last Savasana of the class, I am able to “just be” and stay present with the joy that comes over me.

Sandra McNeill 
 Sandra is a current member the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr Teacher Training Program.

If you are following this blog, you may have noticed that the recent posts have been from current members of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hr teacher training program.  The majority of posts, and perhaps all, in the next two months will be from them. They have been given an assignment to write a blog addressing something that inspires them in their yoga practice or teaching.   We thought it would be a great opportunity to feature different voices in the yoga community: some may inspire, some may provoke. Whatever the case, it is an opportunity expand our circle of awareness and embrace the symphony of others in our community

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Taking the Plunge


    “A ship in the harbour is safe, but that’s not what a ship is made for.” This is one of my mother-in-law’s favourite sayings. I use it often when giving advice to others. It was with this in mind that I agreed to teach my first yoga class.

    The moment I enthusiastically said yes, I began to doubt my decision. How could I be sure my ship was actually sea worthy? As with any yoga challenge, I first had to trust the wisdom and experience of my yoga instructor. She seemed to believe I was ready for this step. Next came the really challenging part; trusting myself. I had to believe that I had all the tools necessary to successfully complete this task. Besides, it’s just yoga, right?

    How to begin? What kind of class should I teach? Looking for inspiration thought about my own yoga instructors. What was it about their teaching methods that really connected with me? What kind of classes was I passionate about? I knew immediately what to do. I love it when my own practise becomes like a dance. I decided to develop a yoga flow class. I would built up an asana sequence that was repeated and added to several times, just like choreographing a dance .I would keep the poses simple and basic, gradually adding a few more challenging poses for the students to attempt if they were game. I tried to keep it light hearted and fun.  I felt happy about the class I had created. Was I really prepared? Again, I remembered my own teacher saying “trust yourself “. Time to take a breath and take the plunge!

   Turns out, you can’t be prepared for everything. When I arrived at the venue the morning of the class, I found myself locked out. Yikes!! After a few phone calls, I managed to get inside and calm myself. As the students began to arrive, a young woman came forward to tell me she was pregnant and I’m thinking “but I haven’t covered that in teacher training yet!”. As the class progressed I found that I became more and more confident. As I guided the students through the poses and I followed my own instructions, my own practise became calmer and more grounded. I was having fun! The students all seemed engaged and enthusiastic. I wasn’t prepared for the joy I felt at the end of the class. An unexpected gift.

    So it all worked out and I made it safely back to harbour. What a ride!!   

Deborah is in  the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr Teacher Training Program.

If you are following this blog, you may have noticed that the recent posts have been from current members of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hr teacher training program.  The majority of posts, and perhaps all, in the next two months will be from them. They have been given an assignment to write a blog addressing something that inspires them in their yoga practice or teaching.   We thought it would be a great opportunity to feature different voices in the yoga community: some may inspire, some may provoke. Whatever the case, it is an opportunity expand our circle of awareness and embrace the symphony of others in our community.

Friday, 20 April 2012

More from the teachers in training

If  you are following this blog,  you may have noticed that the recent posts have been from current members of the  Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hr teacher training program.  The majority of posts, and perhaps all, in the next two months will  be from  them.They have been given an assignment to write a blog addressing something that inspires them in their yoga practice or teaching.   We thought it would be a great opportunity to feature different voices in the yoga community: some may inspire, some may provoke. Whatever the case, it is an  opportunity expand our circle of awareness and embrace the symphony of others in our community.

Yoga Blog –   Review of “The Science of Yoga: the risks and the rewards” by William J. Broad (Simon and Schuster, 297 pages).

By Andy Park
Science has been described as organized skepticism.  By contrast, my dictionary defines belief as “a principle, proposition, or idea accepted as true, esp. without positive proof”.  In the protracted conflict between science and belief that began in the 17th Century, science, when done well, has trumped belief in every area of human endeavour.  It does not matter what you believe; if a well designed, replicated experiment says you are wrong, then so much the worse for belief.

Given the supremacy of scientific thinking in our age, you would think that people would welcome the guiding light that scientific study could bring to the practice of yoga.  Yet the controversy – frequently spilling over into hostility - that met a preview of William Broad’s “the Science of Yoga” was quite astonishing.  Perhaps because the preview article (in the New York Times) focused on the touchy subject of yoga injuries, it seemed to strike at the core of some strongly held beliefs about the safety of yoga.  Some responses to the article retreated into denial, while others suggested that there were too few data on injuries, and therefore, yoga is safe. 

But you can not prove a negative, and the absence of data on something doesn’t show that it is not happening.  I know from bitter experience that improper alignment can hurt you.  And respected teachers, such as Mark Stephens (author of “Teaching Yoga”) have noted the rising incidence of injuries, especially in hot yoga.  Broad notes two types of injury: the sudden “ouch” of a strained Achilles or shoulder muscle, typical of sports injuries, and the more insidious damage that can accumulate over decades of practice in challenging poses like headstands.  Data or no data, Broad records that leading teachers have been quietly modifying some of these poses to improve safety.

If “The Science of Yoga” was just about injuries, it would be a very boring and negative book indeed.  Fortunately, it is about a lot more than that.  In Broad’s words, he seeks to cut through the “frothy hodgepodge of public claims and assurances, sales pitches and new Age promises” to “discern what’s real and what’s not, what helps and what hurts – and nearly as important, why”.  And to a great extent, I believe he has succeeded in his aims.  As we are led through the scientific story of yoga, we learn, among other things, that the history of yoga is not quite what we might have thought it to be, and that some of the benefits are surprising. 

The origins of yoga turn out to be a sometimes seedy, sometimes criminal carnival of wondering showmen, with a side order of ritualized tantric sex.  The Twentieth Century saw yoga being both sanitized and investigated scientifically by a remarkable cadre of Indian yogis and physicians who trained the “gurus” who brought yoga to the west.  One of these men, Jagganeth G Gune, established both an ashram and a laboratory, where he did pioneering studies of the effects of yoga on blood pressure and of Pranayama on oxygenation of the bloodstream.  In the latter investigation, contrary to obstinate myth, Gune found that Pranayama did nothing to enrich oxygen supply.  Yet the oxygen myth has persisted, being repeated down the decades in the face of repeated experiments that confirmed Gune’s findings, demonstrating the pernicious power of belief in the face of facts.

The truth about oxygen, as in many scientific stories, is both more elegant and more complex than the myth.  Fast yogic breathing, it turns out depletes carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood, often producing feelings of exhilaration.  But it also reduces oxygen supply to the brain, and reduces mental acuity as a result.  Slow breathing, on the other hand, has the opposite effect, increasing CO2 in the blood, which in turn dilates the cerebral blood vessels, improving oxygen supply to the brain.  Voila; mental acuity improves.
I’ll take my practice with some Ujjayi breath and a state of calm alertness!

William Broad reports many other interesting benefits of practicing yoga.  We’ve all seen those seemingly ageless yogis or yoginis who are still kicking yogic ass in their sixties and seventies.  We’ve got some science for that.  It turns out that an hour of yoga per day can increase their stocks of telomerase, a crucial enzyme for the maintenance and repair of DNA, by up to 30 percent.  The researchers concluded that their findings had important implications for “cellular longevity, tissue renewal…and ‘increases in life span’ ”.  And yoga will not make you lose weight – some styles actually slow metabolism.  But the feeling of wellbeing that yoga engenders may stop you gong to the fridge for that midnight snack. 

The list of benefits goes on, but Broad finishes up pretty much where he started – that is, with sex.  Some yoga poses (you’ll have to read the book to find out which ones!) produce marked increases in testosterone, especially among females, which might partly explain yoga’s popularity with the girls!  Scientific investigations of couples learning yoga together have confirmed that it can improve both emotional and physical facets of relationships.  

The bottom line: science reveals yoga to be more interesting than all the hyperbole and New Age drivel with which modern society has burdened it.  And the science of yoga is only just beginning.  As Broad points out, yoga currently makes little contribution to formal health care because the science behind the benefits is not yet fully developed.  And some phenomena, like the creative spinoffs of Kundalini arousal, are still only poorly understood by science. 

Broad concludes that yoga is at a crossroads.  One path leads further into the foggy slough of New Age bafflegab and increasingly corporate yogis vying for “market share among the bewildered”.  The other path sees certified yoga teachers with a solid background in science and anatomy, playing an important role in societal well-being.  I know which path I’d like to follow.
Andy is a member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr teacher training program

Monday, 16 April 2012


By Andrea Robin

When people think of the word “intimacy”, they automatically associate it with romantic relationships. And it sends some people running for the hills. I have come discover that intimacy is an essential part of all close relationships. And while it isn’t always easy to do, it’s totally worth it. It involves making yourself open and vulnerable and allowing people to see who you really are. Tearing down any walls you’ve built up around you from past hurts and letting yourself be open to being hurt again. All in the name of love.

I had read some years ago, that if you cannot gaze into the eyes of the person that you are dating/married/ seeing/etc that there is something intrinsically wrong with that relationship. A lack of true intimacy. It doesn’t mean that relationship can’t be healed with a little (or a lot) of work, but both partners have to be willing to put in the time and effort. I’ve noticed in my Couples yoga classes, that during the asanas in which you are supposed to look into your partner’s eyes, so many couples are uncomfortable with it. As the weeks go on, some couples stop coming to class (granted, that could be for a variety of reasons). But for the couples that continue to come to class and work on looking into each other eyes, I can see a change in how they relate to each other. Both physically and in how they verbally communicate with each other.

I’ve noticed a change I myself since I’ve started practicing Partner yoga. I’ve been teaching it for a while, but teaching is not the same as experiencing. Experiencing the asanas and eye connection has made me a much better teacher and showed me that it’s safe to trust and open myself up to someone I barely know. I’ve sat in a position with my partner that would make most married couples blush. But because we already had a positive connection with each other, and are working at deepening our trust of each other, we understood what it was that we were doing. I felt safe. And I was able to open up to him, much quicker, in such a way that would have taken me months with other people.      

You don’t have to being doing Couple or Partner yoga for a deepening of intimacy to occur. You know how you sit with close friends when discussing something really important to one of you? You are very close to each other, possibly touching knees or hands, and really looking into their eyes so they know you are listening and understanding them? That’s how we should strive to talk to all our friends and family, all the time. Your children will feel heard and important. Your friends will be grateful for your advice and just being there for them. You will connect on a deeper level of understanding and love with everyone in your life.

Next time you are talking with your mom, dad, child, friend, lover or anyone you care about; make an effort to really look into their eyes and give them ALL your attention. Really listen to them and validate what they are saying. And then share a piece of yourself with them. If it is a positive, healthy relationship, you will both feel honored to have been the one to share that conversation with. Your sense of trust and communication will have deepened and your feelings of love will have grown with it. Be brave. Anything done with the intention of love can only result in a positive outcome, no matter what it is.       
Andrea is a member of the YCW 200hr Teacher Training program.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Overcoming Obstacles

By Marcie
I can’t say I loved yoga the first time I attended a class. After that first class I actually left the room thinking “what is all the fuss about?” Not someone to give up, I decided to give yoga another chance and from that second class on, I’ve been hooked. Yoga has changed my life in many ways, mainly by allowing me to completely step away from the demands of my life even if just for 90 minutes a day. My practice leaves me feeling rejuvenated, grounded, calm and at peace. Each day I find that what I am learning from my practice encompasses more of my life off my mat.

At the same time of filling my life with positive experiences, my yoga practice has at times been one of the most frustrating activities I’ve encountered.  They say yoga shouldn’t hurt, but when you live with chronic lower back pain, it’s been a practice in itself learning how to practice yoga without pain. Most postures didn’t cause discomfort, but any posture involving a backbend brought on pain and frustration. I would leave my mat often questioning “is the pain worth it?” Yet there was something that always brought me back to my mat. My challenge with working with my obstacle was finding the right balance. Initially I would push myself into the posture and attempt to breathe through the pain. It didn’t take me long to realize that approach wasn’t working so I avoided backbends all together but I found something was missing in my practice. What I needed to learn was how to practice backbends with my limitations.

It was this desire to learn more about my own personal practice that drew me to the teaching training program. Although I had practiced for 2 years prior to starting teacher training, I knew nothing about props and just how much they can help reduce limitations. I often recall the day I found details of the training program online just 3 days prior to the start of the training and I am grateful that I made the quick decision to apply and that they found room for me. I truly believe that had I not found the Yoga Centre I would no longer be practicing yoga as without all the knowledge I have gained though this program and the teachers, I would not have been able to overcome my obstacle.

For some, a posture like backbend through the chair brings joy, for me just the mention of the posture caused frustration. With the patience and guidance of my teachers, we have finally found what works for me. I have found the right balance that will allow me to move into this backbend with minimal pain. It wasn’t a quick and easy journey but over time I have learned to enjoy this posture and have been able to move onto more challenging backbends. I can’t say I love backbends, but I’m hoping that one day I will. 

Injury or limitations can be great teachers. The life lessons I have learned from this experience are:
  • ·         To not compare myself to others, I have to focus on what my body is able to do (self acceptance without judgement)
  • ·         That I had developed patterns and I had to learn to change those patterns, to let go before I could move forward
  • ·         That it will take time. I have to be patient, I have to wait and allow change to come

My yoga is a journey, a lifelong practice and with patience, awareness and kindness to myself and my body, I know it is possible to overcome any obstacle that I may face. 

Marcie is a member of the YCW 200hr  Teacher Training program