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Community Feature: September 2018

By Community Feature

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!

One Breath

By Uncategorized

Building a Community One Breath at a Time

The Stories of Power Yoga Canada & how it takes a village to raise a Yoga Studio

As we approach our 10 year anniversary, it has become so clear that Power Yoga Canada would not be what it is without YOU! We have moved together, we have cried together and we have lived together in and out of unison. Well, we need your support once again.

We are spending the next year putting together all the stories of PYC. What have you learned? What have you shared? What do you want the world to know? What photos do you have and what memories do you never want to forget? Do you have a paragraph? Do you have a quote? Do you have a recipe or an accomplishment that would have not happened had we not met on our mats?

Storytelling and sharing allows us to keep our stories alive, so if you have something please share it. We want to hear from you send whether you have been with PYC since day 1 or whether our paths have just crossed – we need to hear from you! Wherever you practice or don’t practice, wherever you are in the world please send us whatever inspires YOU!

When: By November 2nd 2018 (that will be our 9 year anniversary)
How: Email community@poweryogacanada.com with subject: ONE BREATH
Questions: Email us! @ info@poweryogacanada.com

Wanna share on social? Tag us & use the hashtag #pyclife and we will use as many as we can.

Mother Theresa said, if you want to change the world, go home and love your family. Thank you for being our family, together we have been changing the world, we are forever grateful & we are all just getting started!!!

Love,
Kinndli & Pauline

Community Feature: August 2018

By Community Feature

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

By Community Feature

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!”  

200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training: What’s in it for you?

By 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

1.SPACE

This program is challenging because it asks you to get real with about who you’ve been and who you want to be in the future.  Through inquiry, meditation and asana (yoga practice), you be able to create space between your thoughts and will tune in to your innermost compass and be in the experience of creating something new for yourself.

2.NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BODY

You will gain new insights into your yoga practice as you study the anatomy of yoga, learn the fundamentals of the Journey into Power. Your practice and understanding of your own body will be transformed as you understand the mechanics of movement and how to find your fullest expression. 

3. REMEMBER HOW TO PLAY

One of the greatest gifts of this program is that it will reunite you with play.  Maybe you’ve been taking yourself too seriously for too long, in this 200 hour yoga teacher training program you will reconnect with what it feels like for explore with curiosity, put your heart into trying new things and encouraging others to play as well.

4.COMMUNITY

You’ll meet your Yoga Family.   These will be the people to cheer you on without question, just like you’ll learn to be the loudest one in the room cheering for them.  They will give of themselves generously and you will too. You will learn to love, celebrate and share fiercely. Do not be surprised when one of you suggests matching tattoos.

5.SURPRISE

Am I really teaching a yoga class right now?  Am I really doing a handstand right now? Am I really sharing in front of the group right now? Am I really moving past by bullshit?  Am I really up to something bigger than myself? YES.

5 Impactful Lessons from Kids Yoga Training

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Author: Monica Mallo – Mom, PYC Faculty, &  Yogi

I didn’t realize we were making memories, I just knew we were having fun – Winnie the Pooh

Parenting can be some of life’s hardest work and even despite its challenging aspects, the love for my children makes it my mission to get back up every time it gets hard, every time I feel the sweat & tears, because they are worth it. Through the years, I have read and studied more books about parenting than can fit in my bookshelves, I’ve listened to fellow mothers, and professionals in the field. I use what I’ve learned from my practice and from Kids Yoga/Mindfulness Training to bring them back to centre when things get tough.What has and continues to work best has been the simple & profound practice of Yoga. Remember, Yoga is not just about tree pose or sitting in a meditation, but instead so much more. The history of yoga is so rich in tradition and offers a portal of connection to self and others.

Yoga can happen anywhere. You do not need a yoga room. Or a class room. To be honest my best classes for my children have been in the their bedrooms when they feel bad about something, or in the living room when one of them is suffering from anxiety, or in my bedroom when they can’t sleep. Knowing how yoga has helped me support my kids, every parent can benefit from taking Kids Yoga/ Mindfulness Training. Here are 5  impactful lessons you can bring into your home:

1. Put yourself in your kids shoes. 

Remember what its like to be a kid? Often we don’t and we like to solve problems from our ‘adult’ mind. We might try to communicate in a language that our children don’t understand,  or we listen from a place of trying to fix instead of feeling what they are going through. As a parent, to have the ability to feel what your kids feel may just be what they need to feel heard & whole.

2. Trust your kids.

Trust that they are responsible enough to figure things out on their own. When you want to intervene, take a moment of pause and give your littles some space. The discipline of breath work and mindfulness can retrain your brain to not be as reactive. With some time you will be awed that they can come up with some amazing solutions on their own.

 

3. Teach them what you know to be true.

It may not always seem like it but Mommy and Daddy are still their biggest heroes. They listen to what you have to say, so be wise with what you share. Teach them powerful tools to connect with themselves, others and their surroundings so they will know what to do when they have feelings of anxiety, boredom or restlessness.

4. Bring playfulness back into your life.

Having fun with the family is a sure way to get the kids off their devices but first we need to remember how to have fun. I always say kids can smell fear and a phoney from a mile away. It isn’t always easy to connect back to those carefree moments in your childhood but trust me it’s a MUST. Learn to have fun again, reconnect back to those days when a simple game using creativity and humility produced the biggest laughter. Your kids will rather be hanging out with you than any on screen.

5. Love thyself.  

Jane Travis once said “The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have”. If your children see you value yourself, forgiving yourself, loving yourself, they are sure to follow in your footsteps.

Just like yoga, parenting is a practice.  How have you brought yoga into your home?  How do you share your practice with your children?  Tag us on Facebook or Instagram – we’d love to hear from you!

 

So you think you aren’t ready teach yoga?

By 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training No Comments

teach yoga

I felt the same way.

It was the Fall of 2010 and I was going to yoga every single day. Power Yoga Canada Clarkson was like a second home to me. I was in love with the practice, inspired by the community and was finally starting to understand those people that claimed yoga had changed their life. I was constantly eyeing posters and hearing buzz around the next round of Kinndli’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program that would be starting that January.

Over the course of those months leading up to January, I thought to myself more times than I can count, I really want to teach. Then very quickly and very loudly, the BUT would come in.

I can’t hold a handstand yet, if I’m going to teach I need to be able to do that. 
I need to tone up more if I’m going to be at the front of the room.
I’m not confident enough to talk for 60 – 90 minutes to a room of strangers.
Nobody would even want to take my class. I’ll never get hired anywhere. 
I don’t know if I can handle the big investment of my money and time right now.
I haven’t been practicing yoga long enough to take this next step. 
There’s already so many great teachers out there, there’s no room for me.

The list was long and the doubt was loud but at some point I hesitantly mentioned to Pauline that it was on my mind. Those of you that know her will also know that once you tell her you want to do something you pretty much have to do it because she’ll be right there behind you – pushing if she has to.

I’m so grateful that she gave me that push and now, whether we know each other or not, I’m here to do the same for you.

If you’ve been thinking teacher training is something you want to do, then you’re absolutely ready to do it.

After almost 7 years of teaching full time, opening a studio and making yoga my ‘real’ job, here are the four things I wish I had known then.

1. It doesn’t matter what your practice looks like.

There are amazing teachers in the world that can float into handstand. There are also amazing teachers out there that can’t even hold it for a second. In my opinion, there is no correlation between a teachers ability to do advanced poses and their ability to teach an unbelievable yoga class.  There will always be another pose to work on.Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until your practice is ‘good enough’.

A powerful teacher loves yoga. Their practice changed their life and they want to share that gift with others. They have a sincere desire to dive deeper and learn. They’re passionate about helping people. If you have all that and you can hold a handstand, high five! If you can’t, high five! You love yoga and that’s what matters. You have SO much to offer.

2. It’s a lot of money and time but totally worth it.

My plan was to do my Teacher Training while I had the time and then get a corporate job. I thought I’d learn how to teach a yoga class, figure out how the body worked and understand the basics of explaining yoga poses to other people. I’d teach 1 or 2 classes per week on the side of whatever job I had but lucky for me, life didn’t go as planned!

But let’s say it had. If I was a corporate girl who never taught a single class after my training, it would still be the best investment I’ve ever made in myself and my growth. It’s so much more than a yoga training. Yes you will learn (a lot) about yoga but more importantly, you’ll learn (probably more than you want to) about yourself. You can’t put a price on the growth that this program inspires in every aspect of your life. I would go back and spend that money again in a heartbeat.

3. You’ll never feel 100% ready.

If you’ve convinced yourself that you have some sort of physical, mental or emotional barrier that you need to overcome before you’re ready to stand at the front of the room, I have some news for you. Sitting around and hiding from people is not going to get you over that barrier.

We all have something standing in our way. Maybe you think you need to lose a few pounds. Maybe you think you’ll teach when you somehow get over your anxiety around public speaking. Maybe you think you need to get over your fear of judgement and what others think of you. Whatever it is, there’s something you want to work through before you teach. These are the very things you get to tackle with a group of amazing and like-minded people all going through their 200-hour training with you. Sitting at home thinking about how you’ll one day feel comfortable talking in front of a group is not going to get you there. You’ve got to do it, even if it’s scary.

4. The world needs you, yes YOU!

If you remember one thing, let this be it. Yes, there are many, many great teachers in the world already but guess what? None of them are you. You have something so unique and so special to share with your future students and believe me, they’re out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.

We all have our own stories and life experiences to share. We’ve all found yoga for different reasons and the benefits of this practice are profoundly personal. We experience them in our own way. One of the things I love most about yoga is that no two teachers are the same. We’re all sharing this ancient tradition but adding our own unique flare to it. So stop telling yourself that there are enough teachers out there. There’s more than just room for you, there is a need for you.

You’ll doubt yourself. You’ll probably have a long list of ‘buts’ like mine. You’ll question if you’re ready. You might even have a little crisis before your training starts or you teach that first class thinking: ‘I can’t do this’.

I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN and YOU SHOULD.

 

jenn headshot
Jennifer Dwyer
Power Yoga Canada Muskoka
www.jenniferdwyer.ca
@jenniferdwyer
@pycmuskoka

Stay for Savasana!

By Uncategorized One Comment

I find myself craving deep rest throughout my yoga practice, and yet when it’s time for Savasana I’d often rather be running a marathon! I find it hard to be still in those final moments, when I know the class is coming to an end and my workload will return shortly after. Despite the urge to roll up my mat and run, I stay still and clear my mind of the incessant need “to do.” Why do I do this? Everything I’ve learned about yoga so far has taught me to stay put when things get uncomfortable and acknowledge times for rest. To me, that’s exactly what Savasana is about: being still and restoring.

Some students routinely choose to leave a class before or during Savasana. This is not only disruptive to the class and teacher, but it comes at a big cost to you. Literally translating to corpse pose, Savasana offers you the chance to be completely tranquil and calm in your mind and body. Nothing works better for relieving stress and letting go than allowing the world to melt away in Savasana. In addition to being a powerful stress-buster, this resting pose also allows your body to return to its normal state. In between all those Chatarungas and Navasanas your heart rate goes up and your body gets hot. In Savasana your breath and heart rate will return to normal, your body will cool down and you’ll be ready to transition back into your day.

photo 2 (1)

The most important reason to stay in Savasana, in my opinion, is to allow your body to soak up all the healing benefits of the practice. Your body is constantly interpreting and processing all of your movements throughout your practice, including all the Downward Dogs and Warriors you do, and it needs time to absorb this information. Savasana provides your body with the opportunity to remember and integrate the information you’ve learned through each and every pose.  Next time you come into Upward Facing Dog, you may just find your upper arm bones naturally roll back, all thanks to the lesson your body has learned from last week’s class.

Rest at the end of class, because…why not? You’re already there for the full class so stay fully committed to it and yourself. Do you really think getting off your mat 5 minutes early will allow you to accomplish that much more in your day, anyway? Just consider that everything you need will come to you during rest. If you legitimately have to leave before Savasana because of a work commitment or something like that, just know that you can always choose another class that would work better with your schedule. If you routinely leave class early because you feel you have something more important to do, just remember that you are important, your practice matters, and your dedication to that full hour matters. This is not about being a good or bad student, it’s about giving yourself the best chance you can to relax, restore and revitalize your mind, body and soul. Give Savasana a chance and your asana will be very happy!

Written by Power Yoga Canada Teacher and Writer Eryl McCaffrey. Check out her blog:  http://twofeetheartbeat.wordpress.com/

Are You Present?

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PYC ClarksonI’ve lived most of my life from my head – over-thinking, over-analyzing and worrying about every little thing. It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I even began to wrap my worried mind around the idea of presence.

My first few practices were confusing.

The teacher would ask me to ‘be present’ and I would think to myself: Well, yah, obviously. I’m here. I’m in the room. Where do you think I am, teacher? Now tell me what pose do to next.
I would hear the words ‘land in your body’ and I’d think: Land in my body? What does that even mean. I live in my body. How can I land in it?

It didn’t take me long to realize that all that inner dialogue was exactly what the teacher was encouraging me to step out of. I was NOT present. One moment I was overanalyzing what the teacher said, the next I was fretting about the essay I had to write, then before I knew it, I was getting mad at my sisters all over again replaying some fight from last year.

I wasn’t landing in my body because I was having a conversation in my head. 

That was years ago, and to this day, every time I hit my mat, I struggle between landing in the moment and wandering off in my head. That’s what the practice is for me, an opportunity to bring my body and my mind into the same place, at the same time.

We are on Day 3 of 40 Days to Personal Revolution at Power Yoga Canada and the theme of the week is Presence – bet you saw that one coming. If you are participating, awesome! If you aren’t, you can still join us in noticing when you are present in your life and more importantly, when you are not!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone only to realize that you have no idea what they just said?
Have you ever been in front of your computer at work or at school and you get nothing done because your mind is fixated on that fight you got in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/parents last night?
Have you ever pulled into the driveway after a long day and realized that you have no idea how you got there? Scary, right?

These things happen because you weren’t present. You were in your head, thinking about something that wasn’t actually happening in the moment. Take it from me, it’s a tough way to live! I suffered through a lot of my life because of the time I spent in my head dwelling on things that had already happened and worrying about things that might in the future. And this is still my work. It’s a practice that will never end for me, but one that has had an amazing impact on my relationships, life and overall happiness.

When you bring your attention to presence this week, you might notice that you aren’t really there for more moments than you thought. Maybe you’re realizing – like I did – that you’ve spent your whole life in your head.

Don’t get discouraged. It’s a powerful place to be. With the awareness that you’re not present, you see an opportunity that you didn’t even know was available to you before:

You can come back to the moment.

Jenn Dwyer

If you have any helpful tips for practicing presence in your life, share them with the community in the comments below! 

See more of my writing here.