Review

Book Review: Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

Book Review: Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

When many of us think about the state of the environment it can feel like such an overwhelming task to create change. The book Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone is an invitation to explore how we can remain positive, replenished and active in the work to sustain the environment.

Any change process requires us to look at ourselves first and how the culture we live in perpetuates consumerism, individualistic attitudes, and creates messages that negate what is truly happening to the environment. What is called  “the business as usual strategy” that prevents positive change from happening. De-constructing this business as usual strategy is not about feeling guilty about how or what we consume rather it provides an opportunity to bring awareness to capitalism, mass consumerism and the ecological impacts in a critical and compassionate way. This awareness raising provides pathways for individual, community and global change.

As an eco-philosopher and scholar Buddhism, Joanna Macy weaves in Buddhist philosophy and eco-spirituality through the book. It is easy to forget just how integral the earth is to our survival, plants, animals and the whole eco-system. Active Hope reminds us this earth we live in something to hold with great reverence and gratitude for. We can become “active participants in bringing about what we hope for” – Active Hope provides practical tools to help us to remain energized, re-connected and inspired so that this planet earth is sustainable for future generations.

 About JoannaMacy and Chris Johnstone

Ecophilosopher Joanna Macy, PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a groundbreaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.

Chris Johnstone is a medical doctor, author, and coach who worked for nearly twenty years as an addictions specialist in the UK National Health Service. Chris has been a trainer in the Work That Reconnects for more than two decades, working with Joanna on many occasions and running facilitator trainings in the United Kingdom.

About the Author: Angela Kayira teaches Yoga at Heart Centre Yoga in Burnaby. Her teaching is informed by her work as a social worker. Angela is a registered Yoga Teacher (E-500 RYT), the co-director of In Life School of Yoga and co-hosts the In Life School of Yoga Book Club.

 

A REVIEW: THE INTEGRAL ANATOMY 4 PART SERIES BY GIL HEDLEY

A REVIEW: THE INTEGRAL ANATOMY 4 PART SERIES BY GIL HEDLEY

 

“The Integral Anatomy Series” by Gil Hedley

Gil Hedley, is a Ph.D. and founder of Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, and Somanautics Workshops, Inc. Hedley’s 4 part series of dissection of the fasciae, allows the viewer to gain a deeper understanding of the fascia system and grants us different kinds of access and insights, as well as enhances our ability to see certain tissues through the highlight of the multiple layers of the deep fascial lines and the superficial fasciae lines.

Each part of the series presents the anatomy of human form, layer by layer, from an integral, whole body perspective, not isolation. Now, these DVD’s are not for the faint of heart, but if you feel comfortable with paying tribute to those who have offered their bodies to science after they have passed and are interested in the dissection process of our multiple layers, then I highly recommend this 4 part series. It is quite frankly – fascinating.

A Short Intro into Visceral Fasciae:

Visceral fasciae (also called subserous fasciae) suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue membranes. Each of the organs is covered in a double layer of fascia; these layers are separated by a thin serous membrane.

Gil Hedley dates back the two means of fascia from Greek times of dissection, meaning:

1. Broad Sheet

2. Wispy and cloud-like

Understanding viscera and somatic healing offers the framework for how fascia works.  It allows us to also investigate relationships with our internal and external environment, to increase our awareness of continuities both intrinsically and extrinsically and heighten our sense perception as we build on the framework of our integrated system.

The onion and tree model is a functional simplification of the human body and is used as a metaphor to visualize this webbed matrix of myofascial layering. Each layer is significant with braches (much like a tree) that permiate each layer with those layers getting thicker as we reach its core (much like the human body) of the fascial lines of superficial vs deep.

Superficial Fasciae and Viscera:

We can reference the whole mass of the viscera as a deep layer, much like the deep layer of an onion or branches of a tree, as with the case of Neurovascular trunks and limbs.

The skin is the terminus of those visceral branches from the neurovascular trunks, as they interface directly with the external environment of the body. The primary form of our shape – is via our superfiscial fascia, that ebbs and flows and holds our tissues in a concise manner. It is the shaping layer in conjunction with our skin. Keeping in mind; the skin is our largest organ; which is resilient, strong and has fantastic integrity. When  we use the onion-tree model we can see that the skin and superfiscal fasciae have a special relationship and work as partners to give the human body shape, as well as the shape of the organs. The skin of the organ is known as the visceral layer and visceral fascia is less extensible than superficial fascia and plays an integral role in communicating the sensory input from our nervous system and sensory impulses.

A comprehensive understanding of these deeper layers requires a thorough understanding of the more superficial ones. Due to its suspensory role of the organs, it needs to maintain its tone rather consistently. If it is too lax, it contributes to organ prolapse (2) Ref. Wikipedia

The Superfiscal fascia is a great suspensory web of perception of a particular frequency range, in which the neuromuscular pathways branch out amongst the yellow finery of our sensory fleece. We can separate out tissues, layers and pathways of connection which we hold dear due to our mental conception of the body.

Deep Fasciae and Viscera:

The viscera are not limited in their physiological function or anatomically extent to the thorax, abdomen or the cranium but mentally we need to divide these lines up in order to understand the conceptually. From an integral viewpoint the visceral are meant to be non local phenomena , they are co mingled with all the tissues of the body. We can speak of the visera of the arm or leg – but there is no disconnect. When the heart beats, the movement and balance of pressure is not solely felt in the viscera of the chest, but through the whole body – all tissue is integrated.

The deep fascia can be a more thickly woven set of fibers and has a different texture and tone of the superficial fasciae. It is thicker and we can usually see more fiburous white striations and/or lines like the rings of a tree outlining the muscles and bone.

These thick layers of the deep fascia leverage tension and compression in the body. Through movement we can create vectors of “pull” and at the dissection level, watch the translation of the movement in the fascia, with the restrictions of components like, scar tissue. Scar tissue is not smooth, nor is it easily manipulated. Its structure is hard and tense; therefore we can assume that this will, no doubt lead to increased tension in the fasciae in the surrounding tissue.

What can we learn from fasciae dissection?

The largest benefit I have taken away from this 4 part series is the integration of all the systems that contribute to our form, the contours and comprehensive over laying structures that work together.

One interesting factor in dissection is seeing first hand the interplay of the superficial fasciae and the wispy interconnection of the adipose tissue just under the skin layer; which we cannot get from books, anatomy charts/maps or real life movement patterns.

In Yoga and corrective movement understanding the framework and connection of the fasciae system to the musculoskeletal anatomy is one of the most beneficial additions one can make to their professional resume. Understanding the tension and compression pulling factors on the multiple fasciae lines, in association of the kinetic chains can directly influence a client’s success on and off of the mat.

 

Sources:

Gil Hedley’s 4 Part Seiers “The Integral Anatomy Series”

  1. Skin and Superfiicial Fascia
  2. Deep Fascia and Muscle
  3. Cranial and Visceral Fasciae
  4. Viscera and their Fasciae

Take a quick peek at an intro to each video here – http://www.gilhedley.com/ghvideo.php

Upcoming workshop in Vancouver (Squamish, BC) in Dec 2012 – http://www.gilhedley.com/index.php (I’ll be there).

Book Review: The Four Desires by Rod Stryker

Book Review: The Four Desires by Rod Stryker

Creating a life of purpose is more than goal setting sheets and vision boards!

By Martina Bell – Co-director of In Life School of Yoga, host of the Vancouver Yoga Social Book Club and founder of ESL Yoga®

I didn’t really feel the need to read yet another book on how to find my purpose, set intentions and manifest my goals. And when I finally settled into my armchair next to my bookshelf, which presents a stately collection of self-help, yoga and other how-to-find-happiness bestsellers, I anticipated that within a few days Rod Stryker’s book would be comfortably placed up there –  that I enjoyed the read but that my life would still be pretty much the same; except with any luck “The Four Desires” would have shed a slither of light on one of life’s most profound questions: how to create a life of purpose, happiness, prosperity and freedom?

Before moving on, I would like to clarify that I’m not “unhappy” per se (actually quite the opposite is the case) or don’t see value in what how-to-set-your-intention DIY books commonly suggest: write a goal setting sheets, make vision boards and trust!

Rod Stryker’s approach

Even though the book opens with a bold Tantric promise introducing itself as “a road map to fulfilling your material and spiritual desires, both your short-term goals and the enduring longing that all human beings have […] for lasting peace and freedom.” I couldn’t help anticipating what was to come: a journaling activity asking me to listen to my heart and write out my intention in the present or past tense to create a sense of immediacy; complete a meditation visualizing the intention as manifested to create a sense of reality; and to make up a vision board followed by a promise how the universe would manifest this vision board if I only believed in it.
But as I read on, I realized that in this book, setting an intention was not even the beginning as it offers a much deeper and elegant process.

Rod Stryker offers an explanation of desire; “it precedes your every action, since before you can do, you first have to want” and of the human need for two kinds of fulfillment, fulfillment through attainment [material] and fulfillment independent of circumstances [spiritual].

Chapter three goes on to explain the four desires according to the Vedic tradition in greater detail:

The four desires

  1. Dharma – “the longing for purpose, the drive to be and to become who you are meant to be”
  2. Artha – “the means necessary to accomplish your dharma […] material resources”
  3. Kama – “the desire for pleasure of all kinds”
  4. Moksha – “the longing for liberation, true freedom”

Then the journaling activity did come. Rod Stryker calls it “The Dharma Code” which is a statement that clarifies your soul’s reason for being. To say “The Dharma Code” is a written account of one’s ideal life is a simplification, the instruction of how one’s supposed to distill one’s individual Dharma Code did echo what other books suggest:  Imagine yourself later in life and somebody you know and appreciate giving a tribute about your life and what you accomplished.

Your Dharma Code: Not just another journaling activity

Not only is Rod Stryker’s style engaging and his weaving of ancient Sanskrit with timeless teachings elegant; it is his suggestions how to proceed AFTER the Dharma Code has been distilled that offers a new level of depth in the process of manifestation. As such the Dharma Code marks the beginning, rather than the end of the journey. And this is what distinguishes “The Four Desires” from other books of this genre – after all at this point you’ll only find yourself on page 76 of 320.

How to serve your Dharma Code: Intention

Unlike a Dharma Code which signifies more a general approach to life, an Intention is much more particular and “result-oriented, aimed toward fulfilling a particular goal”, it is a combination of desire and determination and much more than a wish! To explain the seven-step process to draft your Intention (Sankalpa) here would go beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that it involves a deeply revelatory meditation and journaling activity (yes!). And it is intention after all which when it serves your Dharma Code propels your life forward.

The incredibly deep and enlightening remainder of the book explains how to overcome resistance, how to free yourself from fear (including an amazingly daring meditation or “life-style” practice! Get ready for a life changing experience!) touches on the secret of success and closes with a beautiful explanation of the importance of adjustment and contentment, the two underlying principles for every step in the book.

Tantra means to touch, allowing your heart to be touched   

Unlike the other self-help books I’ve lovingly read, the Four Desires hasn’t made it onto my now crowded bookshelf – and for now at least it won’t.  This book has touched my heart and it is a book that I keep close to my bed side, my sofa and my Puja. This book is so rich in teachings that reading it only once does not suffice. I also open it to inspire my meditations or contemplations. It is to my – admittedly very limited – knowledge not only one of the most applicable books, but also one of the rare ones that give practical instruction as to how create a life of purpose, happiness, prosperity and freedom which work, because now my life is actually not quite the same.

About the Author: Martina Bell is the co-director of In Life School of Yoga, host of the Vancouver Yoga Social Book Club and founder of ESL Yoga®.

 

Transformation at Kushala Yoga

The yoga studio formally known as Kula Yoga has recently changed their name to Kushala (Kushala is Sanskrit for well-being). This change is perfect timing as they are celebrating the expansion and grand opening of their new Port Moody location in Suter Brook Village.

Along with an amazing view and masterful instructors, the new location has two studio spaces, a retail shop full of yoga goodies, a tea lounge and a wellness center! There are also rumors that another location will be opening in early 2012!

What I love about Kushala is that they offer a wide variety of classes, so there is definitely something to meet everyone’s needs. Some of their more unique offerings include: Sunrise Hatha at 6am, Wild Thing Wednesdays (a class designed for more advanced yogis), Yoga 101 (for the beginner yogi) and Pre-Natal Yoga.

Kushala Yoga also specializes in teaching the philosophical side of yoga with courses such as: Prana 101 (students learn meditation and breathing techniques) and the Dharma Series that takes a closer look at Eastern philosophies.

What I enjoy most about Kushala is the extremely warm and inviting atmosphere that only a great yoga studio can provide!

For more about Kushala, please visit:

http://www.kushalayoga.com/

 


Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga was created by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995 in Mumbai, India.  The idea came to him at a time he was writing an article ‘Laughter- The Best Medicine’.  It originated as a ‘Laughter Club’.  After two weeks of telling the same jokes, the participants became bored.  Dr. Kataria’s wife is a yoga instructor.  He consulted with her in further developing the ‘Laughter Club’.  They discovered that there were a lot of similarities between laughing and pranayama exercises.  Laughter yoga was born, resulting in a blend of Yogic Deep Breathing, Stretching, and Laughter Exercises that cultivate child-like playfulness.  Dr. Kataria came to the realization that the body cannot tell the difference between real and pretend laughter.

I took my very first Laughter Yoga class at Open Door Yoga on Commercial Drive.  I have to say, there were a lot of times when I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing.  However, the laughter was contagious.  I left the class feeling happier and lighter.

Give Laughter Yoga a try.  Go with an open mind and an open heart.

Namaste.

 

 

Bikram Yoga Cambie

Bikram Yoga Cambie

I must admit.  I am a little biased.  I have been a Bikram yoga teacher for the past 7 years.  I first started practicing at Bikram Yoga Cambie many years ago.  Naturally, I was very excited when the doors to the new Cambie studio opened on Sunday.

I have taken 2 classes there now.  I have to say…the heat is perfect!   Even though it can get really steamy in the room, you never feel like you don’t have enough air.  They have a state of the art heat/oxygen exchange system. The bonus, there are 6 showers for women.  No more big line ups after class waiting for the shower.

Go check it out for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.  Located in City Square Mall on the corner of Cambie and 12th.  You get free parking for 2 hours.  If you need more time, you can go purchase some fruit after class and get an extra hour for free.

Namaste.

Bikram Yoga Cambie
City Square Mall
#22 – 555 West 12th Ave.
Vancouver, BC
www.bikramyogavancouver.com

Enlighten Up!

Enlighten Up!

“A filmmaker is determined to prove that yoga can transform anyone. Her plan: select a subject, immerse him in yoga and follow him until he finds a practice that transforms him. Her subject: Nick Rosen a skeptical, 29 year-old journalist living in New York City. Before he can say OM, Nick finds himself twisted up like a pretzel surrounded by celebrity yogis, true believers, kooks and entrepreneurs. The more he investigates yoga the more contradictions he discovers, straying further from Kate’s plan. They circle the globe talking to mystics, gurus, mad men and saints searching for the true meaning of yoga, encountering things they never could have imagined. They don’t find the answers to their questions, they find much more.” (www.enlightenupthefilm.com)

Yoga Photo Of The Day: Leaving Hornby Island

Our good friend Krystle’s zen moment in Sukhāsana leaving British Columbia’s beautiful and serene Hornby Island. Ommmmmm… Today’s yoga photo of the day was captured by designer, producer, DJ, and photographer extraordinaire, Davin Greenwell.

Send us your perfect zen moment in time to [email protected] and you could be featured as Vancouver Yoga Review’s “Yoga Photo Of The Day”!

Head Over Heels for Langley’s Hari Om Yoga

Head Over Heels for Langley’s Hari Om Yoga

Langley has a gem of a yoga studio that you all should know about! Not only because I work there, (and yep, it’s a wonderful place to work), but also because it’s a stunning studio offering everything yoga-related you could need.

Valeria, one of the owners of Hari Om Yoga, hard at work Source: http://www.lululemon.com/community/blog/meet-strategic-sales-partner-hari-om/

Hari Om Yoga in Langley is a multi-style studio – from Restorative and Gentle classes, to Yin, Anusara Inspired, and Prenatal, to Flow and Hot classes  – there is something on the docket for true beginners, as well as for the fit and yoga furious.

 Bamboo-floored and immaculately clean, the studio is tucked away from the traffic, blissfully quiet during Savasana, and overlooks a mass of green treetops. I have watched the sun set at the end of class – I am certain there is very little that beats the feeling of a warm glow during the cool-down of a great practice!

As mentioned Alison’s review, Hari Om even features its very own yoga cat! A loveable “big boy” (a Maine Coon weighing almost 20lbs!), after eating and sleeping, his favourite activity is greeting students after class for a belly rub.

Housing a beautiful studio and a large retail space with your favourite brands in yoga apparel, Hari Om Yoga is a pinnacle yoga hot-spot in the Lower Mainland. You can use your Passport to Prana here, or new members can sign up for 2 weeks Unlimited Yoga for $30!

Celebrating their 3-year anniversary, Hari Om Yoga and its staff and teachers will be hosting an Open House on June 18th. With free classes all day, sales on retail clothes and yoga class cards, as well as food and drinks to chat over, it will be a fun day and perfect chance to introduce yourself to the studio and all it has to offer!

Hari Om Yoga's retail space Source: http://www.lululemon.com/community/blog/meet-strategic-sales-partner-hari-om/

 

Stretching Into New Possibilities

When it comes right down to it Yoga is basically a form of stretching.

From stretching your ability to breathe; lengthening your inhales and exhales to stretching your mind’s capacity to quiet down, to become silent for longer and longer periods of time. To go further into the practice where it becomes not so much about the asana (postures) as it is about the ability to let go of desire, to allow for the spirit to move into the space you have created.

But really in the beginning, for me, it was all about the stretch, the movement into silence came later.

So sometimes I am surprised when people say: “Yoga?!! Oh, I could never do that”.

I try to ease them into it by saying: “Well, have you ever done any stretching after going for a walk, a run or any type of physical activity”. Actually most people have done some type of stretching in their lives. I ask them to start there; allow yourself the space to just stretch into yoga.

The asana are really a specific type of stretch; especially Yin Yoga where you stay closer to the ground and hold the stretches for a longer period of time.

As I am in my third week of recovery from an operation, I decided to try a Yin Yoga class at Yyoga Flow Wellness on Burrard Street.

The instructor, Megan Johnson, put everyone at ease by stating that as with all yoga, the length of the stretch is all up to the individual. I talked to Megan before class about my concerns and she was very reassuring by stating that although Yin can be very intense, I should allow my body to decide and just be very gentle.

I was game for that.

We started in Sukasana (easy cross legged), opening with Pranayama to settle into the space and relax into our bodies.

She then guided us slowly into little stretches of the neck where we allowed our head to drop to each of the shoulders, increasing the stretch by allowing one arm to lengthen to the floor.

Megan told us to deepen into the stretch, come to your edge and then breathe and settle in. But only go so far as to touch your edge; always bring it back if you feel any pain. Yin is about becoming comfortable in the stretch and then holding it for a specific length of time.

For the next 8 poses we stayed close to the ground, deepening our breath and allowing the body to relax.

What is interesting about Yin is that it is not about moving fast from one pose to the other, it is all about lengthening, stretching, breathing and relaxing into the pose, letting go and finally settle for awhile.

Yin does specific things that complements other types of yoga. It allows for a deepening of the stretch which in turns strengthens your muscles by creating little tears that the body repairs. Stretching into the deep connective tissues: the fascia. This is how the body keeps supple. That old saying: “use it or lose it” really does hold true for the body. To keep your body young and flexible, you need to actually use/move it. Yin is a gentle way of moving it.

Megan took us gently into this type of stretching, which is exactly what I needed after a few weeks off from yoga. Her voice is very calm and reassuring. She asks nothing of you except your willingness to try.

If you would like to give Yin Yoga a try, I can easily say it is something anyone can step into if you have done some stretching in your life. Remember that the length and depth of the stretch is always up to you, only go as far as your body allows and try to be kind to yourself. Yin only gets intense if you push yourself further than your body is willing to go. Remember to keep that ego in check.

You might notice that as you stretch further into your body, you might find yourself stretching into a yoga practice that is perfect for you.

(source: theyogafitnessguide.com)

Join The Kula At Kushala Yoga In Coquitlam!

Join The Kula At Kushala Yoga In Coquitlam!

I move around a lot as my partner is in the military, but I have found a family in every city I have lived in. I find my family in yoga studios as they are filled with like minded individuals who are ready to welcome in any new student that enters their door.

I recently spent the last 4 months in Coquitlam, my hometown, to complete yoga teacher training. The first thing I did when I arrived was find a nearby studio to practice in. Thankfully Kushala Yoga studio is very close to my parents house, where I stayed,  and I was able to convince all my family members to join with me!

From the first class I went to at Kushala I felt like I belonged there, as opposed to just being a temporary guest. The yoga teachers are so friendly and approachable that I couldn’t help but want to engage in an after class chat with them. Even the students are beginning to catch on that Kushala Yoga is much more than just a place to practice yoga. During a Power Flow class I was greeted by another student who was introducing himself to the people on the mats around him and arranging an after class coffee. The yoga teacher/ owner half jokingly said that this student was the social coordinator for Kushala. The studio also hosts such activities as movie nights and Hike n’ Yoga to further foster their growing community of yogis.

Kushala Yoga has 2 locations, one in Coquitlam and one in Port Moody, with 2 more on the way. They offer classes for all levels from more relaxed classes such as Slow Flow and Restorative Yoga to more vigorous and advanced classes such as Power Flow, Hatha Core and my favourite Wild Thing Wednesdays with Andrew Colyn.

Weather you visit the warm, soothing studio in Port Moody or the bright and open studio in Coquitlam you are sure to find a class that suits your needs and make several new friends!

Tour of Kushala

Images from http://www.kushalayoga.ca/

Getting Into The Flow

I am currently going through a phase where I really like Flow Yoga.

With all the different types of yoga out there you might be wondering what exactly is Flow Yoga. According to About.com Flow yoga would be classified under the broad umbrella of Vinyasa Yoga. A breath synchronized class where poses or postures are strung together smoothly. Following your instructor’s lead you are asked to match your inhales and exhales to a specific posture, flowing from one pose to another creating a very rhythmic meditative dance.

Some instructors are very good at creating this illusion of a dance; their choice in poses is well thought out, they synchronize smoothly, the inhale & exhale comes naturally and their choice in music complements the overall feel of the class.

I have run into all different types of Flow classes. That is the beauty of Vinyasa Yoga; it allows for so much diversity in teaching styles that you would never get bored. It does require you to come with an open mind as you might find it can take a few tries to get the teacher you like.

One instructor’s choice in music was not to my liking, but I learned a lot about Plank pose, and Chaturanga. I have found that even if I don’t like everything in a class, there is always something I have learned that I can take from the class.

This past week I was lucky enough to catch a Yyoga flow class with Christie Baumgartner.  She is a wonderful instructor. A beautiful soul packaged in a tiny dancer’s body; playful yet welling with good informational tips on posture and proper alignment.

Her arrangement of postures seems to flow naturally, allowing for maximum breath and ease of motion. Without even thinking, your inhales and exhales seem to flow naturally with each pose she suggests.

This is where the dance begins. She varies her Sun Salutations with enough freshness that it never seems to get dull. She builds each pose upon the previous so that the muscles slowly warm up, yet you do not feel fatigued. From beginning to end I feel as if I have been skilfully guided to achieve what I set out to do; experience my body in all its beauty of movement, to breathe with fullness and to awaken to a new sense of calm.

You can tell that Christie is very passionate about yoga, her enthusiasm is contagious. She makes you want to strive higher, not for her, but for you. To push yourself just a little more in order not to miss a step in the dance she is sharing with you.

She makes yoga fun! She laughs through-out her class and truthfully I appreciate that. Why not have fun?

I have yet to disagree with her choice in music. I literally caught myself singing along.

Even though you will sweat through-out her class, you will be so engaged that you’ll hardly notice until the end; at which time you will be very grateful for those Yyoga showers.

If you get the chance try out one of Christie’s Flow classes at Yyoga Flow Wellness on Burrard Street; I highly recommend it. She just might make you fall in love with yoga all over again.

(Source: jameswvinner.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)

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