Monday, March 5, 2018

March at BoT Yoga

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb?

Let's hope March brings warm temperature, mild weather and no more snow. My fingers are crossed,  but I have a feeling Mother Nature has more in store for us. We'll keep practising warming poses and relaxation exercises when it's dreary or cold for now and look forward to cooling, chill poses in warmer weather.
We'll also keep practising poses on the yoga boards. I not only have a fun, surfer-style playlist for yoga board classes but the boards have a tendency to warm a person up pretty quickly! It takes work to stay "afloat" on the boards, especially in the legs and abs! 

Best of all? Classes are 2 people for $25!

And, for you, all of my favourite people, the playlist I mentioned: 

Speaking of Groups...

I've been back at the Kettle & Stony Point Well Being Program since February to work with another outstanding group of ladies. We've been focusing on meditation & relaxation and using poses to release tension. So far, everyone enjoys starting off their week focused and relaxed. Every week, the group grows.

We have a warm, welcoming space to practise in :) 

I had a great group from our local Best Buy in for Sunday Yoga at Forge Training Centre. We worked on alignment and balance when transitioning from sunbird/downward dog to lunge. I look forward to seeing them all again for more team building, alignment and focus. 

Personal Yoga

My husband tried out a Personal Yoga Session one quiet Sunday at Forge. He needed to release some tension in his hips and back, so we used poses I learned while at a Yoga for Back Care & Scoliosis course at Yoga Bliss Fitness. 

Side lunge hip stretch

Restorative fish/butterfly

On this side, Dennis was experiencing elbow pain, which limited his ability to support himself in the pose. We modified with two blocks under his forearm and the pose was much less difficult for him. His alignment looks excellent here, with his elbow in line with his shoulder and his top arm lined up with the bottom arm.

Modified side lunge hip stretch

Ujjayi Breath

Lastly, I'd like to add a note on ujjayi breath, sometimes called "Ocean breath." It can be used all the way through practice, calming the body through poses and into relaxation & meditation. Mark Stephens (author of many yoga teaching manuals) says in his book "Yoga Sequencing" that ujjayi breath is used to warm the body internally and to create a soft mantra-like sound. He notes that the mantra-like sound helps students to develop steadiness while moving energy through the body. He describes ujjayi as a "slow, smooth, lightly audible, conscious breathing through the nose" technique. 

To do ujjayi breath, we:

1.       Inhale through the nose, open the mouth while lifting/contracting the back of the throat slightly and make a "haa" sound as if fogging a mirror as we exhale.
2.       Repeat.
3.       Close the mouth. Breathe through the nostrils only but continue to make the "haa" sound with each inhale and exhale.
4.       Repeat.
5.       Repeat step one.

This month, I started a new sequence journal, which I'm excited to fill with new class sequences. Underneath is Mark Stephens' Yoga Sequencing book, which my teacher loaned to me.

See you all again soon,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Meditation

Breathe deeply in and then exhale fully. Focus on your breath moving and and out of the body. 
Notice the abdomen rising and falling as you breathe. 
Find calm & stillness in your gentle focus on your breath. 

Then, repeat the words below to yourself:

May I be peaceful, 
May I be happy,
May I be well, 
May I be safe,
May I be free from suffering.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Love, T.

Friday, January 19, 2018

What's On Your Mind Wednesday!

This week, on Break on Through Yoga's Facebook page, I got this "What's On Your Mind Wednesday" question:

"I sit all day and have very tight hips and lower back because of it. Are there some things that I could do to help relieve this tightness?" 

I responded with a quick Printable Daily Mini designed to help with this particular problem. 
Curious to try it out? Here's the sequence:

*note: #15 is the final picture

Friday, January 5, 2018

BoT Yoga in 2018

2018 with Break on Through Yoga

It's a New Year...

Our 2017 together (you, me and BoTYoga) was pretty great, wasn't it? 

We had a number of moms and daughters here at the studio. They either join in my regular classes or they make classes of their own. That's the beauty of booking sessions-not only can they be made to fit into a busy schedule but they can be made to fit into any lifestyle as well. 

This mom of seven and her second daughter enjoyed a moment together in partner Warrior II. 

Personal Yoga sessions included students looking for a moment to themselves and couples looking for time together. I particularly enjoy these private sessions (booked here in my studio and at Forge Training Centre), because they give me a chance to get to really know the people I'm working with. 

As always, group sessions here at the studio and at Forge Training Centre allowed  me to connect with several people at a time. 

Toronto Yoga Mamas Postnatal Training

In November, I travelled to Toronto with a colleague for a three-day Postnatal Yoga Training at Toronto Yoga Mamas. If you are ever in Toronto, make sure you visit this studio. It's a treasure. The atmosphere is blissful and they have so much to offer, especially for mamas (but are welcoming to everyone.)  
Now, I can offer yoga to mamas and pre-crawlers! I haven't added classes to my schedule but am happy to book groups or individuals for these special classes.

the lovely ladies in charge of our postnatal training and me, third in.

We Rise By Lifting Others

In December, I visited Kettle Point Youth Centre to teach a week-long daily class to a group of wonderful, welcoming ladies as part of a "Women on the Move" Christmas program. We did everything from seated and reclined meditation to yoga using the wall for support to chair yoga during our week together. I also enjoyed a few meals with the ladies, happily driving home afterwards with a full belly and a full spirit.
a gift from the "Women on the Move."
me with some of the ladies in a quiet moment. 
I left them with these little gifts at the end of the week.

Looking forward...

Now, I'm busy coming up with new things for this year. I'm back at Forge Training Centre, after a short Christmas and New Year's Eve break.

and continuing classes at my studio...with some new, fun additions! 

my family surprised me with three yoga boards for Christmas!

Though I can only offer classes on the boards to two people at a time (maybe three, if I don't get on one), this should be a fun new way for us to practice (I'm envisioning couples on balance boards! ...Valentine's Day, anyone?) The boards have rockers under them, so they move slightly as you move on them, challenging balance and increasing strength. 

Something to Leave You With...

my response to an Instagram challenge.

I am enough. Let's silence the mind-stuff that says "I am not" and focus on "I am." I am enough, I am happy, I am strong, I am...

Take this moment. Inhale slowly, exhale even more slowly. Now just be...just for a moment.

Now, tell yourself "I am enough"; what does this mean to you? 

So ham.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Some thoughts on Sun Salutations and a Lesson in Pictures

I recommend sun salutations as a good way to get a quick yoga session in if you're away and can't make it to my classes or if you just have a little time to yourself and aren't sure what poses to do.

Here's a quick explanation in pictures of how to do sun salutation.

This is just one variation of sun salutation; you can add on poses to shake things up. I like to add warrior III after forward fold, for example, or three-legged dog before stepping through to bring the leg forward before forward fold. 

The secret to being able to add on to the basics is simple; learn to control your breath to calm your body, brush up on your technique and know your foundation poses (mountain, downward dog, forward fold, etc.) 

Eventually, once you have the basics figured out, you can really have fun with poses or sequences, jumping forward instead of stepping and switching out upward dog for cobra or adding in a few yoga push-ups. 

Sun salutation is the perfect use of foundation yoga postures, combining everything that yoga is: balance, breath, flexibility and strength. 

Until next time...


Monday, October 2, 2017

October at BoT Yoga

Where Did August and September Go?

Somehow, August and September got away from me. What were we up to? Let me count the things!
We were busy camping, going to events and parties and visiting in August. Then, we got ready for school and the grand opening at Forge Training Centre, where I now have classes three times a week. 
In September, the kids started school. Two of them were in classes that got completely rearranged in the second week ("the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry...")and got back into the swing of things by the end of the month. 
We also have three September birthdays in our house and a few relatives' birthdays to celebrate. Lia even got her own pink yoga mat. 

In September, I started my classes at Forge, where members have helped me to feel welcome and things have been going great so far. As soon as I set up my mat and my little Bluetooth speaker there, I felt like I was in the right place. My husband, kids and my best friend (and her hubby) have been so supportive; I don't even know how to express how much it has meant to me to look out at my classes and see them there. 

And now it's October...

Moms and Daughters, Dads and Sons

In September, I had a few new additions to my classes. A mom and her daughter joined one of my weekly home studio classes and my oldest son and my husband joined another at Forge (he brought our youngest once but, as much as she loves yoga, we thought maybe she should wait just a little bit longer before she comes again.) 
As we neared the end of our sessions at Hopkona Farms, we had grandparent night at the farm; the grand-kids didn't join for long but it was fun seeing grandparents, kids and their mom all on their mats as the sun went down over the fields. 

Though I don't offer yoga for younger kids at this time, I love seeing families in yoga, enjoying quiet internal reflection but also time together, with their mats side-by-side. 

Speaking of that...

In November, I'll be travelling to Toronto to take a course in postnatal yoga, so that I can offer yoga to parents/caregivers and babies. I'm looking forward to spending time with two of the girls I did my 350-hour training with again and also to learning something new. We'll be focusing on learning how to incorporate babies into yoga practice and also learning about areas such as the pelvic floor, the core and diastasis recti. 

Looking Forward

That brings us to October...
In September, we focused on meditation and gently reminding the wandering mind to return to the breath. We also worked on alignment and balance. 
We worked on accepting the challenge Forge's mats add to our balance, accepting that sometimes we have to let go of our wish to control the balance, drop our feet and just switch sides. My own teacher taught me that, and though sometimes I really want to just hold a balancing pose, I know that it's not always possible. Some days, I just feel more balanced than I do on other days. 
In October, we'll continue focusing on breath and meditation. As always, I will try to balance flexibility, strength and balance in my classes, offering a blend of the three. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July at BoT Yoga

A Question and Truths

#CrystalGrayYoga asks "Are you called to serve a previous version of yourself?"

I took some time to digest this question before writing about it. First, who IS the previous version of myself? Before yoga, especially the yoga I've experienced over the last 4 or so years with my current teacher, I was mired in a state of anxiety. There are things I can do now that I could never do before. In the past 2 years, a couple of things I've done are: I've gotten my driver's license (the first part anyway) and I have received my 350 hour yoga teacher certification.
Even the thought of the 2.5 hour drive with anyone but my husband would've been out of the question a few years ago. Even the thought of sitting in class for 20 hours a weekend would've been out of the question as well. The very thought of teaching classes would've been completely and utterly out of the question. Now, I not only rode with a friend to and from Toronto for 8 months, but I enjoyed it and had no issues at all with anxiety related to the drive. Now, I not only sat in class for 20 hours a weekend, but I enjoyed it and made lasting relationships with the other teachers in training as well. Now, I get in front of people and I teach (still working on the comfort level of that one, but I EVEN taught in front of my teacher training teacher, who is brilliant and amazing and I was terribly nervous to teach in front of her.)
So, am I called to serve the previous version of myself? Yes, and more. I want to give others what my teacher gave me. I want them to breathe easier, to find bliss in their daily lives, to find themselves content with who they are. Basically, I want to help people past anxiety by giving them the tools to breathe and meditate, even while in the middle of circumstances they might find difficult, just as I have learned. What do I mean by "and more?" I am not going to stop at people with anxiety, because that is not everyone (lucky ducks!) I serve the previous version of myself, and everything in between.
Will I be perfect at it? No. I'm learning as I go, just like everyone else. What is the hardest part about that? Telling that previous version of myself, "You are enough." Even when I make mistakes, when I question what I'm doing, when I give in to fear, I have to keep remembering to tell that previous version of myself, "You are enough."
Maybe, just maybe, it's sinking in...

Bodysensing Meditation

Do you feel like your body is reacting very strongly to stress? Bodysensing meditation, as described in Yoga Journal, is a technique that teaches us to notice the body's more subtle cues so that we can avoid the more distressing or harmful stress-related conditions, like crippling anxiety or high blood pressure.
Let's try it with a meditation I put together that focuses on the joints:

Lying down, start to notice your breath. In and out through the nostrils. Focus on the breath moving in and out of the nostrils for a minute or two.
Then start noticing the body, the joints, slowly going over each. To slow it down even more, go over first one side and then the other (left foot, left ankle, etc.)
Notice your toes. Notice the feet. Wiggle the toes, bend the toes. Flex and point the feet. Notice the sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you feel there without judgment or reaction (they simply ARE. Accept what comes without putting a label on it, such as good or bad or painful.)
Notice the ankles. Circle the ankles and turn them side to side. Notice the sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the knees. Bend the knees. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the thighs. Rotate your thighs in the hip sockets by circling the leg around. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the hips and pelvis. Move the hips side to side or circle them around. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Move over the belly, the chest and up to the shoulders.
Notice the shoulders. Circle them around. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the elbows. Bend the elbows. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the wrists. Circle them around. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the fingers. Bend them. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the neck. Nod. Turn the head side to side. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the jaw. Open and close it. Notice any sensations in them. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the skull. Notice the joints at the back of the skull, just at the base. Turn the head side to side. Notice any sensations there. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Notice the spine. Run your thoughts down each vertebrae. Move your torso side to side. Notice any sensations in the spine. Welcome any sensations you find there without judgment or reaction.
Now, use the breath to drop into the body's subtle tensions, making your way over each joint again. Watch the breath at each point, inhaling and noticing any tension without judgment or reaction and exhaling as you imagine release the tension with your breath.

Come to stillness. Notice how you feel without judgment or reaction.