The Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year, which means the longest night. The winter solstice is a time of darkness, where we must work to encourage the Sun back to his Mother, the Sky. We also welcome the light back into our lives and our practice.

When the dark of night falls this evening, honour it in class. Meditate with your community, and honour yourself. We will give a farewell to the long nights of autumn and work through the negative aspects that we wish to rid ourselves of. We will use our breath work to settle us down and sink into the peaceful quiet of winter, with soft evening light starting to flood back into the studio. Your practice can be transformative on this energetically charged evening!

Make a wish this evening. Pray for light and love for the coming year. Help the Sun’s feathered friends, by putting out birdseed for the winter birds.

Wood, acorns, bayberry, mugwort and oak leaves are especially blessed at this time. Mistletoe hung over the doorway was an ancient Norse practice to protect against thunder and lightning (the Norse God, Thor), as well as malicious evil.

At a time of year that is notoriously busy and stressful, my wish is that you can each find some solitude and peace within yourselves, perhaps using the elements that nature has to offer us as your guide. Happy Winter Solstice one and all!
Farewell Darkness, you’ve served us well
You’ve brought peace and calmness with your spell
You’ve helped us regroup; we honour you
The time has come, though, to say goodbye
Farewell, Darkness. Go now, fly
-Dorothy Morrison


 

Yoga Gives me the Presence of Mind to be at Peace with Chocolate

catherine

“Yoga Gives me the Presence of Mind to be at Peace with Chocolate”
That was the heading on a note pad my aunt gave me one year. Simple, humorous, silly, yet it resonated with me!
As I see it, the meaning is two fold.
First off, a yoga practice strives to provide balance; achieving balance in your asanas, or poses, and achieving a sense of balance within your self. The goal of a complete yoga practice is to unite the mind, body, and spirit. During class, the mind is a little more settled thanks to structured breathing and focus, the body benefits from a stretching, reaching, and unfolding from our usual daily tense muscles. The soul is encouraged to find peace, no matter how simple or slight.
So this balance spills out from the studio, and into your life. Balance in asanas, balance  in mind and mood, and also balance in the consumption of chocolate! Once you have established your practice, you are more in tune with yourself. You are more aware of the balance YOU need to feel good. Does the drop in your mood after you’ve eaten the chocolate make you feel guilty and anxious? Maybe it’s time to find a different way of spending your energy. Or does coming to class make you feel like you’ve done a good job, ‘earning’ that extra dark square of chocolate? Being aware of the balance that you need helps you to find ways to maintain that balance.
Second, an established yoga practice gives you a little more leeway to eat your chocolate! Because sometimes, a soul just needs some junk food! And those hot vinyasa classes? They annihilate the extra calories anyways.
So, follow that simple and somewhat silly mantra. Find peace and balance within yourself, and with the decisions that you make. Continue to practice yoga, and you will only find out more and more about yourself. Come to class, and then enjoy the hard earned chocolate!

Increase your Happiness with Power Pose

superman1You are able to increase you Happiness level by standing in power pose for 2 minutes every day. This power pose position is that which super heroes take, wide stance, open chest, arms are flexed pointing towards the sky or placed firmly on the hips. This pose is scientifically proven to decrease the amount of circulating cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood stream, AND increases the level of testosterone in circulation. Low cortisol levels make it easier to manage and adapt to stress and increased testosterone for men and women are linked with increased assertiveness and confidence. These three magic forces are able to work together to increase HAPPINESS!

So our project for you is to stand in your POWER POSE for 2 minutes each day, and record how you feel before and after. Perhaps you will be happier at the end of the week!

What does distinguish the Iyengar Hatha and Vinyasa flow?

Simone helped me to understand the difference using below image. Basically what distinguishes these two types of yoga is the Suryanamaskar A and B. Both Iyengar and Vinyasa follow the 8 limbs of the ashtanga path; yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi. While Vinyasa incorporates sun salutation in between standing, seating and finishing poses, Iyengar focuses mostly on the body alignment using props.

Iyengar is also widely known for its therapeutic effect on nervous system, cardio vascular and respiratory systems. Recent studies showed that practicing Iyengar yoga resulted in an overall improvement in mobility of patient with chronic low back pain. Due to its effect on hip extension, Iyengar yoga is recommended as an alternative approach to reduce age related gait problems. It is also a good start for people who intend to work on their body strength.

Primary series vinyasaSimone teaches a verity of yoga classes including Gentle Hatha, Iyengar Hatha, Restorative Yoga and Meditative Hatha Flow with Therapeutic Elements. Her classes are on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Don’t let your Ego guide you:

Don’t let your ego guide you:
balasana-e28093-child-poseThat is what I always say to my students. There is no place for comparative thinking in yoga studio. No one is going to judge you and there is no gold medal for “Best Pose”. Always listen to your body—don’t push or overextend your threshold to keep up with the rest of the class. The strongest one in the room is the person who understands and respects their limits. If it gets to be too much, spend time in childs pose until you are ready to jump back in.

Featuring teacher: Florence with love beyond yoga

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Born and raised in France from the Polish origins, Florence started her athletic life style with gymnastic from early childhood. She started practicing yoga over 10 years ago when she first moved to Toronto. To her, yoga was “love at the first Asana”! Eventually, her eagerness to learn and dive deeper into yoga practice developed too strong to ignore. In 2014, she enrolled in a 250 hours yoga teacher program which completely rerouted her life’s journey. Fast-forward a year later and she is studying to earn her 500 RYS. She trained for pre/post-natal, restorative and hypno zen yoga.

She teaches empowering yoga sequences where she strives to create harmony between body, breath and soul. Mindfulness is an important layer that she integrates in her teaching. Her goal is to provide students with tools to awaken their inner power to limitless potential for further growth, self-development and self-love. Her hot vinyasa classes are on Fridays at 7:00 PM.

 

Flu Buster Ginger Tea

With the cold weather comes flu symptoms that can wreak havoc on our daily lives. This simple tea is filled with flu-fighting superfoods to help you get back on your feet in no time. Ginger and cinnamon to warm you up from the inside out, lemon and bay leaves to aid digestion, and honey to soothe sore throats.

Ingredients:
2 tsp fresh ginger, sliced
1 slice of lemon
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp honey
1 stick of cinnamon

Method:
Set a cup of water to boil while you prepare the ingredients.
Combine in your favorite mug and steep for 5 minutes.

Olessia’s Ashtanga Flow

Today in Olessia’s 7pm Ashtanga Flow class she focused on strengthening the core through technical Image result for locust yoga posealignments and long holds. She focused on strengthening the abdominal muscles. But her climatic pose was locust pose or Shalabhasana- A lower back strengthener. This pose is GREAT for those 9-5ers. By taking her class you are guaranteed to improve yogi technique in basic asanas… Do you know where your elbows should face during downward dog?! Olessia does and she will challenge you to keep the proper pose and make you work!