Styles

What Is Acroyoga?

Acroyoga blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics.

There are 7 main elements to acroyoga: circle ceremony, asana, partner flow, Thai massage, therapeutic flying, inversions & spotting, and partner acrobatics. There are three primary roles in an acroyoga practice: base, flyer and spotter.

This dynamic artistic expression has incredible therapeutic qualities for the entire being. The practice cultivates trust, connection and playfulness. The goal of acroyoga is to bring people into a state of union with themselves, with each other, and with a higher power. From this place of mutual support the true self can be realized, celebrated and shared for the benefit of all. Through partner and group movement a conscious community develops through nurturing of confidence, communication and self acceptance.

Yoga + Acrobatics + Thai Massage = Acroyoga!

Background:
The term ‘acroyoga’ has been used at Santa Monica Muscle Beach informally since the ’90s. However, the physical practice itself was first documented with young kids as ‘flyers’ in 1938, by Krishnamacharya. In the early 2000s, the word AcroYoga was claimed to promote the specific school.

www.seattleacro.com

Vancouver:
Official Instuctor: Emelia Symington Fedy
Contact: [email protected]

Workshops with Emelia:

Jan 2, 2011 Vancouver, BC AcroYoga Inversions & Acrobatics With Emelia
Jan 16, 2011 Vancouver, BC AcroYoga Fundamentals With Emelia

Acroyoga
More acroyoga in Vancouver:
Contact: [email protected]
Location: 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street, in Kitsilano

Join us as we glide gracefully surpass the limitations of the mind. You may find yourself taking more risks in your daily life as we release fear into a centered new world cultivating joy and loving kindness, with new friends.

Victoria:
Live on Vancouver Island? You can connect with other acroyogis in Victoria on the Acroyoga Victoria Facebook Page.

Official Acroyoga website: www.acroyoga.org

Are you involved with acroyoga? Is it a style of yoga you would be interested in trying?

Yoga for Wine Lovers

Yoga for Wine Lovers

While some yogis believe that we shouldn’t partake in alcohol, I personally do not. While anything in excess amounts can be harmful, a glass a tasty red wine, can sometimes be just as sweet as savasana, so for you wine, yoga lovers:

..too bad you couldn’t really pull this off….well maybe with a little practice.

And that got me thinking, what a brilliant idea. A yoga retreat at a winery…the best of both worlds. And low and behold…a wine yoga retreat in a French vineyard…sounds lovely, The “Vin et Vinyasa” Package, picnics, wine tasting, meditations and vinyasa classes all in the french countryside or of course, something a little bit closer to home, Yoga in the Vineyard located at Niagara on the Lake.

Now somebody just needs to start one in the Okanagan & summer vacation here I come!

Blissful Burbs; Vital Energy Yoga

Well I have to start off by saying I may be a little bias when reviewing Vital Energy yoga as I have recently just started to teach there, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the space.

I first discovered Vital Energy Yoga in “old, historic” Port Moody, driving by on my way for dinner at the Boathouse at Rocky Point (only about a block away), and I literally had to circle around the block to get another look. Situated in an old heritage house, across the street from other heritage houses filled with bookstores, flower shops and restaurants, it is the perfect neighbourhood to “get your bliss on”.

Vital Energy Yoga www.vitalenergyyoga.com

The studio is small, but has a wonderful energy with all of the history that the building holds. With beautiful hardwood floors and old antique windows to the old fashioned sink in the bathroom, I am in love with this space.

Class sizes are small, and classes offer a wide spectrum to suit all students. From Plus Size Yoga, to yoga for the Super Stiff, from Kids yoga to Teens Yoga and of course your regular old Vinyasa Flow to Meditation classes, there is something to suit everybody.

The studio has taken a new persepective and offers a place where you can come to grow both in your practice and in yourself by offering you a place not only to delve deeper into your practice but to have the opportunity to understand what is happening to you and why, why do you feel these sudden bursts of emotion or tension or pressure that you may feel or that may come up during your practice. Learning how to access this vital energy that is available to all of us & to have it in your life always. Vital Energy offers workshops that help you learn more about the practice of yoga and how it affects you.

The studio has only been open for a few months and has a few fabulous promotions on to get you started, with either your first class FREE or your first two weeks for $30.00. Plan to come to saturday morning class & walk to starbucks after for a tea and scone or come for an evening class before dinner and head to the fabulous Rosa’s directly across the street for a yummy pasta dinner or even better, make your way down to Rocky Point before or after class for a stroll around the inlet. Vital Energy has opened up in a beautiful little community that has so much to offer and is the perfect fit.

Join them at their Open House on December 02, 2010 or for an evening of Kirtan on December 11th. More information can be found on their website at www.vitalenergyyoga.com

Horsing Around!

Yoga has certainly become a billion dollar plus industry and for sure will continue to stay that way, from the countless brands of mats & accessories available, to the countless ends of yoga clothing from all different ends of the perspective. I suppose with all of these options on the table, the traditional schools of yoga are no longer enough.

The latest, I just overheard on the radio the other day, horseback yoga! Perhaps the union between the horse & the rider is important to ensure boths safety, not so sure about actually practicing yoga on a horse though which of course, is not to be confused with yoga FOR horses.

Taken from the www.dailycamera.com, “Yoga with Horses Can Make for a Deeper Connection” by Aimee Heckel;

“After a few minutes with their equine partners, even people who are scared of horses quickly realize: yoga must have been created by horses.”

“It was such a strange and amazing sensation,” she says. “You just sit there and you feel your butt on the horse’s back, balancing and aligning yourself with the breathing, and his own posture, too. If you can sink into that, you can just click in. It made the yoga experience a lot more potent, and the horses were a huge guide.”

Read the full article at Boulder Daily Camera; Yoga With Horses Can Make for A Deeper Connection or check out the video on YouTube, Horsing Around!

After doing some digging around on the internet, yoga with horses is not a new thing. You can even be certified to teach yoga with horses, of course some is more specific to equestrians and some is more exercises for the actual horse but hey, certainly gives a whole new meaning to partner yoga! Too bad I couldn’t find anything local in order to go & check it out!

Heat it Up!

As an opportunity arose to teach in a Hot Yoga Studio, not Bikram’s; I’m told there is a difference, I decided it was time to try out “hot yoga.” I have to admit, if there wasn’t an opportunity to teach I probably would have continued to actively procrastinate on trying out this style of yoga, for many reasons.

1) I’m not a heat person, don’t like it, it doesn’t like me and chooses to tell me this immediately, so I therefore avoid it as best as I can. Needless to say, summer is not my favourite season!

2) Everything I have heard about Hot Yoga from sweaty people rolling around in their own sweat, to the smells of the floor & the studio itself. I personally think the “smell” of the floor is important, since you get your nose right down there!

North Shore Elements YYoga Infrared Sauna

3) Injuries, having been teaching for awhile now I’ve had lots of students tell me that they injured themselves doing hot yoga, for various reasons of course, but the possibility of getting hurt doing one of the things I love is enough to make me steer clear.

And then, things happen, thoughts change & you go out on a limb & try something you thought you never would. Mind you, I also have the people who have told me all of the opposite points as well, that they LOVE hot yoga & gives them everything & so much more! Just like any yoga practice or anything in life, you have to see for yourself, so off I went.

[Image Source:North Shore Elements YYoga]

The first class was a Saturday morning, as soon as I walked in it was stuffy, another thing I hate is breathing warm air, instantly I had to turn my head around & say give it a shot, maybe you’ll get used to it. The class was fantastic, the heat didn’t like me so much, I spent the next day and a half in bed with a killer migraine, perhaps I didn’t drink enough water before, during or after or perhaps, I was right, my redheaded self doesn’t like the heat. Nevertheless, with believing in giving everything a second chance, I made my way back. The second time with two bottles of water in tow, and an optimistic attitude, with the sweat dripping & the feeling that you are working, I survived through a second class unscathed, no migraine to be seen of woohoo!

However, I haven’t been back since, decided that maybe teaching this “hot yoga” is not the thing for me, with the unknowing if the migraine was a coincidence or the not having one was the coincidence, so at this point I’m completely undecided. But with my Passport to Prana in hand & lots of choices of Hot Yoga and Bikrams to try out, perhaps this is my year to finally decide if I am ready to “Heat it Up!”

How do you feel about Hot Yoga, fan or not?

fly yoga = cirque du soleil yoga-style

i’m traveling (again) and this time i’m in chicago, getting ready to cheer on some 40 thousand runners in tomorrow’s marathon.  so today’s post is brought to you by the letter ‘F’…as in Fly!

part of the perks of my job (and one of the many reasons i *heart* it so much) is that i get paid to do yoga wherever i go. yesterday morning i was treated to a fly yoga class with my chicago lululemon peeps….and all i can say is fly yoga: PLEASE COME TO VANCOUVER!

for those of you who’ve never heard of fly yoga (otherwise known as antigravity yoga), fly yoga involves a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling (think: circus) that are utilized to provide support for inversions, standing postures, and more.

don’t get me wrong:  vancouver has an amazing yoga community, however, i miss the variety that i used to find in larger cities and often find myself craving something a bit more intense than the usual anusara-inspired practice.

i wish i would have taken pics (but then i wouldn’t have been able to live out my circus fantasies to their fullest) so i’ve stolen some from facebook:

Q: what’s more fun than yoga in a hammock?

A: yoga in a hammock…upside down!

for more information check out:

http://www.antigravityyoga.com/index.aspx

http://id-gym.com/fly_yoga.html

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Everywhere!

Like most Yogi’s in Vancouver, I spent the weekend at the Vancouver Yoga Conference. While I only took two classes, the options seemed to be endless, below is some of my thoughts about what the Vancouver Yoga Conference had to offer & what could be improved next year;

  • Friday the Garden classes didn’t start all afternoon & when they did were not per the times scheduled on the listing.
  • Heard from many friends who were taking sessions that sessions were starting or ending late, while not overly surprising for the first day, it is one thing that makes me crazy is when people forget how valuable everybody else’s time is as well.
  • The Trance Dance, having never experienced anything like it before was interesting to say the least, the room was HOT, and I mean HOT, no air conditioning seemed to be on & people stood in the hallway to get a breath of fresh air, stay out there too long there was no hope of getting back into that room, therefore I didn’t make it to the end.
  • Worked at the booth for YogaBC all three days, meeting lots of friendly faces from yoga teachers to students, great opportunity to network.
  • The tradeshow was smaller than I expected and a lot of really expensive solutions, although one of my favorites (even though I didn’t splurge) were the 3 minute Egg, if you missed out on these or didn’t get to try them out, check out this video; Intro to the 3 Minute Egg
  • The tradeshow seemed to pick up on Sunday, perhaps that was the little bit of rain that we had, but was a lot busier Sunday afternoon than it seemed to have been earlier in the weekend.
  • Sat in on two workshops (Intro to Kids Yoga & How to Teach Yin), both fabulous and left me wanting more, more, more.
  • Certificates for Workshops were an additional cost, not really sure why, with the amount of money lots of people spent to attend the yoga conference, the least they could do is “throw in” a certificate for the classes you attended.

In conclusion, having not been able to attend the yoga conference last year, I found this year to be an insightful, fabulous networking opportunity to build relationships & make some new ones. However, living in Vancouver us Yogi’s are VERY lucky, we get the opportunity to experience many different styles, workshops, retreats and events that happen within our yoga community, so the yoga conference is just an added bonus to a yoga community that already offers so much. If you missed out, no worries, like I said there are LOTS of events happening around the yoga community every week, all you gotta do is find them.

What were your thoughts about the Vancouver Yoga Conference? Did you enjoy or does it need some improvements for next year?

it’s the vancouver yoga conference this weekend!!

i don’t know about the rest of you, but this is pretty much as exciting as christmas for me and i’m actually (almost but not really) bummed that i signed up for a continuing education course today @ UBC (decor and dress in the victorian period) and can’t go all weekend.

i was here last year when the yoga conference was in town, but i had literally just landed off the plane after a 12 hour journey from new york (via houston) with one small slightly (very) opinionated cat that does not (read: hates) to travel (esp. by airplane).  needless to say, namaste-ing with some of the industry’s best was not high on the list of priorities when there were things like litter boxes to be bought.

this weekend however–it’s ON.  there are SO many great instructors coming, and SO many different types of practices to sample!

want to finally stick your headstand?  take michael stone‘s ‘headstands from the inside out’ today from 5:30-7:30.  want to get your boyfriend (or girlfriend) into some crazy poses (of the PG-variety)?  sign up for ‘contact partner yoga’ with marita wieser and christ brandt today from 10:30-12:30.  i’m pulling a double header tomorrow:  seane corn‘s ‘chakra flow’ from 9am-11am (it’s going to be awesome–i don’t normally see the light of day that early on a sunday, so trust me) and natasha rizopoulos‘ ‘take flight–arm balances’ from 11:30-1:30 (arm balances are my FAVE.  i’ll be like a kid in a candy store).

Seane Corn

sessions aren’t cheap, but they’re totally worth it.  when was the last time a new pair of shoes helped you align your pelvic floor?  the conference itself, however, is totally free–and free 1/2 hour yoga sessions will be taking place throughout the day on the main floor, not to mention there will be tons of yoga-related booths to check out, and probably lots of free loot and samples to score (because we all know that’s what yoga’s really about: scoring free stuff).

hope to see you there.

www.theyogaconference.com

sept. 30-oct 3 @ the vancouver convention centre

Yoga of Awareness

I was first introduced to Kundalini Yoga during my teacher training at Semperviva, and like Bikrams or Hot Yoga I believe it is an aquired taste, ie. you either love it or hate it. My first impressions were of confusion and what is going on here & this isn’t your standard Warrior I or Warrior II or Half Moon or you name it type of yoga class. The majority of the poses were not what I was used to, and the mantra was just the icing on the cake, what was going on?

Since my first encounter with Kundalini Yoga, I have come to be one of those people that loves it in this “je ne sais quoi” sort of way, being unable to determine what exactly it is that I love.

What is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that focuses on the conscious development of both your body & mind. Containing a set of kriyas (physical manifestations of awakening kundalini energy), pranayama and meditative practices designed to heal the body, awaken human consciousness and ultimately deliver a divine spiritual union. It is called the “Yoga of Awareness” because it rapidly develops intuition, self knowledge & sensitivity, which aids in awakening the creative potential that exists in all of us.

What you can expect in a Kundalini Class?

A Kundalini class begins with a tuning in Mantra  followed by a warm-up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility. The class may contain one or two kriyas, including mantra and pranayama exercises, depending on the choice of the teacher, and generally focuses on one specific chakra or area of the body. Teachers typically do not make manual adjustments. The class ends with a meditation, which may be accompanied by the teacher playing a large gong, and/or a closing song.

There are many studios throughout Vancouver that offer Kundalini classes and different styles of teaching Kundalini Yoga including the main traditional Kundalini hub; Yoga West where I have recently begun a week trial in order to get to know the centre, the people, the yoga and the environment. Stay tuned for a review of Yoga West next week.

To read more about Kundalini yoga and its history visit www.3HO.org.

Really? Ganja Yoga?

I woke up to hear about this on the radio this morning and all I can say is REALLY? WOW!

Ganja Yoga Combines Marijuana & Meditation
Excerpts Taken From the Globe & Mail

“As the light of pot smoke dissipates in the Downtown Toronto living room, the ganja yoga session begins.

“When you’re high, you can focus better on your breath,” says Dee Dussault, who runs a monthly session of “cannabis-enhanced yoga” at her home dubbed Follow Your Bliss.

“ Yoga and marijuana, together… It’s like putting salt on your food. It’s just a little enhancement.”— Tanya Pillay

She says smoking marijuana in small doses before a yoga class also makes students more receptive to the poses and philosophies behind the activities. “For some people, it makes them uninhibited and open to the idea of the heart chakra, for example.”

Heart chakras aside, ganja yoga has the THC whiff of being the latest yoga fad, following on the heels of hot yoga, circus yoga, pre- and postnatal yoga, acro yoga (acrobatics), even hip-hop yoga. While cannabis has been deeply entwined with spiritualism over the centuries, some yoga practitioners say that a pure body is ideal for the exercise and that smoking pot could cause an unwieldy imbalance. As one online-forum commenter opined: “Why should we try to purify our body and soul through yoga if we later intoxicate it again with marijuana or other substances?”

Funny, had a look at the website and no where is it listed on there, that I could find, anyways. See if you can find it, www.followyourblisstoronto.ca. What do you think, would you attend a Ganja Yoga Class? Come to think of it there has got to be one in Vancouver with our famous “BC Bud”.

Paul McCartney Teaches Eye Yoga

Happy Labour Day long weekend everyone!

I’ve seen this video pop up on a bunch of websites lately, so I just had to share it with all the Vancouver yogis.

The video is of Beatle Paul McCartney showing various eye exercises he learned in India. Practice the eye-yoga moves along with him, and watch for the part when he starts rolling his eyes – too funny 😉

Leave a comment below if your eyes felt better or worse after completing the movements.

Hope you enjoy:

mobile yogi.

i travel.  a lot.

so much that i could probably post ‘@ YVR airport’ to my facebook status permanently.

luckily for me i’m a bit of a nomad so i LOVE to travel…but what i don’t love about traveling is having to leave behind my studio and my practice.

it’s not the major cities that are the issue.  new york, LA, hong kong…all have fabulous studios and best-in-class instructors just waiting for the chance to bend me into a pretzel.

it’s the smaller off-the-radar places i frequent, like china for work, or michigan to visit my family, that prove a bit more problematic.

usually when i know i’ll be traveling someplace where i won’t have a studio available, i’ll throw a couple baptiste or bryan kest DVD’s in my luggage.  not ideal, but like double-sided tape, they’re good in a pinch.

for some reason, however, last thursday when i packed for my week-long stint in michigan i remembered to pack the 4″ wooden platform sandals but forgot the yoga DVD’s.

faced with the prospect of not practicing this week, i quickly hopped online and began googling ‘free power yoga podcasts’.

below is a list of the best 3 ‘OMG how can a podcast make me feel so sore’ yoga podcasts i found that are guaranteed to make you sweat and save your asana should you ever find yourself in the middle-of-nowhere fill in the blank with no studio and no DVD’s to feed your type-A ‘i cannot possibly survive a week without practicing’ self.

these are all power yoga classes, since that’s my preferred style of practice, however, they are great for all levels.  (please feel free to add any other recommendations/styles below in the comments section.)

1. http://www.davefarmar.com/

my number one pick, hand’s down.  dave is a yogi based out of denver, colorado.  he’s got a massive selection to choose from, he’s super easy to follow along to, and best of all: he’s funny.   i’ve never done so many chatarungas in my life.  usually when i work that hard i expect a proper introduction and a couple of drinks first.

2. http://www.yogatothepeople.com/tryOnlineClass.shtml

i love love LOVE yoga to the people.  i used to frequent their studio when i lived in new york, and i love their philosophy toward making yoga accessible to everybody.  since moving to vancouver, i am no longer a regular, however, i still occasionally hit up the YTTP website where they have 9 recordings of actual classes available free for downloading.  i think it was class number 7 where i actually thought my thigh might give out.

3. http://www.baronbaptiste.com/podcasts/index.htm

the good baron has 1 full length 75 minute power yoga workout as well as a 20 minute meditation podcast for free on his website.  if you’re good with sanskrit, you shouldn’t find the practice too hard to follow along with.  i’m not that fluent yet, so i struggled…and i was just listening along while surfing the internet for other podcasts.

To Speak The Truth or To Not

Over the last couple of days, after attending a couple of classes at different studios and spending time with my own students, I got to thinking about Satya (Truthfulness). For those of you who do not know, Satya is one of five Yamas. The Yamas are the first limb in the eight limb path as outlined in the Yoga Sutra.

The eight limb path suggests a program of ethical restraints or abstentions (yamas), lifestyle observances (niyamas), postures (asana), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and absorption into the Divine (samadhi).  The yamas are about restraining behaviours that are motivated by grasping, aversion, hatred and delusion. At this point you are probably asking what do a couple of classes have to do with Satya (Truthfulness), well….

I attended a class yesterday, that in respect of Satya, was not my favourite class to say the least. The teacher seemed nervous, unsure of what she was doing and sloppily guided us through a hatha flow class that wasn’t very flowy. Being new to the teaching world, I have come to respect and always take the chance to “give them a shot,” but find I quickly decide what I like and do not like. The class jumped from Mountain Pose to Triangle, with not much direction in between, sometimes the breath was directed and sometimes it wasn’t and the teacher rarely left her mat or made any acknowledgement of the students who were in the class. I thought to myself as we muddled through the 75 minutes, is it over yet, and thought perhaps I’m being too judgemental and if i could get into my practice a little deeper than maybe she wouldn’t distract me so much. I managed to survive the mismatch of poses and while I did enjoy a couple of her pose choices, I arose from Savasana feeling a little disappointed. I was leaving not getting the yoga practice I needed or was looking for to start my day.

Now, this wasn’t the first time that I had taken this teachers class but I have always told myself that you must try things at least twice. In order to get past the weirdness and the unexpected, to go again with a clear head and some expectations of what is to come may change your judgement the second time around. As I made my way to collect my belongings I overheard some ladies “reviewing” the class in a whisper to each other about how they greatly disliked the class and the teacher. And ironically as I relayed this story to a wonderful girlfriend of mine, she told me she had encountered a similar incident the other day at yoga where some ladies were remarking on a teachers teaching style, and their lack of the “spiritual side” of yoga and how could that teacher possibly teach. All of this got me thinking about Satya, we all have comments and feedback about teachers or what we like or don’t like but yet we either say things at the wrong time or say nothing at all and why is that?

Satya requires that you consider both the spoken and unspoken aspects of your words. You don’t want to mislead through omission; neither do you have to say everything that’s on your mind – especially if it is hurtful.

As I walked out the studio I thought to myself, maybe I should give her my thoughts on her class on what I did like and didn’t like or perhaps mention that I had overheard these ladies speaking about her class. Would it have made a difference or is it better left unsaid? I strongly believe that every person’s yoga journey is different than mine or yours and that there is a teacher for every person. There are teachers we love and teachers we think are okay and teachers that we avoid, but do we ever tell them this? People are very quick to tell you if they LOVE something but very quick to “zip their lip” if they have any formal criticism. Being a teacher myself I have had the praises of how I love your class, but have yet to hear any real negative feedback, which makes me wonder, why are we not being truthful?

We spend our lives omitting the truth or avoiding the truth, but as Satya outlines speak only of the highest, use your words to elevate the listener. I wonder how many of you tell your teachers what you like and don’t like, do you find that it makes a difference in their style of teaching or do you just stop going back to the ones you dislike?

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