Monday, 27 January 2014

the Journey

I started yoga when I was pregnant in 1999. I remember one partner exercise where we had to let go of our arm to let the partner move it around. And I could not do it! I could not let go of my arm! This was a really difficult exercise for me and I still think of that when I ask my Shiatsu clients to let go of their arm, leg, head so that I can do the work instead of them. We did a similar exercise last week in class where we had to trust our body into the hands of two fellow students. At the second go I almost enjoyed giving myself and my fears up. But there is still a lot of work to be done...

My whole life I’ve been struggling (still am!) with myself, my body, the way I look, the way I talk. There is really not much that I like about myself. Yoga gives me the opportunity to be with myself and look at things, practice not to judge but work with what is there. The approach in Shiatsu is actually very similar. Try not to judge, don’t force anything, being without intentions.

After my son was born I kept on going to classes once per week. I really liked it but when we moved from Germany to England I couldn’t continue. When we moved to Winnipeg in 2007 I went to some yoga classes in a Community Centre. The teacher recommended the Yoga Centre Winnipeg and that was it. I started coming to classes, after a while I started to work at the desk and this year I finally enrolled in the Teacher Training.

During my first Spring Sadhana in 2013 I realized that it is possible to change things in your body if you practice regularly. The same is true for life. Most of the time the changes are very subtle but they can have a huge effect.

Yes, it is nice to finally be able to do a pose that you have struggled with for a long time but it’s all the other things you learn in yoga that have so many implications on the rest of your life. Accepting people/things how they are, not judging yourself or others, being patient and humble...

For me yoga has turned from a physical exercise to a journey of self-acceptance, letting go, not judging myself or others – every day over and over again! The more I try the more I realize that this journey will never end. And that’s good. I think.

 Simone Karrasch 
Simone is currently enrolled in the yoga centre winnipeg 200hr  teacher training program

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

the gift of yoga

At the age of three, I thought I wanted to be a ballerina. My mother enrolled me in classes at a local community centre and at the end of the session, the teacher informed my mother that I would have to repeat the level again. I think I didn’t “get” ballet because I was really doing yoga. Does the picture not look like a budding yogini?
In the early 1990s, a friend invited me to a yoga class during a period when I was going through a stressful situation. I had dabbled in doing yoga at home and attended a few classes in my younger years but neither the style of yoga nor teacher captured my interest. This time was different. After that first and subsequent classes, I felt more relaxed, able to deal with the things I needed to deal with, and became more aware of my body, my own needs, and enjoyed the community spirit. I went on yoga retreats to Mexico, and to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health to do seva for free room, board, and yoga several times. Yoga has helped me become the person I was meant to be and continues to provide tools for me to use when facing the bumps and more difficult situations that life brings. To my surprise, I was drawn into combining two precious areas of my life, yoga and children, into a career. I have taken several certifications for teaching yoga to children and have dropped time in my other career to pursue this livelihood with much joy. Now I feel most fortunate to be in teaching training for adults. It has brought a more serious side to my teaching and I hope to teach seniors and beginners in the future. Yoga is truly a gift and I look forward to it being an integral part of my life for many more years to come.
Cathy is currently enrolled in the yoga centre winnipeg 200hr  teacher training program

Sunday, 12 January 2014


This word came up in a class I attended recently and maybe its just the holiday season or maybe I haven't heard it in a while but something about the word struck me. The instruction was "Try to find joy today."   Where do you find joy?

 Sure it can be in a yoga practice knowing that you are doing something good for your mind and body. It could be from your family and seeing their smiling faces everyday. It could be having that first cup of coffee in the morning. It may be one or all of these things. 

 For whatever reason it really made me think about finding joy in my practice and in my life.  As I was thinking about this December 14th came around and it was BKS Iyanger's 95th birthday! 95 years and still teaching and practicing. How is that for inspiration!  He must have some joy in his life and determination. 
So I decided to ask others I put the question onto a social network site "Where do you find joy?".  I got various answers such as: within, laughing children, pets, as well as, some funny answers such as "she lives in transcona" (which i interupt as humour may bring people joy).  

Then I start to really think how can I find joy? I feel joyful in yoga class and in part that is the physicallity of the asana practice, in part that is the community and small interactions with other practictioners before and after class, and in part the ability to grow and change. I have taken to journalling and that has helped me reflect on some of these more intuitive goals that happen sometimes unconciously.  I looked back on a document I wrote when I first started practicing regularly and I read a goal of mine "to hold crow pose for 3 breaths". Its 4 years later and I still can't... and I laugh at the thought that, that was important to me then. 

Then it hits me. 

I get joy from the ability to recognize my own growth and looking at how we are all ever changing beings and it is fascinating. This lights my fire and pushes me forward.  We are taught to be ambitious and gain sucesses but real joy for me come from using yoga as an opportunity for self exploration.  It may have took me 4 years to figure this out and I wonder what I will think when I read this 4 years from now.


Sally MacDonald

Sally is currently enrolled in the yoga centre winnipeg 200hr  teacher training program