fall schedule Yoga

Power Yoga is for Beginners

The physical challenge of Power Yoga makes the yoga aspect of the practice easier than in less-physically challenging sequences.

I teach Power Yoga. I have taught other versions of yoga but Power Yoga is most congruent with my personal practice and is what I want to share with my students. Almost every day, someone says to me that they “can’t” come to my class because it’s “too” hard. Physically, yes, the poses are challenging but the yoga part of the class is markedly easier in a power flow class than in a slower-moving hatha class.

Let me explain. Yoga is about creating a union between breath and movement. It is about silencing the chatter and listening to the breath. As the oft-quoted Patanjali said, “yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.” Indeed, in Ashtanga yoga, Samadhi, the eighth limb, is a quiet state of mind and an awareness exclusively of the present moment. A quiet mind is the intention of any yoga practice.

The physical challenge of power yoga provides an outlet for quieting the mind.

In a slower and less physically challenging practice, quieting the mind can be daunting. Hanging out in utkatasana (chair pose) or anjaneyasana (lunge pose) for ten breaths is physically difficult and thus demands all the mind’s attention.  Sitting in sukhasana (easy seated pose) or standing in tadasana (standing mountain pose), on the other hand, is physically easy but detaching from distracting thoughts is more difficult and requires practice and concentration.

My point is this:  the harder the pose, the easier it is to tune out of the mind’s clutter

and achieve awareness of the present moment and nothing else.  

So, if you are a beginner to yoga, by all means try out whatever class comes recommended by friends and suits your schedule. But don’t shy away from power yoga because you think it will be too hard physically. Yes, the poses are challenging and yes you will sometimes be bewildered by what the teacher is asking you to do (“you expect me to put my foot where?!), but that’s the point. By trying unexpected yoga poses and facing a physical challenge, your attention will be focused completely on the present moment and you will find yourself one step closer to a clutter-free mind.

Power Yoga at Taiga Yoga, Yellowknife

fall schedule Yoga

No More Zero Days: the 21-day Yoga Challenge

The Non-Zero Day

My friend recently wrote a very inspirational essay for reddit. He doesn’t know it, but I think about his comments every single day. The premise of his words? Do something, anything every day that is related to your goals. Do not let a single day go by where you do zero productive things. In other words, every day must me a non-zero day. Based on the popularity of the post, the volume of re-posts and the fact that you can google “nonzero day” and find his words, clearly the concept has resonated with a lot of people. It appears that many people suffer from zero days. I’m one of them. Less and less frequently as I age and mature, to be sure, but there were many days in my past where I did absolutely nothing. Nothing.

There have been many changes in my life that have led me to get up off the couch and do something every day, but no single activity or lifestyle choice has added more value to my days than yoga. Yoga is many things to me: a source of physical strength and flexibility, an emotional solace, a retreat from the world, a challenge, a passion. As a teacher of yoga, my goal is to share the value of a regular yoga practice with everyone who crosses my path. I know that there are infinite reasons to practice yoga and my emphasis is this: no matter what kind of yoga you’re doing, and no matter why you came to your mat, you’re doing it right. Yoga is the unity of breath and movement and that union can be fast and powerful or it can be slow and contemplative. Whether you practice for five minutes or for two hours, that time on your mat will be time well-spent and will meaningfully contribute to whatever physical, professional or personal goals you have. Yoga gives you an energetic physical boost and simultaneously offers a chance to clear your mind of clutter and make space for productive ideas.

Taiga Yoga is currently offering a 21-day yoga challenge. You come to yoga for 21 consecutive days between October 15 and November 4 and you will be entered to win a one-month unlimited yoga pass. Beyond the prize though, Taiga’s goal is to help you establish or solidify your own habitual behavioral patterns. In other words, by stepping on to your mat every day, you are creating a good habit which will have positive ramifications on all aspects of your life. As in, no more zero days.

Try it. Taiga has a wide range of classes to accommodate your schedule and physical ability.

As always, I can’t wait to practice yoga with you.

Here’s a link to the original article on Reddit. The article is raw and unedited, but is heavy-hitting and affecting. Read it.

Here’s a link to Taiga Yoga’s website, including an up-to-date schedule and information on the 21-day yoga challenge.

fall schedule Taiga Yoga

Stay healthy this autumn!

As we approach the Autumn equinox (Tuesday, September 23), staying healthy through the Fall season must be made a priority. Everyone has a busy schedule and the setback from getting sick can be frustrating and inconvenient.

We all have busy schedules and important commitments and we know that if we get sick, the responsible choice is to stay home until we are no longer coughing and sneezing. But it feels impossible to rearrange our daily schedules to accommodate illness. So how about taking a proactive approach this fall to avoid getting sick at all!

  • Curtail alcohol. Summer BBQs are finished for the year and indulging in beers at the lake is no longer a constant temptation. Overconsumption of alcohol interrupts sleep patterns and is dehydrating, two elements that will reduce immunity. Limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day.
  • Get enough sleep. Figure out how much sleep you need by allowing 8-9 hours for sleep for a week. Go to bed without setting an alarm, and take note of how many hours you sleep before waking. Do this for seven days, and then aim to get those many hours every night: weeknight or weekend.
  • Get some fresh air. Go for a brisk walk at lunchtime of after dinner. Breathing in fresh air and seeing colours change from green to orange is invigorating and nurturing. If it’s cold out, layer up! If it’s really cold out, add even more layers. Wear wool socks. Put on a hat. Wear whatever you need to be feel cozy outdoors and get out there every day.
  • Meditate. Just do it. It is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress. Stress compromises immunity. You don’t need a fancy pillow or special area to go. Just sit somewhere, close your eyes and breathe. Set a timer. Start with five minutes a day. Do this instead of logging on to Facebook.
  • Exercise. Go to the swimming pool: it’s warm and bright there. Play squash: it’s hilarious to run around in a little box with weird glasses on and smash a ball as hard as you can. Practice yoga! Try Zumba: learn some dance moves so you can impress your friends this winter.
  • Eat vegetables with every meal. Sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas are all coming into season now and can all be roasted, or pureed into soups. Make a big pot of soup on the weekend and eat the leftovers for weekday lunches.

Finally, do not overextend yourself. Create manageable goals and refrain from overloading your schedule with infinite activities. Make time every week for quiet time with your family, when nobody has anywhere they need to be and everyone can sit, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

For more information, read this article from Harvard University Health Centre. There is a lot of practical information here:

Happy Autumn, everyone!