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]

The Power of Yoga Speech

I’ve been attending classes in Vancouver for a month now and I’m starting to work out why I like practising here so much. There are so many aspects that I have enjoyed, that it’s been difficult to define them. This week I’ve finally understood one of the main features that make classes here so special to me: speech and stories.

Vishuddha chakra -

I love it when before we chant three oms, we sit in silence, eyes closed, and the teachers begin with an anecdote of their everyday life. They explain how seemingly insignificant events can illuminate some of the many mental habits that crowd our autopilot world.

The story could be the one of a teacher coming back from an eye test with blurred vision and drawing parallels with the drishtis; or another putting her winter coat on for the first time this season and feeling how we mentally wrap ourselves up  in cold weather; or one teacher remembering how sensitive she was as a child; or even teachers reflecting on recent readings, like an article on the brain and the stories we make up to ourselves.

I like it even more when the anecdote, the story or the article sets a theme, a guiding thread to the practice, a foundation to work on: drishtis, sensitivity, weaknesses in our bodies, breath, our inner narrative.

Most teachers are very gifted speakers with inspiring and calming voices.  The story and theme create a stronger connection between mind and body during the practice, it bolsters mental strength and physical endurance. We all become part of the story and embody it in each asana.

Stories linger with me sometimes for hours, days, months or years, and help me live more mindfully.

Can you think of a teacher’s anecdote which has helped you in everyday life?

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!

‘Hi, I’m New In Town!’

I seem to have said this a lot recently. My boyfriend and I left our jobs, flat and friends in London and we moved to Vancouver a month ago to start a new life.

Downtown from Jericho Beach

I worked in publishing back in Europe but I’ve decided to make the most out of this change of continent and follow my yoga path further by taking the teacher training. I had heard that Vancouver is possibly the best place where I could train. Now, from first hand experience, I’m entirely convinced: it has so much to offer to yogis.

In less than 3 weeks, I have attended 12 classes, with 9 different teachers, in 5 styles. This has been incredibly exciting. Everyday I study class schedules and I’m often overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches.

In London, in my nearby leisure center, I had a limited choice of 3 fantastic teachers, one little studio and 4 classes a week. Suddenly here, I have plenty of marvellous teachers, different styles and big studios to choose from, and I feel like a spoilt child in a candy shop.

At Yyoga, I’ve opened my heart in Anila’s Anusara class, and rejuvenated fully with Mike’s restorative yoga. In Semperviva’s studios, I had a great Flow session with Alli, I found strength in a chilled atmosphere in Reno’s Power class, and practised deep awareness in Bernie’s wonderful Yin and Hatha classes.

So far, it has been a truly wonderful experience, and I’ve learnt more in three weeks than I would ever have dreamt, on yoga, on the mind, on my body and on myself.

Also, I’ve felt so warmly welcomed by teachers and students that somehow I feel a bit more at home here already.

Any other new yogis in town? I’d love to share first impressions!

DIY: How To Make Your Own Yoga Mat Bag

I love my lululemon velcro mat strap – it also doubles as a yoga strap for stretching. However, when I’m trekking around Vancouver, it would be more practical to have an actual yoga mat bag to keep my mat free of dust, dirt and grime.

If you’re relatively crafty, there’s a fantastic eco-friendly DIY project that can be done in a short amount of time: Fitsugar’s step-by-step guide to making your own yoga mat bag with an old pair of jeans.

You’ll need:

  • old jeans
  • yoga mat, for measuring
  • scissors
  • thread
  • sewing machine (you could do it all by hand, but it will take a lot longer)
  • drawstring or ribbon
  • cloth belt or scarf or tie, for the strap

This would also make an excellent gift for the holidays, for a yogi in your life. Not very crafty but like the jean-yoga-mat-bag look? Here, you can purchase a new Gaiam denim yoga bag.

Happy sewing!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

So, if you haven’t noticed, it’s cold outside.

Yoga in Himalaya: Manali. India., by Eric Lon

I have the hardest time getting myself to yoga when it’s cold outside, all I want to do is curl up with a blanket, and a cup of tea or a glass of wine and be cozy warm at home. Maybe this weather calls for some hot yoga, or 108 sun salutations, whatever the answer its too bad the heat you create doesn’t stay with you on your way home.

This season not only struggles with our “comfort zone,” it leads to the cold or the flu (hopefully neither), and the hectic holiday schedule, which is probably when we need our yoga most.

With all this in mind, I had a viewing of some YouTube yoga classes, for those cold days, when you are feeling a little off or when your local studio has decided to shut down for the holidays or just to fit in during your hectic holiday schedule.

42 Minute Hatha Flow

Sivananda flow – 57 Minutes

Heart Opening

There are lots of full length classes available on YouTube, some are better than others, of course depends what you are looking for. How do you make it to your yoga class on a cold day like today?

Interested In Writing For Vancouver Yoga Review?

Vancouver Yoga Review is a site for YOU and the entire Vancouver yoga community. A place where like-minded yogis and yoginis can come together to share their yoga experiences and how yoga affects their daily lives in the lower mainland.

Are you interested in being featured on the site and sharing your thoughts? Because we are an inclusive community, we encourage all kinds of diverse voices on our site. Anyone, of any age, and at any level of yoga can submit a post for publication on the blog.

For consideration, submit your best original content to [email protected]. Write “Submission for Blog” in the subject line.

  • Include a photo, and site your source
  • Include a short (1 or 2 line) bio about yourself
  • Provide original, honest content
  • Post length is up to you

Note: Your writing may be edited for clarity. Currently, there is a 2 week wait to be featured on the site, but we are always accepting new submissions. We look forward to sharing your unique voices with the Vancouver yoga community!

[Source: YOGUE]

DIY: How To Make A Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner

If you practice yoga on a regular basis in Vancouver you’ve probably invested in some expensive mat cleaners to break up sweat, dirt and odors, and prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Why not make your own natural cleaner that costs much less and is free of harsh chemicals?

If your mat is super soiled, you can toss it in into your washing machines. Just make sure it’s on the cold and gentle cycle, and don’t put it in the dryer as heat will breakdown your mat.

Alternatively, you can give it a good washing in your bathtub. Use a very mild soap, and hand wash in a tub filled with a couple inches of water. Gently scrub with a brush as necessary to remove dirt and stains. Rinse with clean water and hang to dry.

To speed the drying process, wrap your yoga mat around a dry towel to soak up excess moisture. Just unroll and separate from the towel before hanging to dry. Your mat can take a day to fully dry after the submerging treatment.

To create your own natural, cost effective cleaner you’ll first need a small spray bottle and a soft cloth or sponge. Then, you have a few options depending on what you currently have in your pantry:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar OR baking soda OR witch hazel
  • 8 drops tea tree oil
  • Optional: 6 drops of other essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, whatever your like)

Don’t like the smell of vinegar? Once your mat is dry, it won’t smell overly vinegary. Also the essential oil will be the predominant scent, so choose your favorite aroma.

Happy cleaning!

Namaste DVD Season One, Disc One

The lovely folks at Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions sent me their Namaste DVD Season 1, Disc 1 for review. I was excited to received the DVD in the mail, as it gave me a great excuse to transform our living room into the ultimate yoga zone.

After I created a zen yoga space, I popped in the high definition, 6 episode disc into my DVD player. Over the course of one week, I tried one episode each day to get a feel for the flow of the series. My initial impressions were very positive.

The series is designed by one of Canada’s leading yoga teachers and therapists, Kate Potter. Her “Hatha Vinyasa” style is dynamic, yet gentle – and the unique flow sequence is appropriate for all levels.

Kate’s voice is very soothing and calming. Namaste’s original music does not overpower the film, but is played softly in the background and compliments Kate’s peaceful tone.

The series was filmed at various locations around Vancouver, such as Jericho beach.  I noticed the beautiful Hycroft Mansion in Shaughnessy, as it was my sister-in-law’s wedding venue! The scenery changes between other unique and stunning locations, including a dense forest in fall, a dark warehouse, yoga studios, Yaletown parks, under bridges and misty ocean docks. The scenes also alternate between night and day, to further change up the visuals.

For each episode, you can choose to play all or begin at the introduction, warm up, main sequence, cool down, or savasana sections.

The episodes are as follows:

  • Episode 1 – Exalted Warrior
  • Episode 2 –  Sun-Moon
  • Episode 3 – Firebird
  • Episode 4 – Gate Opening
  • Episode 5 – Dancing Sun
  • Episode 6 – Half Moon

Namaste yoga DVDS are an excellent compliment to your regular yoga classes, or can be used solely as your main yoga practice. The great thing about having a yoga DVD is you can take your practice with you wherever you go. It’s also particularly useful for those early, dark winter mornings where you’d just feel more comfortable practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, rather than dragging your exhausted self out of your warm and comfy bed to your nearest yoga studio.

Namaste Disc One is accommodating for beginners, as camera angles show correct positioning and Kate’s gentle directions are very helpful. Yoga newbies will enjoy attempting yoga for the first time with this DVD series before attending a yoga studio, as classes can be intimidating for some first-timers.

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the Namaste series!

Free Yoga From Lululemon

Stop by your local Lululemon store from now until November 17th to receive your free gift of yoga. The company is giving away over 6 million minutes worth of yoga passes to local studios.

To get in on the action: Visit a Lululemon Athletica store and “check-in” on your mobile phone with Facebook Places or foursquare.

You’ll want to act quickly on this giveaway if you’re interested, because the free passes are going quickly and are only available while quantities last.

FYI: A few yogis without smart phones have had luck presenting a print-out of Lululemon‘s Facebook page to receive their free gift of yoga.

Why is Lululemon feeling so generous? They want to connect YOU with your community. They believe that yoga can bring everyone together and change the world!

Namaste Lululemon 🙂

Bikram Yoga Metrotown Burnaby Deal!

It seems as though there are a plethora of daily-deal sites popping up these days: Groupon, LivingSocial, Ethical Deal, etc. It’s time consuming to keep track of them all!

To make my life easier, I subscribe to a site called The site amalgamates all daily-deal websites into one email where you can see a categorized list of all deals for that particular day.

I wanted to share a fantastic deal with Vancouver yogis who live in Burnaby and who are addicted to hot yoga. Or, if you’ve never tried Bikram’s but have been thinking about it, today is your day to take the first step.

Social Shopper is offering 15 Bikram Yoga classes for $20 (Value $222.88) at Metrotown, in Burnaby! This is a HUGE yoga savings, especially for Bikram classes.

The clock is ticking, so visit the Social Shopper website here to purchase this deal today.

SocialShopper Says:

10 Reasons You Need to Go to Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown

1. The Bikram’s program was designed to specifically work every muscle, organ, gland, and cell in the perfect order. Soon your cells will be able to bench press ten times what they used to.

2. They’re the biggest Bikram’s Yoga studio in Greater Vancouver. We know size isn’t the only thing that counts, but you still get to brag when you’re the biggest.

3. Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown offers 67 classes a week, from 6am through 8:15pm, so don’t bother quitting your job just to practice Yoga.

4. Bikram’s is highly beneficial for people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, neck and back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatica, gout, slipped disc and many other disabling conditions.

5. Bikram’s Yoga is designed for even beginners to pick it up immediately, so you won’t be sitting on the sidelines wondering how that guy over there got his knee into his ear while balancing on his pinkie.

6. This deal allows you to buy one voucher for yourself and up to four gift vouchers, so when your loved ones ask why you suddenly look so alive, you can do more than just tell them.

7. Get a head start on your 2011 resolutions!

8. Founding Yogi Bikram Choudhury started his yoga training at the age of 3!! Do you think he made the other kid in his nursery school feel lazy for not having started their careers yet?

9. Save on heating costs at your house by bringing home the warmth of Bikram’s Yoga.

10. Practitioners of Bikram’s Yoga are commonly told that their face began to glow soon after they started practicing. Not like a green glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, but like a radiantly healthy & happy human being!

Learn more about Bikram in Burnaby:

Intro to the Blissful Burbs!

Having grown up in the Lower Mainland and lived here my whole life, my path to yoga was not something instilled in me since I was a little kid. In fact, the first class I took was in a local rec centre, with a friend who had to “drag” me with her, long story short, a lot has changed since that first class & the friend who first introduced me doesn’t practice at all, ironic I suppose.

I have gotten to think over the last couple of weeks how do people get introduced to yoga and do they know after the first class that this is where they need to be or does it take weeks & weeks to discover that? I have heard from many yogi’s over time that while they may drift away from their practice it is always something that they inevitably come back too, for it gives you this feeling of “coming home.”

We all know that Vancouver has a wide spectrum of yoga to offer, which is completely fantastic, but Vancouver doesn’t just consist of the downtown area or Kitsilano. Yoga studios are popping up all over BC and throughout the Lower Mainland, with a wide spectrum of teachers and styles to choose from.

Blue Skies in the Burbs! Taken on a walk through one of the many beautiful parks that the Tri-Cities has to offer.

Being a resident of the “burbs”, and while it may not have all that Kitsilano or the downtown core has to offer it does have a lot, with lots of parks, trails, lakes and so much more, the burbs kind of stand up for themselves. I’ve heard from some Vancouverites that say, Coquitlam is so far away, in fact by car it’s only 20 minutes without traffic, not bad!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you some of the fantastic studios that 15, 20, 30 or 50 minutes out of Vancouver can offer you. Stay tuned & get ready to plan that trip out on a Saturday or Sunday to explore it yourself and in the meantime tell us, how did you find your path to yoga?

If any studios from Burnaby out to Abbotsford are interested in participating in my Blissful Burbs series, please drop me a line at [email protected] First up next week; Vital Energy Yoga, Port Moody.

Create A Zen Yoga Zone At Home

Generally, I enjoy attending yoga classes around Vancouver because I thrive on the energy of each class. OMNI recently sent me their Namaste Yoga DVD (stay tuned for the article) to review at home. In order to properly assess the six episode series, I needed to create a serene spot in our condo to immerse myself in front of our TV.

I started by deep cleaning my living room to insure a spotless, pristine area. Then, I tossed some floor cushions on the ground – you can use them to elevate you hips during sukhasana and alleviate some back pain during your practice. Random pillows also made great yoga props. Use the floor pillows as a bolster during savasana.

I turned on some soothing music. If you relax easier to the sound of the ocean, a running brook, or the gentle pattering of rain on a window, you can download meditative sound apps, many are free, on your iPhone/iPod Touch. The sounds can help you curb unwanted distractions and ambient noises.

Anse Source D'argent, La Digue Island, The Seychelles

Subsequently, I decided on a point of inspiration to focus on during my practice.

We have a large framed photo that we captured of an incredible white sandy beach with crystal-clear water.

We visited the beach during our honeymoon in the Seychelles (an exquisite country of tropical islands off the east coast of Africa), almost two years ago. So, the photo provides me with a sense of clam & reminiscence.

If ocean pictures don’t bring you serenity, choose a statue of Buddha, a portrait of Jesus, or anything else that provides you with inspiration.

A gently flowing water fountain, flickering scented candles, soft lighting, essential oils, and fragrant incense can all complement your at-home yoga experience.

Don’t forget your favorite yoga mat.

How do you create a calming & inspirational space in your home or office? Let us know in the comments below.

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