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PYC community feature March

Community Feature : March 2019

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Author : Ashley Burton

My name is Ashley Burton … and before PYC, I was someone who really didn’t realize who I actually was. I felt like what I did for a living, my culture, age and heritage – all these exterior attributes – made up WHO I WAS. At the time I was living a life for myself really and much less self-aware than I’ve become after diving into the culture of personal development and self inquiry.

PYC community feature March

Power Yoga Canada has profoundly changed my life. I recently lost my partner at the age of 33 who had an accidental death… which has been by far the most challenging time for me in this life. I didn’t know it all these years but the work I have put in previously has helped prepare me for today. The tools I have learned and my daily practice have enabled me to manage the rollercoaster rides that come my way. There are highs and lows; through self-inquiry work with PYC, when there are lows, I know what to do to work my way back to a place where I feel powerful and present again. I’m more compassionate with myself, more forgiving with my family and friends. I’ve learned how to really listen, not only to others but also myself. I remember being in traffic pre-PYC or at the lineup at the bank feeling anxiety and tension run through my body. Today I’ve learned how to calm down, how to really breathe especially during the challenging moments I experience.

I love being a part of the PYC family because I feel completely supported in every way. I believe in how lives are impacted because mine has been; and for that I will forever share PYC with everyone in hopes of their transformations as well. I want to share my story because of YOU. Yes, you reading this… that you know whatever it is you’re going through in your life, coming to this place is the best thing you can do for yourself. Show up and trust this process. I promise you will discover something beautiful along the way.

Ashley Burton is the founder of Yoga to You, a Power Yoga Canada Affiliate. They are a mobile yoga service specializing in bringing the yoga you love to corporate offices and creating customizable classes for any event. Learn more about Yoga to You at yogatoyou.ca

Community Feature : February 2019

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Author: Patrick

My name is Patrick and I practice yoga out of Power Yoga Canada Etobicoke. It’s amazing to be writing this and to look back at the journey that brought me to where I am today physically, mentally and spiritually.

February Community Feature
Back in 2010, I was in a job I did not enjoy and each day was a struggle. I’ve always been a physically active person, but even that could not get me out of the rut I was in mentally. After much contemplation about various future career opportunities, I had a sudden awakening. After this realization,  I left that unfulfilling job and never returned. I pursued my love of animals and started my own Pet Services business. I own dogs and love them so very much; they bring me such joy and happiness, so it only made sense to try and surround myself with that energy on a daily basis to achieve true happiness and personal growth.

A few years into establishing my business,  I was extremely happy with my new path but something was missing. In 2013 a relative of mine who had been practising yoga suggested I take a class as it was something I had never tried before. Getting out of my comfort zone and trying a hot power yoga class was the best thing I ever did.  I have never looked back after that first class.  Yoga became such a huge part of changing my life and connecting me to what was missing.  A monumental shift happened spiritually and  I was able I apply my sense of calm to my job and the animal beings I work with.

After a bit of a personal speed bump, which interfered with my practice, I realized even more so how much I missed the practice and needed it in my life. I returned in April of last year and once again haven’t looked back. I practice 4-5 times a week and I cannot emphasize enough the personal growth and power my practice has instilled in me, spiritually, physically and mentally. Even in my personal life, I am at peace and happy and now only surround myself with likeminded spirits. I’m physically in the best shape of my life as well.

I cannot emphasize enough how much my yoga practice has added to, and changed my life for the better in so many ways. I am as healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally as I have ever been. For anyone looking to make a change in their life, I would definitely suggest taking a class and feel for yourself the difference.  It’s one of the best things I ever did.

COMMUNITY FEATURE: JANUARY 2019

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Author: Aneta Pietruszko

 

Before I ever stepped into yoga studio, I was someone who was constantly busy.  I worked two jobs while attending university, maintaining a jam packed schedule, living with 7 boys and in a toxic relationship.  Two years later I found the courage to leave the relationship, but I don’t even think I had time to pause and give myself the permission to shed the weight of my abusive relationship.   My MO was a very active and busy lifestyle, so I just kept going.

COMMUNITY FEATURE: JANUARY 2019

One day with my new partner at the CNE, I had a severe panic attack for the first time. It came out of nowhere and I didn’t know how to handle it! Thankfully he eased me out of it and I am grateful I was not alone. Attacks came periodically, so I went for medical tests – everything came back normal.  I was diagnosed with a minor anxiety disorder and was given two options: pills or yoga. I was resistant to both! I felt pills would mask the problem and yoga was too slow and boring for me…My entire life revolved around active sports and now I was supposed to sit on a mat and do some slow stretches? Thank you, next.

I went home to tell my parents and it just so happened that Power Yoga Canada had just opened up behind my Dad’s shop, Clarkson Fine Cars on Clarkson road. My dad bought me a pass and encouraged me to use it while my car was being fixed that day. I was resistant with every bone in my body but I decided to listen.

I met Kinndli and Pauline who right away made me feel like I was part of the PYC family. I don’t even think I had proper yoga gear that first day but their persistence made it difficult to say no to taking the next class. I took a spot in the back corner and had zero idea of what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that it was SO HOT and how the heck was I going to breathe?! I made it through the class not knowing a single pose and still left the studio feeling like a BADASS!

That night I had the BEST SLEEP EVER! I went back the second day wanting more of what I knew nothing about. I signed up for the 40 day to Personal Revolution and little did I know that decision would forever change my life. The anxiety vanished, I slept like a champion, I was more present in my body and with my family and friends. People kept telling me something changed in my energy but they couldn’t pinpoint what it was. I wanted more. In 2012 I joined PYC’s first intensive two week teacher training program. I started teaching at my corporate finance job twice a week and implemented yoga into my condo community in Toronto which were both successful! Two years later I moved to New York City and completed Level 1 & 2 training with the Baptiste Institute. I managed and taught at Lyons Den Power Yoga, Manhattan’s only Baptiste Power Yoga studio.

I have moved back to Oakville and have decided to leave the corporate world all together and devote my passion and energy into yoga full time. Although it is inspiring and fulfilling to do what I love, I took a big pay cut from what I was earning in finance. I have stayed positive throughout this process and trust that the abundance of money always comes from when passion and drive are in alignment with our work.

This is my calling. If I build it, they will come. Landing a job that pays is easy. Landing a job that aligns with your passion, requires a thirst for action, a yes for patience, and a whole lot of courage. Is all of THAT possible? I would have had a different answer a year ago. Today, I can confidently say YES IT’S POSSIBLE!

Community Feature: November 2018

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Author: Allison & Grant Graham

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Life has certainly been moving very fast for us. Looking for a release from the stresses of work and living in the big city, Allison stepped into the PYC studio in Oshawa and immediately felt welcomed into their community. The sense of belonging was so great that she practiced there every day bright and early at the 6am class before heading to work. The transformation had begun! Only a year later, Allison took the next big step in her development and attended the summer intensive teacher training and learned how to light up a room!

Seeing how awesome the transformation was in Allison, and wanting to be supportive of her new adventure, Grant agreed to give this yoga thing a try. The physicality of the practice was addictive and the results were amazing! Grant signed up for the 40-day program and followed that up right away with the assisting intensive course. Taking the teacher training was the next obvious step.

While all of this was going on, Allison’s mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Part of her lung was excised but the cancer has returned and we are continuing our fight. Allison’s family all live up north in Sudbury. With this news, we decided to make a plan to leave the south to be close to the family. We wanted to be able to spend more time with Allison’s mom and also be with the rest of the family and help out where we could. Fortunately, our shared love for PYC propelled us towards this goal and we embarked on our quest to empower the Sudbury community into action!

It isn’t easy uprooting your family. Our two daughters, Ginny (13) and Charlotte (12), have been very supportive in our move. This is a big change for them having to leave their school and friends. They are looking forward to helping out at the studio and maybe even becoming teachers themselves one day! Moving houses was a giant ordeal, especially considering that Grant was off at teacher training a week prior to move day. In addition to changing where we live, Allison is also leaving behind a 20-year career as a dental hygienist to pursue this new beginning and be immersed in every part of our studio build and operation.

We have been very fortunate to have our family around to support and assist us with opening the business. They have been there with us every step of the way – helping with advice, painting, plumbing, flooring, electrical and even contract negotiations! They have been great ambassadors for us and have been spreading the word of our opening through their vast network of friends. We couldn’t be more appreciative of them for helping us make PYC’s most remote studio simply awesome! We are filled with joy and gratitude to be near our loved ones and to be able to take part in family life and are so looking forward to getting to know our community and flow and grow together!

Community Feature: October 2018

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Author: Harris Beacock

I walked into Power Yoga Canada in Leaside about a year ago. I had tried Bikram Yoga at a nearby studio in 2015, actually staying with that practice for almost a year, but the 90 minute classes were simply too much of a time commitment to allow me to continue my practice.

Fast forward 2 years to the Fall of 2017. I weighed 238 pounds, was moving toward being diabetic and was not very active at all. Although my career is not exactly physically demanding, as I sit at a desk most of the day, mental stress is a definite factor. My only physical activity consisted of walking my dogs – on its own, it was not conducive to being truly healthy. I had noticed the Power Yoga Canada sign on Laird and decided to drop in and see what it was all about. I liked the concept of hot yoga, as I have always thought that a good sweat was good for a person. The first practice was a definite contest to stay with the flow, but I felt terrific after the class. I was hooked!

From there, I started slowly, finding it challenging to do 3 classes a week, but sixty minutes is a manageable time commitment and the classes provide a total body workout, as well as a great mental flush!

Fast forward to now, a year later. Combining my practice with proper nutrition, I have dropped 24 pounds, reducing my body fat from 29.7% to 20.5%. I have improved my physical fitness to the point where the classes are still challenging, but I get through them and the after-class buzz is well worth the effort. Walking my dogs is no longer a challenge. I sleep better, have a clearer head at work and home and I always look forward to the positive reinforcement that I get from the instructors and fellow yogis. My goal is to continue to practice at least 4 times a week and I have begun attending Sunday yin classes for variety. Perhaps there is 40 Day Challenge in my future!

I have found the instructors and my classmate to always be positive and helpful, from taking someone who is really new into their classes to offering hints on how to continuously improve my practice. The constant positive reinforcement from everyone has been extremely helpful with my yoga journey.

I want my story to act as a motivational point for anyone who thinks that they can’t change their situation, be it mental or physical. It can be done!

Community Feature: September 2018

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Author: Allan Pitre – Community Member & PYC City Centre Yogi

I wanted to try yoga for a long time, but was always too afraid. Living with depression and anxiety for most of my life has been limiting, especially when it comes to unfamiliar social settings. I usually just avoid these situations entirely. My timid nature has kept me from trying many things. I tend to live in my own head, to overanalyze things, and can be extremely self-critical. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with myself…
Initially, One of the reasons yoga intrigued me was that I had heard it was beneficial in healing the body from injuries. I have a bad back and problems with my hips, knees, and shoulders; being that I’m extremely accident prone and clumsy, many of these are self-inflicted. I frequently get low back spasms and my body is generally very tense and sore, and feels way older than 40 years should.

I’ve struggled with my weight since my teens, there was definitely a correlation between my weight and worst bouts of depression. I’ve dropped 115 lbs. through consistent exercise, a strict ketogenic diet, and intermittent fasting. Losing weight has improved the way I feel emotionally and physically, but years of additional weight has compounded my injuries. Because of these injuries, some of the workouts I used to enjoy are no longer an option.

Last winter, I reduced exercising and picked up some bad diet habits. I gained weight, and started to get a bit down on myself. Before things got worse, I recommitted to my diet and exercise regimen. My wife and I decided to try yoga and support each other through the experience since we were both apprehensive. I don’t know that I would have worked up the courage to start alone, and I’m grateful for her support because the past 5-1⁄2 months have been transformative.

I was so nervous for my first class at PYC City Centre. I did not know what to expect. I was concerned about being judged because of my body, because I didn’t know the sequences, or when I couldn’t hold a pose. Instead, I found a supportive community of amazing people who have literally bent over backwards (pun intended) to make me feel welcome and accepted, and without even having an inkling of how intimidated I was those first few weeks.

I have become completely enamoured with yoga. It’s amongst the most physically demanding activities I have done, yet I feel incredible after. I actually look forward to my next time on the mat. I won’t pretend that yoga has fixed my body, but it has absolutely made a difference. Every day I feel stronger and continue to surprise myself with what I can do. I recently completed a 21 day challenge and it was one of the proudest accomplishments I can recall in recent years. The best part of the experience has been the community and feeling like I belong here.

There have been many encouraging and inspirational words spoken by the awesome team of instructors at PYC City Centre, but for me, the ones that most resonated are “…the hardest part of your practice was showing up on your mat, and you already did that!”. I couldn’t agree more. Just show up for practice and amazing things will happen!

Community Feature: August 2018

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Author: Matt Kowaldd

Release your self-imposed limits. Be grateful. This is the wisdom I have learned to live by. Let me explain…I have experienced some turbulence in my life. I was nine when my mother was murdered by my step dad, changing my life and support system forever. I initially moved in with my grandparents. As I got older, I was sent to a public boarding school and was surrounded by troubled youth. I became angrier and more confused with the world. My grandmother passed away, and I lost another person in my life. My grandmother’s passing hit a switch inside of me; the light in me disappeared, allowing darkness to enter. I gave up on life. I woke up in a hospital room the next day, and a veil of regret stuck on me like a wet blanket.

Moving forward my mind state shifted to a positive one as I began to understand and treasure the small things in life. I slowly discovered yoga, meditation, mindful movement, and how to forgive past grievances that I held on to. I discovered the power of gratitude and changing the “I have to” tasks into “I get to” tasks. This simple mind shift had a profound impact on my outlook, allowing in more light than I knew was possible.

In 2015, I booked a one-way ticket to Canada for university. Missing the heat of Australia, I jumped into a hot power yoga class at PYC St Catharines for the first time. The experience was incredible-I had practiced yoga before, but never in a hot room or with a dedicated community. The experience helped me find focus in my mind, my body and the present.

These moments on the mat translated my life. It encouraged me to write a letter to my step dad letting him know that I forgive him, allowing me to move on. To be gentler on myself, and take note of the small things. This is why I wanted to add a space to forgive something each day, to continue letting go of things that are easy to hold onto. The lessons I learnt from these obstacles have helped me grow so much. Remembering to breathe, to move, to love, to laugh, to smile, to forgive, to be compassionate, and to treasure the moments in everyday is what saved me.

Through the struggles I have experienced in my life, I was inspired to create The Yogi’s Journal a guided journal that combines elements that have helped me grow in my yoga practice. Taking those tools that I accumulated throughout my life, I wanted to create a written structure, as I often find it easy to forget to do the little things that have helped me and many others.

Bringing the idea into fruition I reached out to Laura (a friend and yoga teacher in England) and began bouncing ideas as we began to shape the idea. Then reaching out to Siqouia a graphic designer to add flare, and Jess to help spread the word. Through brainstorming and many talks we created a guide for ourselves and you to foster an explorative and healing practice.
The journal guides you through everything that has helped us on our journeys, and what we have learned from yoga, starting with guidance, ideas and inspirations into the eight-limbed path, gratitude, forgiveness, setting goals that resonate with you, creating morning rituals, and the yamas and niyamas.

At the beginning of each week you can set your focus, steps towards your goal, and ideas on how you are going to incorporate the yama or niyama into your week. A friendly challenge, and some asana, meditation, and pranayama inspiration.
Each day there’s a structured page where we can start the day with gratitude, set an intention and write down three tasks the we get to do today! There’s a space for affirmations, reflection on your practice, to forgive, and a spot to write down the moment that you can treasure.

Ending the week we gave ourselves some space to reflect, including how you moved towards your goals, how the yama or niyama affected you, what challenged you, what enriched you, and how present you were.

Community Feature: July 2018

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Author: Janice Mirynech – Community Member & PYC St. Catharine’s Yogi

“I dare you!”  Those three words were what first brought me to Power Yoga Canada  St. Catharines. It was January, 2015 and my adventurous daughter was visiting from Banff where she’s into hiking, mountain and ice climbing and more – just for fun! Fitness had taken a back seat in my life for many years. A marketing career with some of Canada’s largest wineries meant time away travelling. When at home, I was busy catching up with my husband and raising our daughter with no time extra personal time.  

Life shifted dramatically when I was suddenly restructured out of my job. I had been raised in a family where achievement was how we were valued – what you did and who you were. Not what kind of person, but who you were – title, status in the community and so on. Suddenly this was gone and I felt lost, spending many long months in a depressive state.

The darkness started to lift as I began to focus on reclaiming my life. Moving in a radically different direction, I trained in FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) – partnering with horses to help people. It’s Life Coaching with a horse, and during the training I felt a sense of purpose come back – one that focused more on heart and balance than on bottom lines and titles. I began to co-facilitate trainings, my confidence returned and I found myself much more mentally and emotionally balanced. I also reclaimed my spirituality, enrolling in a shamanic studies program, healing my soul with ancient wisdom and ceremonies. 

Having gained my emotional, mental and spiritual strength back, my daughter’s three words, “I dare you” gave me the push I needed to put my attention to the physical. Little did I know Power Yoga Canada would bring so much more than that.

I’ll never forget that first morning class. Moving through our 10th Chaturanga  (felt like the 100th!) and I thought if I did one more, I’d land on my face! Heaven was the cold, scented cloth placed on my forehead in Savasana! Then my daughter challenged me to sign up for 30 days. With each class, I could do one more Chaturanga, bow forward a little deeper and feel a new strength returning to my body.  

I joined the Power Yoga St. Catharines Energy Exchange Team and the changes kept happening. For my 60th birthday, I set a goal to be able to do one full wheel! But the shifts weren’t just physical.  During class, and in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program, the words and thoughts shared by the teachers resonated with my FEEL and shamanic work. They spoke of being present to the moment, inviting me to be curious when I felt resistance to a pose to see what that might mirror for me in my life. More than just physical, my practice at Power Yoga Canada was challenging my heart and spirit to keep growing… keep flowing.

I’ve made new friends and love the sense of belonging I have when I walk through the door. PYC echoes my daughter’s voice and dares me to connect to who I am in all aspects. The next time you’re in down dog, perhaps you too will hear “I dare you!”  

Community Feature: June 2018

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Author:  Patryk Moskal – Community Member & PYC Mississauga Yogi

After studying at University of Toronto, I earned the opportunity to pursue my dreams playing basketball professionally in Poland. I got to travel the country where my family is from and was lucky enough to play in amazing cities like Wroclaw, Posnan, and Zgorzelec! The relationships and memories that were formed I will cherish forever. To say that basketball has been a big influence on my life is probably an understatement because I learned a lot about myself, much of the values and work ethic still sticks with me to this day. Growing up with basketball, you always need to be prepared for what was next, but when I came back home I was lost in what the next phase of my life would entail. I had got out of long term relationship and was just leapfrogging from job to job not really knowing what I wanted to focus on in the next chapter of my life. Even though my passion for basketball has always brought me to the gym, I started getting bored of the same routine. I needed a new challenge. A new bridge to cross. Thankfully I took my friends suggestion of coming to a class and found Power Yoga Canada Mississauga!

After signing up for the Intro Special in the beginning of February, I have seen tremendous growth in myself not just on my mat but the person off of it as well. I am no longer stressing about things that are not in my control, and focus on the present and what I can change. I am the type of person that’s mind is always racing back and forth, from future to the past, and everything in between. Finding yoga has been a calming breathe of fresh air. Ever since I stepped foot in a hot yoga class, I have been addicted to the sense of accomplishment I have walking out of a class knowing I gave it my all and sweat my heart out in the last Wheel. I was surprised how welcoming the environment was and the sense of community I felt coming to each class. Having such phenomenal teachers makes the decision to practice that much easier, and always worth it! Sometimes your body won’t agree with that, but you got to be a deaf man to your bodies sometimes. Once you are on your mat, your worries melt away and you become a happy baby.

One of the reasons I was drawn to basketball was the opportunity to grow as a player. Regardless your talent or skill level, you can always learn new techniques, moves, and improve on mechanics. Just like in yoga, even if you master a pose there is always room to improve.  I found the best ways to improve both in basketball and yoga was to make the uncomfortable comfortable, because that’s where we learn the most about ourselves. Six months ago, I would have never agreed to write a feature about myself or even try a yoga class, now I can’t live without it! I’m very grateful for yoga and how it brought positivity and love back into my life and hopefully for the people reading it can do the same. So if I can become a PYC Warrior you can become a Warrior two/ too! Special thank you goes out to Vicky & Isabel from PYC Mississauga for opening your arms to me and making me feel so welcome at Power Yoga Canada!!

Community Feature: May 2018

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Author: Roman Tataryn, Power Yoga Canada Teacher & PYC Etobicoke Yogi

Hi, Roman here, where do I start? My life before yoga was very much grey, filled with work and parties, and that was all I cared for. On top of that, about half a year before joining the Power Yoga Canada Etobicoke studio, my family-life started to collapse resulting in a breakup with my significant other. Common experience or not, I took it very close to heart. I thought of myself as failure of a man and husband, and slowly began sinking towards bottom. The depression that I was hiding from everybody, drinking problems, weight gain and health issues started to show up in my life. It all seemed like a never-ending nightmare until a rainy Tuesday, March 22nd. I had neglected my health and when people suggested yoga, I made the excuse that “yoga is not for me, yoga is for girls”.

I walked into Power Yoga Canada Etobicoke and my opinion changed after only one hour of a really sweaty class lead by Susan. I was stunned by how great I felt after class, so I started to practice 4-5 times a week, and signed up for 40 Days to Personal Revolution. Slowly but surely, I started to see results; I started feeling stronger, confident, losing weight at the same time. One of the most important things that started to happen was that I started to love the life I was living at the moment.

A magical thing then happened when I went on a trip to Iceland. I was sitting on a rock on the seashore, listening to the waves crashing (it was like meditating, but better) and the thought that I should take the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training came into my head. Shortly after, I took my first steps towards my goal; I took my Assisting Intensive Training and Teacher Training quickly after.

As I am writing this, I realize that a little more than two years have passed since I started this journey. Was there a grand change in my physical body? The answer to that is YES, but that’s not all. The most important change was how I was able to shift my perspective from material things that used to matter the most to me, to the things that actually make me happy. The practice itself brings awareness to the whole body, to what surrounds you, it shows you how to live in the present moment on the mat and how to bring it with you into the real world.

What I found in this studio was a second family. I found people that support each other and make a stand for one another. Our studio gets together to celebrate happy moments like they’re their own, as well as supporting people in the challenges they are facing. I was able to meet some of the most amazing people and they have become my very close and precious friends. I could never say thank enough to Susan and John for creating such an amazing community that literally draws people in. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my story with all of PYC. I hope that my story can help any student realize their potential. Change is scary, and I know it but, with a little curiosity we are capable of things that we never thought we could do. With utmost love and gratitude, Namaste.