Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: FIERCE LIGHT, WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION

What does Yoga and Activism have in common?   COMMUNITY!

Last night I watched the ground breaking documentary, “Fierce Light, When Spirit Meets Action” an in-depth look at the power that is released when our spirituality/belief and activism meet.

Sparked by the movements of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu,  Thich Nhat Hanh, and Mandela, by igniting a global movement of positive, compassionate action. It is a global journey of social change motivated by love, and the necessity to save our world through ethical action.

When asked by students what my message is, I say I am an Activist for Compassion, thus my message is to be an activist for compassion.

It is here, where we see a direct correlation between Yoga and Activism; both deeply rooted in community. The growing popularity of yoga at this time of global transformation and shift of inward search for our own humanity is not a coincidence.

If we look at the definition of a Yogi it is someone who strives to live in harmony with the earth, our environment and embracing the connection with another; which is at the heart of belonging.

A yogi seeks self-realization through the practice of action to become a more centered and rounded partner of society. By living in an other-centered way rather than a self-centered way, the yogi lives harmoniously with the earth, with all beings and things, and ultimately with oneself. This is the very way of life that is reflected in our leaders who have taken compassionate action towards a better world.

The practice of yoga on the mat can provide us with very practical skills to enable us to dismantle our present negative culture, a culture of dis-ease, based upon the exploitation of the earth and injustice of our fellow human and to act with non-violence to shift the paradigm towards social change.

So the next time you are on your mat, think about how you can transfer the loving, compassionate traits evoked from your practice and take them off the mat.  Imagine individuals and organizations connected by a shared commitment to compassionate, positive action….that’s most definitely Fierce Action!

Transform.  Inspire.  Enable

Cynthia’s Handmade Cards and Yoga Bags

Teacher training is a great way to meet inspiring, talented, creative and like-minded people. Cynthia, one of our fellow yoga trainees, always comes to class with the most original creations. She knits quirky hats, gloves, scarves, but also yoga mat bags. They are quite a hit amongst our group and a lot of the girls have now their personalised one, assorted to the colour of their mat.

Handmade Yoga Bag

Cynthia also personalised her yoga diary, by carving her own yoga inspired stamps, and I always peek at it jealously when we are making our notes on asanas. She has now created a few different sets of cards using her designs, and they are really lovely.

Ganesh

So I would suggest a browse at Cynthia’s blog, where she posts some very appetising vegan recipes, and writes about yoga and self-sufficiency and also have a look at her shop where you will find her cards.

Olive OM

Aqua Bird

[Source: http://muddyspoon.blogspot.com]

Keeping It Fresh With A Little Heat

In the spirit of trying new things and keeping it fresh, I thought I would try out a Hot Yoga class.

Now let’s give some background here; I have been practicing yoga for about 13 years & I just starting teaching in 2009. I first tried Hot Yoga in 2003 but was hurt by an enthusiastic teacher who thought my hip could open further. It could not, and consequently I couldn’t sit cross legged for three months.  So understandably I was a little nervous heading to Yyoga on Sunday night to try out Brant Forrester’s YHot class.

First Questions

My first question upon entering Flow Wellness on Burrard Street was rather personal; during my moon cycle should I be practicing Hot Yoga? The guest experience member at the front desk was very helpful. She stated that there are many schools of thought but practicing on your first day of your cycle is not recommended, nor are inversions.  Good on both counts, I head in.

The Build up

Seated in the waiting area before the Fire room I asked a few yogis why they practice Hot Yoga. One yogi stated that he liked the cleansing aspect of the deep sweat.

Another yogi stated that he was on his 30 day challenge; having missed one day, he was catching up by taking two YHot classes. He professed that he loves the challenge and is now addicted.

Marcie, another yogi, seated with us stated that she has a very active mind and that Hot Yoga offers her the challenge she needs.

Everyone warned me I would sweat a lot. They recommended I bring a change of clothes for afterwards.

Here we go

Finally allowed to enter the studio, we set up our mats & got ready to move. First I have to say the room wasn’t as hot as I expected. It was warm but not unbearable. Although the room didn’t get any hotter, I warmed up considerably with all the movement.  There were definitely times during the practice that I felt the need to leave the room. But I just got closer to the ground in Child’s Pose and used my breath to relax.

Brant was very reassuring as he stated immediately that Yoga is your practice. As with all types and levels of yoga; do only what you can, only what your body feels is okay, not what your mind expects of you. There is no competition in yoga, especially not with yourself.

Starting us off in a deep yogic breath; Brant allowed us to get centered and comfortable with the room. Once we were comfortable, he encouraged us to try our Uyaji breathe; preformed by creating a soft sound at the back of the throat while inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. This sound can help with focusing the mind.

Brant guided us softly throughout the practice using a combination of laughter and encouragement. Starting with postures that remained closer to the floor, we gradually worked into standing poses and balancing postures. Brant challenged you yet also let you decide the level of exertion.

The Deep Satisfaction of Accomplishment

After going through a nice sequence of postures we were back on the ground to do some stretching. Sensing the end was near I was pleased that I had made it. I have to admit that I have never felt a deeper sense of satisfaction than when Brant encouraged us to prepare for Savasana (Corpse Pose). I felt calm and relaxed; no tension anywhere in my body.

Final words

I would encourage anyone to try out a Hot Yoga class. The fear that had held me back was unwarranted, and I am glad to say I am now a big fan of Hot Yoga. I hope you will become one as well. And if not, at least you can say you tried.

(Source: life123.com)

Enlighten Up – A Review

Enlighten Up – A Review

I have recently become fascinated with documentaries, while I never really seemed to have the attention span before to concentrate on a 2 hour documentary, I find these days I cannot get enough.

I recently watched, Enlighten Up! “A Skeptic’s Journey into the World of Yoga.” The goal? Kate Churchill, the filmmaker, is determined to prove that yoga can transform ANYBODY. She selects Nick Rosen, a newbie to the yoga world and follows him on his journey throughout California, Hawaii, New York and India over the course of six months.

The movie lets you see first hand Nick’s comments, feelings and interpretations about the practice along the way and his skepticism and curiosity with all things yoga. He meets with the likes of BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois as well as many other teachers and styles from Bikrams to Kundalini in order to find the practice that will help to transform him, included in the film are lots of other interviews with “famous yogis” like Baron Baptiste, Gurmukh Khalsa.

The interviews and information is uniquely pieced together to play up the contradictions and information that is throughout the different styles of yoga. Whether you get a sense of the filmmakers goal that everybody can transform from yoga, it is a fun and amusing ride and makes me remember my first days of yoga and my personal skepticism on what I could accomplish or what may happen along the journey, maybe Nick Rosen needs more than six months to find out?

Here is a clip, if you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend it for a light, humuorous view at the different paths of yoga. Below is a video clip from the film, it is available on YouTube divided into parts as well as on NetFlix and at your local video store;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0dJbsA6ycU

Instructor Review: Jack Black as a Vancouver Yogi?

Instructor Review: Jack Black as a Vancouver Yogi?

Okay, I know the title of this post is a bit alarming… Jack Black as a yogi? In Vancouver? Jack Black as a yogi, period, seems an odd enough thought, right?

So, okay…here’s where I’m coming from on this one.

This morning, Taya and I attended a class at Semperviva’s newest location — 4th Ave and Yew — and the class was instructed by Dan Lindsay. It was our first time taking a class from Dan and, truth be told, our first class in a while. We’ve both been so wrapped up in our lives, that yoga has sort slipped off of the regular schedule. But today we changed that and, now that I’m back in town for a while, we’re making the effort to get back into the yogi groove. Yet, today, as Taya and I limbered up, freeing our muscles from too many days without yoga and flowing with Dan’s very well planned class, I couldn’t help smiling for a completely different reason. Sure I felt free and happy to be in that moment, as one should be in any yoga class…but my mind was also drifting off somewhere else…to Jack Black.

I couldn’t help but thinking (and internally giggling a little at this thought) that Dan reminded me of Jack Black…if Jack Black were to become a yogi, that is! Dan’s hair is a bit lighter, he’s surely fitter, and he wasn’t cracking zany jokes…but the basic similarity in overall build, hair length and facial features were definitely there. More than anything though, it’s the voice that got me. As Dan expertly guided us through the hour’s many moves and flows, I really couldn’t stop thinking about how much his deep voice and strong articulations were so much like those of Jack Black (and reminiscent of Jack’s character meticulously instructing his students during “School of Rock.”) Yes…if Jack black were to go healthy, lighten his hair a bit, pull it back in a yogi-tail and strike a warrior pose, you’d be looking at Dan!

Believe me, I know. It’s more than a bit crazy of me to be thinking of Jack Black while doing yoga! But I’ve always been one to attach people’s voices and overall looks to celebrities. People are always reminding me of one celebrity or another. It’s sorta my thing. So, of course, this is all just my crazy opinion… You may not agree. So, you’ll have to attend one of Dan’s classes and decide!

Dan’s classes are a great blend of hatha stretches and flow with some yin stretches thrown in at the end. I felt very gradually limbered up and invigorated from the class! Jack Black references aside, I highly recommend attending one of Dan Lindsay’s classes! He’d probably make my Top 10 list of favorite instructors in Vancouver, in fact! So, go check out his class when you get a chance (and leave a comment below with YOUR thoughts on it)!


PS — You’ll note on Dan’s Semperviva bio that he is a very musical guy, having loved music his whole life, and going so far as to say  “I always seem to have my own internal soundtrack playing in my mind as I move through life.”  So is Jack Black. (And this comment actually sort of reminded me of Jack Black’s character as a soundtrack writer in “The Holiday”!) Maybe I’m not so crazy after all…?

Yoga Vidya

Yoga Vidya (Vidya is Sanskrit for wisdom) is an independent publishing company of the classic Sanskrit yoga texts, translated into the English language.

We were recently sent Yoga Vidya.com’s complete set of paperback books for review: Bhagavad Gita, Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and Shiva Samhita.

Bhagavad Gita – Translated by Lars Martin Fosse

Bhagavad Gita, meaning “Song of God” is a Hindu scripture praised by the likes of Gandhi, Carl Jung and even Albert Einstein. This edition is unprecedentedly clear, and names and nicknames are thoroughly defined in the book’s appendix.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Translated by Brian Dana Akers

The oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, was written by Svami Svatmarama. It is considered the classic work on Hatha Yoga – along with Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita. Hatha Yoga Pradipika consists of four chapters, and topics include includes asanas, pranayama, mudras, and samadhi. An excellent, concise edition for all students of yoga.

Shiva Samhita – Translated by James Mallinson

Shiva Samhita, meaning “Shiva’s Collection” was written by an unknown author. This very readable edition is addressed by the Hindu god Shiva to his consort Parvati.  The Shiva Samhita is a very comprehensive and reliable discourse on Hatha Yoga.

Gheranda Samhita – Translated by James Mallinson

Gheranda Samhita, meaning “Gheranda’s Collection” is a yoga manual taught by Gheranda to Chanda Kapali. Unlike other Hatha Yoga texts, the Gheranda Samhita speaks of a sevenfold yoga, which can be conceptualized as: purification, strengthening, steadying, calming, lightness, perception, and isolation. This text is also clear, concise and very informative.

Yoga Vidya books are different from other translations because they include the original, complete and correct Sanskrit writing above the accurate and informative English translation. The books also provide excellent photographers for easy reference of asanas and mudras.

If you’re interested in learning more about these classic texts, we would definitely recommend these books. Paperback and hardcover editions can be ordered directly from the company at YogaVidya.com.

Namaste 🙂

Meditation Matters

You might have read articles about a recent study – conducted by the University of Massachusetts on 16 participants for 8 weeks  – which showed how meditation can change the brain and increase grey matter in certain areas linked not only with learning and memory, but also awareness and compassion.

Sometimes, these scientific conclusions offer a good opportunity to challenge the sceptical side of our mind, which resists practices that it associates with new age. However, it can just as easily equate  to: ‘meditation actually works, it’s now tangible, it’s all there on the MRI scans’. Hopefully, new evidence like this can incentivise us to develop new habits, and that’s precisely what a lot of meditation relies on:  routines.

It is the same with asana practice: the more you do it, the more you will want to do it and, before you’ve realised, it becomes one of your everyday needs. How many times have you craved practising yoga? Personally, I notice it when I find myself standing in tree pose when stirring a sauce in front of my hob. I know I need meditation when the buzzing of my emotions and thoughts takes over my mind.

If it is not in your daily life and you don’t know how to start, it could be slightly intimidating and puzzling. What does one really do when meditating? So, why not book a class or a short retreat, or drop by your local Buddhist center to learn Metta – the loving-kindness meditation –  or mindfulness meditation, for example. Also, maybe look out for meditation workshops at your favourite yoga studios.

There’s a book I find quite helpful and simple to use, in the same series as The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown, and it’s called The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.  The first sentence reads as an invitation: ‘If you are new to meditation, you will feel comfortable here. And if you are an experienced meditator, you may find renewed inspiration.’

[source: store.higherheart.com]

The first part of the book is a guide to meditation, the ‘what, why and how’ of it, then the author leads us through 140 different meditations, from all sorts of traditions. They are categorised, which can help for days when you have a specific focus in mind: ‘calming and centring’, ‘get moving’, ‘love and compassion’, ‘problem-solving’, etc. Some might sound a bit esoteric, but 140 is plenty to choose from!

Finally, I’ll leave you with Bob Weisenberg‘s fantastic effort of compiling the Bhagavad Gita around different themes, issues and questions. This week on Elephant, he gathers the Gita’s best quotes on The Yoga of Meditation.

Online Yoga Class Review

For the times when we can’t make it to our weekly yoga class, there’s always the online alternative. I thought I’d capture and provide a few words to some of the online classes I’ve come across. Here goes!

Yoga Today – search, stream or download yoga classes!

There are three teachers featured on Yoga Today: Adi, Neesha and Sarah. They each offer various yoga styles, levels and focus. Classes range from Ashtanga, Anusara, Kundalini, Hatha blend and Vinyasa and provide for the novice to the more advanced guru. The website has over 200 one-hour video courses all shot in beautiful backgrounds and settings (mostly outdoors in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA). Each class has typically two students, along with the teacher, so it’s great to see adjustments and the different variations they offer based on ability. At the end of the class, you can rate and provide feedback – you can also check out what others have written. I’ve tried classes with each of these teachers and there’s no doubt about their expertise! I’m a fan! You can choose to download individual classes or purchase a membership. Annual unlimited membership is 89.95 USD. The site offers a weekly free class! www.yogatoday.com

Yoga Download – also a search, stream or download!

Yoga Download offers a pretty huge range of yoga classes in addition to various levels. Yoga classes range from Forest, Office, Prenatal, Hot, Restorative and Vinyasa yoga (and much, much more – some I didn’t even know existed!) to also offering Pranayama classes. You can choose between 20, 30, 45 and 60-minute audio or video classes. In addition, each class offers a downloadable pose guide. The site has around 28 yoga teachers. The site also offers music by chosen music artists and yoga products. Each class is typically set up with information regarding to style, theme (ie weight loss), intensity, props and a rating. You can preview a class even if you are not a member! Annual unlimited membership is 89.95 USD. The site offers 20-minute audio and video classes for free. www.yogadownload.com

Yogaglo – stream on your computer or HD TV!

Yogaglo offers a range of yoga styles and teachers from Anusara, Hatha, Restorative, Basics, Yin, Pre and Post Natal and Vinyasa. They also offer meditation classes, tutorials, lectures and workshops. Levels start at one and climb to three. In addition, they offer a choice for class duration starting from five minutes to 225 minutes. There are over 800 yoga classes to choose from and a choice to stream from your computer or HD TV. You can get a sneak peak of the yoga classes as well as comments from online students. There is also a beginner 7-class series for chosen yoga styles. Monthly membership is 18 USD. The site offers a 15-day free trial! www.yogaglo.com

Would love to hear your experiences and any online classes you’ve checked out!

Lori Lucas; Mummas & Babies

I’ve heard it said time & time again, that lots of women make their first path into yoga when they are pregnant, and what a better place to be when you first make your way into yoga then to already be on a path of change.

I was graciously invited to come & take one of Lori Lucas’ Prenatal classes at the Roundhouse last week, and was delighted to be surrounded by love and baby bellies! Yoga is a great practice for Moms to be who are more aware of the changes in their bodies and allows them to prepare mentally and physically for the birth of their babies. Prenatal yoga helps in building awareness and self love, along with strength both mentally and physically as well as added perks of relaxation, decreased swelling, relief from back and neck pain and so much more.

A trained Doula, Lori has been in attendance at numerous births and has completed both her Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and Kids Teacher Training. Lori’s classes are a place of love and comfort, where all the mummas are encouraged to go at their own pace or make adjustments to their practice as their body tells them. With the never ending circle of new baby bellies and new moms that come through the door, Lori continues to make a community for these new moms to share and talk about how they are feeling with other moms to be. But it’s not over there, once baby arrives these moms can still have that connection with other new moms at Mom & Baby yoga. Mom & Baby yoga builds on the community that Lori so lovingly builds and ensures that these moms continue to stay connected to people who have played an integral part in their pregnancy.

Since most women make their way into yoga when they are pregnant, the idea of going to a studio may be a little daunting. Lori’s classes are held at local Community Centres (Roundhouse & Mount Pleasant Community Centre) and while some people have a perception that Community Centre teachers are no where near as good as Studio teachers, Lori’s classes confirm you can get the same level of teaching if not better at your local Community Centre.

Check out Lori’s blog at: http://yogawithlorilucas.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook and if you are a Mom to be and haven’t yet signed up for Prenatal Yoga, give it a whirl, or if that new bundle of joy has arrived take that time for you and baby & head to a Mom & Baby yoga class. Lori’s schedule can be found on her blog or on Facebook.

Anything Is Possible: A Weekend Workshop with Camilla Bergstrom

Yoga has the potential to become something much more than just exercise, and for many of us this exercise is exactly where the journey begins. Our body starts to tone, strengthen, open and then all of a sudden we start to think differently. Eventually the connection is made: as we work on the body, we are working on the mind, the two inseparable.

When we become aware of our bodies and connect to what is happening physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, anything is possible, according to Camilla Bergstrom: when we are in sync, when we are in harmony with mind and body, we experience the strength and confidence that will lead to the feeling of I can do this and eventually the wisdom that goes beyond it.

Camilla’s 11-hour weekend workshop tested this theory.  Students were offered an opportunity to find their boundaries by examining the thoughts behind the seemingly challenging or impossible. As Camilla put it, ‘the first step is to become aware of our thoughts. Thoughts create an emotion and emotion creates a reaction. If we change the negative thought into a positive, the body will respond and we will find strength we didn’t even know that we had.’

Offering a masterful sequence of inversions, handstands and a variety of standing poses, Camilla teaches a simplistic fusion of yoga style combining self-healing with her experiences, various teacher influences and philosophy. Her teaching approach was challenging, passionate and contagiously courageous. She also took a great deal of time to focus on alignment and individual needs.

The workshop was complemented with breathing techniques and meditation. Students were invited to elongate their inner experiences by writing down and sharing their inner dialogue, as, according to Camilla, there’s more to just feeling yoga in our shoulders or our hips, much, much more, and when we write it down, it helps us to become even more aware of ourselves; it helps us to figure out which plane we are living on. Are we too much in our head? Are our feet on the ground? When we write and share, the experience becomes deeper, more profound, and when we speak it, it almost becomes an agreement.

No stranger to the element of fear, Camilla helps students acknowledge their own veil’s through the process of taking a step back, finding the discipline in their fear and committing to it versus separating from it. Camilla believes that if it means something to us, if it’s important to us, it’s going to happen and we are going to move forward. When the veil is lifted, we find purpose and within purpose we find simplicity: the result of stability, honesty and acceptance.

If you are looking for a life-altering experience, I highly recommend Camilla. You’ll be guaranteed a powerful physical journey and perhaps discover a deeper sense of your own true nature.

The Anything Is Possible weekend workshop took place in December 2010 at Hamsa Yoga Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Camilla currently resides in Los Angeles, California and offers local and international private and group classes. She has a podcast and much more information on her website: http://camillabergstrom.com/.

Namaste.

(Photo of Camilla above)

Stayed tuned for next week: Part II of ‘Where the heck did my motivation go?’

Liv Hilde, Upside Down

Since lectures started up a the beginning of January I’ve been mostly held to one yoga class a week, with the rare free weekend for some yin/yin:yang or something. Instead of something soft and easy to get me through the crush of the days, I went for the hardcore to really wring out the nasty vibes. I’ve been taking Liv’s classes since the summer sometime, and everything from hatha to YRide was in the books.

Out of curiosity, I just had to look up the origins of her last name. Apparently, Hilde carries a meaning like “ready for battle” or “woman of battle”. In this case the meaning is extremely apt, but don’t let her cheery demeanor fool you. In the last 5 months since I’ve started taking Liv’s Power Upside Down classes, I’ve only missed one due to a sore throat. Every Wednesday at 6:30pm I haul myself to her classes knowing I’m going to be fighting myself the whole way through. Yes, the male ego and pride still kicks around and lingers, pushing me to make every posture in the class.

Liv Hilde is absolutely ridiculous, and her strength is astonishing. I’ve also noticed that she really treats every class like a how a 5 year old would treat a day at the beach: with wild exuberance and unabashed enthusiasm. As such her classes don’t get too heavy with philosophy and wisdom either, sticking to lighter fare like odd happenstances in her life or poke around the lives of the yogis in class. She also has a penchant for making funny groans and grunts during tough poses, and has even called me a “ninja” for how I windmill into Warrior II.

Oh, and I should’ve mentioned that she’s been under the tutelage of Ana Forrest. Anyone else shakin’ on their mats?

What's that look on her face? Ah, deviousness.

Her Power Upside Down class is a very fast vinyasa affair with minimal rest. The inversions are placed near the end of the class when the body is all worked up, but it presents a problem because she trashes almost everyone. We’re all way too tired at the end to give the inversions a solid go, though we don’t slack off on purpose or anything. I repeat: she’s not malicious.

The classes are getting harder and harder, mostly because everyone in the class is a regular. I think a weekly class such as this with such a consistent group of followers speaks volumes to her magnetism. She makes everything look so easy, that it’s just within reach, that everyone just goes for it; caution is thrown to the wind and injury seems impossible. For the record, I’ve taken my fair share of tumbles (with everyone watching, even).

The YRide classes she used to teach at the downtown Flow studio were equally exhausting. I wrote a piece about YRide a few months back and one can get a gist of it with a decent glance through it. She’s a pure taskmaster alright, but with a heart of gold. The journey she drags you on is perilous to both mind and body; it’s that challenging when she’s on her game. All she asks for is a good effort and she’ll be there to prop you up the entire way.

I attribute my being able to get into Forearm Stands and Headstands largely to Liv’s influence. She’ll help work all the proper muscle groups, warming them all up, while encouraging…well, courage to go beyond. Before her classes I wouldn’t even dare prop myself against a wall. Today I’m comfortable with two freestanding inversions and a slew of arm balances. Never would I have imagined myself doing anything like them, and Liv and her instructor compatriots are to thank.

Oh, and if you haven’t done inversions yet but wish to try it, I’ll say that you’re brain will love it. Guaranteed.

Danielle Hoogenboom

I’ve only started taking Danielle’s classes in the last month or so. Since the departure of one my favourite instructors (Violetta Pioro) I’ve been searching for another mellow soul to fill the void. Danielle’s hatha classes function more like yin than anything, and I personally couldn’t have been more thrilled. The postures and the transitions she fields are slow and soft, and such methods are important to balance out those hardcore classes. Taking power everyday isn’t a bad thing as long as one knows to find slower and gentler classes for balance.

Danielle is soft-spoken, with a hint of lisp, and packs her dreads around like they’re clouds that float her around. Before each class she sifts around the room, asking every yogi if they have any injuries or any postures that they’d personally like to go into. I like the fact that almost all instructors ask their classes for requests, but Danielle’s one by one inquiries seem rare to me. For those that may wonder, I normally ask for twists.

I do have to say that her slow hatha classes are exceptionally effective. It’s only in her classes that I’ve caught myself at the beginning of a snore, twice, during heart-openers and such. It got to that point after she came by and lifted my chest even higher as I was lying on a bolster for Savasana; with everything supported and opened I guess my insides just melted outright. I distinctly remember one night that I relaxed so much I actually didn’t remember who I was, where I was, and how to drive home for about 10mins after the end of class.

www.lovelightyoga.com

Many of the postures in her classes are seated or in low lunges and I haven’t done any crazy inversions or arm balances with her yet. It’s a welcome change of pace after hitting up Anila and Liv’s power classes (of whom I will talk about in a few weeks) as my muscles could really use some laziness. I always get thrown off by powerful/aggressive instructors in slow classes since their strong voices seem to push me faster and further, but Danielle’s demeanor matches her class style perfectly to turn everything down.

She likes to explain every step, though always with a lull that really gets you to move the same way: slowly. Sometimes we all get caught up in the flow of a class and we really do forget to be aware. Her speed makes it so that there’s really no way to not realize the exclamations of the body. Since her movements aren’t sharp, and in our tendencies to match the instructors, the whole class claws around. I was still enough at the end of one class to end it in a sitting meditation. She later came up and said that she could see from my eyes that I had disconnected and rebooted. I didn’t deny it since it did indeed feel like that.

She has a way of making one feel like that they’re in the clouds with her, just swaying around shifting along with the vapours themselves. Like most instructors she offers food for thought, though she normally talks about the interplay between what we see to what we feel. It’s a bit different than taking a snippet from a yoga text and transposing it, rather drawing very clear lines to connect different aspects of our life.

From what I know she lives on Commercial Drive, has a roommate that digs astrological spiritualism, and sports her staple dreadlocks all the time. She even joked at how she seemed stereotypical to herself, which she then said wasn’t too far off the mark if her roommates didn’t rub off on her so much. She has her own sites, Danielle Hoogenboom and Lovelight, and teaches at Unity Yoga Tea House and YYoga.

Book Review: 1001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom by Liz Lark

Book Review: 1001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom by Liz Lark

I don’t know if you have thought about your Yogalutions for 2011 yet but one of mine is to read more books about yoga. I have now registered for my yoga teacher training starting end of January so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to read! In the meantime this is one book that I would definitely recommend. Along with The Yoga Bible, it is my favourites everyday ‘off the mat yoga’ quick-fix. Actually I would say both books complement each other. While The Yoga Bible focuses more about the physical practice, 1001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom comes back to the mind and the infinite forms of meditation. Liz Lark has structured this book so that it can accompany your daily life from waking up to going to sleep. This gives her the opportunity to explore a whole array of situations and challenges you might encounter during your day at work and at home such as : relating to others, finding time for yourself, in times of trouble, joy and celebration, encouraging vitality and winding down.


[source:www.chroniclebooks.com]

You can open 1001 in any section that corresponds to your mood, dilemma, need for inspiration or time of the day. One of my favourites features is the wonderful quotes that she has collected from a vast range of sources.  You can find pearls of wisdom by Mahatma Gandhi, The Buddha or B.K.S. Iyengar but also by American or English writers like William Shakespeare, Herman Melville or Shelley. Here are a few to give you a taste of their wisdom: “Act with a spirit of detachment being equal to success or failure. Such evenness of mind is called yoga.” – Bhagavad Gita “…oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do…’ – Lord Chesterfield “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

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