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May 2015

P.O.T.M. – Warrior III

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The Pose of the Month for PYC this May is Warrior III.

Power Yoga Canada has a great incentive every month; they pick a pose walk you through the posture. Check out Sam and Mike walking you through the posture from beginning to end (with three fantastic take-away tips).Warrior3

PYC then invites you to post a picture of your most unique or inspiring version of that particular posture on Facebook. It is a great idea, not only can you win some great FREE yoga (check out your studio for more info) it allows you to connect with and practice a posture you might easily just blow through in class or, even better, one that you might struggle with practice after practice.
Warrior III has always been a fav of my. I love the feeling of freedom and strength I get from the posture, I struggle to align my hips with the floor and love to add a little backbend to open up my heart!!

Physiologically it is a GREAT pose for core strength. You would be mistaken if you thought you needed stronger legs to properly execute this posture!!! It’s all about the core, baby! Once you activate your lower back and abs into a nice tight circle of strength it takes all the pressure off your stationary leg and takes your pose into a light and airy floating feeling (just the way it looks in the pictures!!) It is also a great way to strength weak ankles and hamstrings, which can be sometimes hard to target.

Although I love the way a good Warrior III feels, I think it’s back story is even more awesome/crazy!
Apparently it gets it’s name from Hindu mythology!! It is a crazy little story about a sacred ritual, some uninvited guests, an argument between a father and daughter that results in a little dramatic suicide, a heart broken husband who creates a warrior out of a tuft of his hair, the warrior seeking out revenge on the father, a remorseful husband who restores the father’s head with the head of a goat (so that he may live) and eventually his bride is reborn!!!! WOW!!! Apparently, the pose represents the warrior’s role in the tale. Bet you didn’t see that coming!!


Warrior III P.O.T.M. is a great way to introduce yourself to studio/community. So if aren’t active on the PYC studio Facebook pages (which you totally should be!! The people are super supportive AND inspiring!!) take this opportunity to strike your best/most unusual Warrior III, get a friend to snap some pics and introduce yourself to your community!
P.S. The Sanskrit term for Warrior III is Virabhadrasana. The broken hearted husband named his warrior, Virabhadra. Vira = hero + Bhadra = friend. So, go and find your best Hero Friend (or perhaps a new one!) and strike up your best Warrior III and maybe you will be lucky enough to snag some of that free PYC yoga love!


Finding Your Breath (on and off the mat)

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breath2Breathing is everything in yoga. It can get you through a difficult pose, quiet your mind by offering something to focus on, all the while, supplying your muscles with some much needed oxygen.
At Power Yoga Canada you are taught to use Ujjayi breathing. It is sometimes referred to as “Ocean Breath” because of the sound it makes on both the inhalation and exhalation (I love that!). And there is nothing better than finding yourself surrounded by a bunch of yogi’s that are relying on their breath to raise their own practice to new heights! For me, the sound is like the rise and fall of ocean waves crashing on the beach (my favorite place to be in the world, so thanks for that visual!!!) The collective breath of the group really seems to bolster you when you are at your edge. It is like a bunch of tiny little hands that hold you up while the sound is cheering you on to stay right in the posture you need the most. breath1
Ujjayi breathing fills the lower belly first which can activate the first and second chakras. It then rises to the lower rib cage turning on the third and fourth chakras. Finally it moves into the upper chest and throat. I also learned that Ujjayi comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “to be victorious”. How amazing is that!? And Ujjayi Breath mean the victorious breath. I don’t know about you, but I will definitely remember that the next time I think “I can’t”. This type of breathing also eliminates toxins, provides energy for your practice and gives you a little sound track to flow along with. The breath keeps you moving through your postures and is actually thought to regulate your blood pressure!

Utilizing this breath off your mats is one of the best gifts yoga can give you. Remembering your breath throughout your day will keep you centered and focused on the present moment. It can help you through pain (those of you that suffer from migraines, know what I am talking about). An intentional breath increases oxygen and regulates your heart rate, both of which can beat the heck out of some anxious feelings and keep a potential panic attack at bay!
I love when the instructors at PYC remind us to breathe for ourselves and then breathe for our neighbour. It’s like that permission to do something for another person allows us to focus on something bigger than ourselves and get our own poses grounded and strong. I am committing to “breathing for my neighbour” outside of the yoga studio as well! I love using it (quietly) in a tough/emotional meeting or when I feel a co-worker is having “one of those days” I even like to use it as a secret weapon on my kids when they don’t want to get out of bed (the big ones) or go to bed (the little one). It is a great way to pass on a little support to the people in our lives, without them even knowing!
Next time you are on your mat, enjoy the soothing sounds of the ocean and take that with you for the rest of your day!

Why you should stick with your practice this SUMMER!

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I enjoy Hot Yoga at PYC year-round. A lot of people think that Hot Yoga isn’t necessary (or enjoyable) during the warmer months. Not the case my friends!! Sun

Debbie (Co-Owner at PYC Oshawa) completely agrees. We had a little chat about writing this article and she had some great reasons for sticking with your practice this summer.

Deb says “Summer is my favourite time to do hot yoga! The heat is down in the room in relation to the temp outside and I get the best sweat without feeling hot! In my opinion it’s because I am already accustomed to the warm weather that I don’t really notice the difference. In fact, the hot room can often feel cooler than outside depending on what’s going on outside!!!”

I asked her for her best tips on keeping your summer practice enjoyable and she provided the perfect blue print for a lovely summer sweat!!


Follow these simple rules to enjoy your spring/summer practice

Drink lots! – In the summer you should already be drinking extra throughout the day. You can lose as much as 32 ounces of water for every 60 min. of hot yoga so drink at least twice that after practice. Consider an electrolyte replenisher (like Ultima or Emergen-C) in addition. Feeling light-headed or un-coordinated (more than usual lol!), or have muscle cramps, these may be signs that you are not replenishing the electrolytes you are losing in your sweat.water

Eat right! – (You know what that means!!) And try adding light snack up to 2 hours before a class.

Listen to your body! – Only you know how far you can push your body. Listen to those signs your body offers you.

Respect your edge! – Quiet your ego when it tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury.

Take a rest! Feeling dizzy or light-headed? Please rest. Lay down or take a child’s pose, It’s your HOME BASE!

Sweat every day and rid yourself, (SAFELY) of tension, toxins and stress while enjoying an amazing workout!

PYC Oshawa!!


For even further incentive PYC is offering a great summer special right now. Students get 3 months of yoga for 130.00! Contact your studio for more info.

Keep your practice going in the warmer months, when your muscles, tendons and joint are already warmed up and take your poses past your edge. Keep yourself summer ready for any impromptu beach volleyball, Frisbee or baseball games that may pop up on your weekends. Cross train with some hiking and you have yourself the perfect summer workout routine.

But perhaps the best reason to practice in the summer is Summer TV SUCKS!!

Balance your BBQ’s and beers with a consistent yoga practice to get the most out of your summer and reward your body with a good sweat session daily!!
Don’t forget that what we do today creates who we are tomorrow.
Have a safe and soulful summer!


The Art of Being Assisted

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One of the things I love most about classes at PYC is the Assistant you find participating in most classes.

PYC offers a program called the Art of Assisting. It is geared towards students who want to learn how to properly assist other students. They participate in intensives that teach them proper alignment and the anatomy of the perfect hands-on assist. It is a phenomenal way to give back to the community we love.156

Proper alignment is key to a great yoga practice and the Assistants are an integral part of achieving things you had never thought possible. But, perhaps more importantly, it creates connections. Physical and emotional connections are vitally important to sustaining a lifestyle that prompts healthful living!

Every class I have attended with an Assistant present, goes something like this: the assistant gets introduced at the beginning of class, the instructors says something along the lines of “So if you feel hands on you, just go with it!!” And then the lovely assistant spreads her love and wisdom throughout the room.

The really great assistants get to you when you least expect it and take you further than you have been before or they can back you up and put you right where you need to be in that moment. They accomplish this with a motion that aligns with your breathing and a very light touch. That slight physical connection is sometimes met with a nervous giggle from some who are new to the community (especially when they go for your feet), but without fail they take you where you need to go. The first time I had an Assistant in my class, I felt so sorry for her. I was sweaty, she had to touch my feet, and I am pretty sure I forgot my deodorant that day! But none of that phased her, she increased my stance, helped the outer edge of my back foot connect with my mat and moved my front leg closer towards a 90 degree angle and all of a sudden my inner thighs and core “turned on” and my Warrior took on a whole new feeling. The ache was gone from my quads and I felt my legs being supported by my entire core section!! They were small corrections that I remember to this day. Now I even remember to make those corrections myself every time I find myself back in Warrior.untitled

The emotional connections they make with people can be just as important as the physical ones. The Assistant has an outsider’s perspective of your practice and is completely unaware of the story you have spinning in your brain. They simply smile and adjust. For some it is the first connection with the community and it takes you out of just “attending” classes and throws you face first in the connection pool. Now you “know” someone at class, they made time to help you out, and more often than not, they chat with you after class about how the minor adjustment made you feel.

It is an Art Form. Count yourself blessed when you get some hands-on attention. Relax, turn off the worry and self-judgement, and allow your Assistant to assist you.

P.S. Don’t worry about the sweat; they come prepared with their own towels!

Next time you take a class enjoy the art!