We’re thrilled to introduce Esmé Ward today! Esmé will be rocking out late Wednesday evenings in the HOT Studio. Join her for a fun, joyful Vinyasa class set to Bollywood music at 8:00pm, followed by a second Vinyasa class with a more down-tempo soundtrack at 9:00pm. With both of her classes, you can expect steady, energizing movement connected to breath with an emphasis on core. A variety of levels are welcome, from beginner to level 2.
Y.L. How did you discover yoga?
E.W. When I moved to Toronto in my late teens for university, I was completely unsure of myself – what I was doing, where I was going, and what I was feeling. I discovered yoga at my mother’s urging through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Toronto, as she had gone on their Bahamas retreat in her early twenties and had really enjoyed it. She felt that yoga might help me find some purpose, and it definitely became an extremely positive part of my life at the time. Now, it is an even bigger part of my life.
Y.L. What excites you about your own practice?
E.W. I care deeply about my own practice as an instrumental tool for grounding myself and bringing myself back to awareness of the things that feel right in my life. It helps bring me back to me every time I get onto my mat. When I’m practicing, I get a sense of accomplishment and confidence when I realize I can take something a little further. Gaining stability off the wall in a handstand or realizing I can actually do a certain arm balance is exhilarating.
Y.L. How would you describe your classes and your teaching style?
E.W. I would describe my classes as having a constant flow of positive energy and intention, and there’s nothing like having that tangibly reciprocated by a student. When I teach, I am always trying to be aware of the comfort level of the students in front of me, both physically and emotionally. Since everyone has different communicative abilities, it can often be difficult to read where people are at, and I feel like I am constantly honing this skill every time I teach. I like being able to show my students that I can work with their energy no matter what it is, and guide it as positively as possible.
Y.L. What inspires you, personally? OR What gets you going every day?
E.W. I am inspired by people. Whatever it is that they are putting out there, whether positive or negative, there is always something that can be learned. Truly positive energy inspires me to find my own. Negative energy reminds me of my own beliefs and wisdom, and inspires compassion in me. Reminding myself of how far I’ve come as well as having faith in myself and the future is what gets me going every day.
Y.L. Where do you think yoga, as a movement, is heading?
E.W. With the commercialization of yoga in Western society, there has been a real straying from its original essence. Although the shift from yoga’s roots as a spiritual practice to yoga as big business can be seen as unfortunate, it is making yoga accessible to all sorts of people in places you wouldn’t expect, like offices and churches. Simply the introduction of yoga is a great thing to those who normally would have no real idea about or interest in it. People can decide for themselves once they’ve begun as to where they’d like to take their practice and how much room they have to infuse spirituality, but the practice itself will likely open up their minds and hearts to asking certain questions of themselves that will no doubt be related.