Teachers

Yoga Teacher Review: Susan Van Zaig

I always find it a bit daunting to choose a Hatha class when I don’t really know what the teacher’s style is. It can be a bit like the Goldielocks syndrome: too challenging, too quiet, too flowing. I was practising at Yyoga two weeks ago and I found their teacher’s profile section very helpful. So I went to Susan’s class on Tuesday at Flow Wellness, and it was exactly what I was looking for and more.

She started with an anecdote that served as a theme for the practice, drishtis, and we often came back to our gaze as we worked very thoroughly on various foundation asanas. I came out of that first class with the feeling of having learnt a lot. I’ve returned to Susan’s classes twice since and it has become one of my ‘can’t miss’ classes of the week.

Susan is a very elegant yogi and she takes time to illustrate postures in depth. She often pauses to prompt for questions and establish a dialogue with her students.  Her adjustments are spot-on and the way she makes us work through classic postures is very creative and fun.


[source: Yyoga Flow]

Susan’s class is perfect for all levels. Beginners can learn the postures properly from the start. More experienced yogis can deepen their practice by developing a better sense of precision, as well as by correcting all those little bad habits, picked up in years of automatic repetition. Also, if they are a nerd like me, you can learn interesting aspects of the mechanics of the body.

It has really changed my practice. I feel that by persisting every week, I will achieve greater progress without ‘cheating’ and by being honest with my body.

Susan teaches at Yyoga Flow Wellness on Tuesday and Thursday and at Semperviva on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Yoga Teacher Review: Dan McInnis

It was Tracy’s birthday earlier this week, so the lovely folks at YYoga sent her a ‘you and a friend free class for your birthday’ email. (She also received a similar email from Semperviva). These must be recent promotions by the Vancouver yoga companies, since I never received emails for my bday a couple months ago. Tracy was kind enough to invite me to attend a class with her at one of my favorite studios, YYoga Flow Wellness. We thought the complementary classes would be a great chance to venture a different instructor and deviate from our usual yoga routine.

We chose a yoga teacher neither of us had practiced with before: Dan McInnis. We attended his Hatha class yesterday and absolutely loved it. He began the class by recounting to us how he was getting ready to come to work and started becoming really excited about the sequences he was going to get us to try. When your teacher is bringing forth such amazingly positive energy, it really sets the tone for the whole class. Dan is a very encouraging and supportive instructor who just makes you feel so good! His class was very well rounded, with a good focus on balance and core strength. We left class with openness in our hips, strength in our cores, and positivity in our minds.

Apart from YYoga, he also teaches Corporate yoga classes in Vancouver. Leave a comment below if you’ve attended any of Dan’s classes and know of other studios he teaches at 🙂

[source: YYoga Flow]

Semperviva’s Sun Shines

We braved the cold this morning to attend Cameron’s class at Semperviva in Kitsilano today. Despite the frigid temperature, the sun was shining and Semperviva’s Sun studio was warm and inviting.

I recently activated my Passport To Prana card online and used it for the first time this morning. Since I have a Semperiva swipe card, they made note of my attendance and I was promptly emailed a questionnaire to see how I enjoyed my experience. (If you’re attending a studio for the first time, you will need to sign a waiver before your first class).

Cameron has a way about him and an energy that makes everyone in the class feel calm and comfortable. Today, he created a space for us to tap into our own presence. He reminded us that each moment is unique and will never be experienced again.

There is a reason Cameron’s on all the Semperviva posters and is a Semperviva College teacher-trainer – he’s just so good at his job. He is an example of what happens when your passion aligns with your purpose. He has an exceptional way of articulating exactly how to position yourself in each pose, so those new to yoga can easily allign their bodies.  Dually, he instructs his class by suggesting modifications to challenge intense yogis.

Although freezing weather made it difficult to drag myself out bed today, I’m really glad we made it to Cameron’s class. I left Sun studio with a lightness in my body, as if every worry and concern had been lifted.

If you’ve never attended a yoga class by Cameron Gilley, check out Semperiva.com for his teaching schedule.

[photo source: sienawanlass]

4-Minute Yoga At Your Desk

If your job requires you to work at a desk for long periods of time, then you might find your back getting stiff throughout the day.

Here is an excellent video by world-renowned yoga instructor, and Gaiam Yoga Club developer, Rodney Yee.

(We were fortunate to take a class from Rodney and his wife, Colleen Saidman, at last year’s Yoga Conference in Vancouver.)

Try the following routine for some instant upper and lower back loosening.

What tips do you have for keeping your body moving at your desk-job?

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

Help to Improve Yoga in BC!

Are you a member of Yoga BC?

Yoga BC is a non-profit organization, that provides information and services in relation to the Yoga Industry in BC.  As the popularity and interest in yoga continues to significantly grow in Vancouver and BC, Yoga BC offers up-to-date information and assistance to yoga teachers, studios and students.

Having been in operation since 2000, the association runs mainly on the assistance of volunteers. There are currently 426 active members and Yoga BC strives to bring people together in the spirit of unity & co-creation through the awareness, knowledge & practice of yoga.

Even if you are not a teacher, Yoga BC has a membership level for you;

  • Student Membership – $35 for 1 Year gets you Specials from other Yoga BC partners and invitations to special events.
  • Teachers – $99 for 1 Year get you specials from other Yoga BC Partners (Right now includes Meditation Village, Banyen Books & LuLu Lemon), invitations to special events, unlimited postings in community calendar workshops, events & retreats, discounts on First Aid & CPR Training & Discounts on insurance!
  • Studios – $225 for 1 Year gets you 3 Teacher Members, unlimited event postings, discounted banner advertising, discounts on insurance, invitations to networking events!

In 2010, Yoga BC has strengthened its vision, its presence in the community & value to members focusing their energy on initiating continuing education programs, launched a Code of Ethics, negotiated a spectacular membership rate for liability insurance and continued to facilitate its role as a hub for all questions yoga in BC with thousands of requests to support students, teachers and studios along their journey.

In 2011, Yoga BC is looking forward to supporting the advancement & standards of teacher training curriculum, developing a teacher training recognition program & mentor-ship program, expanding the professional development series by offering webinars, luncheons & workshops, and begin the process of developing best practices for yoga teachers in collaboration with BC yoga studios.

Join them, in helping to improve the practice of yoga for students, teachers and studios in BC. Want to learn more? Come and see us at Booth #507 at the Vancouver Yoga Conference all weekend, or stop by just to say Hi!

Yoga Aid Challenge In Vancouver

For the first time in Canada, Yoga Aid is happening in Vancouver, BC (among other cities) on Saturday, September 18th – at Jericho Park.

The Challenge is a special, 2 hour yoga practice held in hundreds of locations worldwide. The Vancouver event will bring together Vancouver’s leading Yoga leaders including Alli Warnyca, Andrea Spiegel, Daniel Clement, Danielle Mika Nagel, Eoin Finn, Erica Blitz, Kristin Campbell and Nico Luce. Registration from 8.00, the Challenge begins at 9am.

By registering for an event near you, you are helping to create strong communities based on giving. Practicing with some of most influential yogis is an added bonus!

The event is free but the Challenge is to fundraise for their Canadian charity partners:

There’s still time to register! Click here.

Are YOU attending this Saturday at Jericho?

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?

Whistler Yoga Conference

Attention Yogis in British Columbia!

You will all be very interested in the upcoming Whistler Yoga Conference, which will be held for 3 days from June 4 – 6, 2010.

Open to all levels, so come deepen your knowledge as a practitioner, or try different styles of yoga as a beginner.

With over 20 experienced yoga teachers from across Canada and over 40 seminars and workshops to choose from, it is guaranteed to be an awesome event in beautiful Whistler BC.

Vancouver Yoga Review reviewed the Vancouver Yoga Conference back in October 2009, which was a great conference with amazing teachers.

Will you be attending the Whistler Conference?

Namaste!

Outdoor Yoga on Earth Day!

A morning outdoor yoga session is the perfect activity to start off Earth Day 2010!

YYoga‘s instructor Danielle Mika Nagel will be leading the reviving morning class tomorrow at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Mats will be provided by YYoga, so come on down for some downward dogs in the fresh air!

WHEN: Thursday, April 22, 2010 ~ 8:30am – 9:15am
WHERE: Vancouver Art Gallery ~ West Georgia Street side (750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC)

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd and is the largest worldwide environmental event. For more information about Earth Day and what more you can do to participate in this important annual event click here.

Yoga Association of BC: Connecting your Community

The Yoga Association of British Columbia is an organization assembled in the late 90’s which acts as a forum for advocacy, dialogue, peer-to-peer connections, and continuing education.

Check out their website to see which studios and teachers are members of YogaBC.

Yoga students, teachers and studios can all apply to become members of the YogaBC and can members can apply for extended health/dental/insurance through the organization.

Want to know what’s going around your area? Click on their Community Calendar for the latest yoga events.

Which upcoming events are you attending in Vancouver?

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