Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Monday, November 12, 2012


Happy Day 15!! I’ve made it half way through. I know I said I would blog everyday…but life is just too busy these days so I’m going to make an effort to blog when I can. Today was a special class because it my half way mark and I am proud of myself! My body is starting to change, and also hurt. Little injuries are starting to arise that I’m becoming more watchful over. I was actually told this was going to happen. In the past I’ve practiced yoga for LONG periods of time and for many days, but never for 30 days straight without rest. I will keep going until I reach my goal of 30 days. I am still excited as day 1. Today I decided to do an 830pm class instead of the morning classes. So far all the classes I’ve gone to have been 90minutes and before noon. I wanted to see if there was going to be noticeable differences between the two. I can honesty tell you that the energy level is the same. I’m tired in the am, and I’m just as tired after a long day as well. Having said that my balance is ON POINT in the evening! Definitely 90% better. It could be the fact I’ve been moving all day and my muscles and feet have been worked, or it could be that maybe my body isn’t as tired as 6am. Either way it was great to do full tree and dancers and feel that full stretch! A big difference between am and pm classes is my mind. I am all in my head at night. In the morning, although I’m a vivid dreamer, I don’t have much to really think about as not much has happened before 6am so I find it easier to let my thoughts come and go. At night I’ve had a full day of talking to people, planning things, having fun and enjoying life…all I do is think! I found it very hard to just let go and be present today. Muscle wise my body stretches better and further in the evening than the morning and I have a feeling I’ll be sleeping much better tonight than other nights. Overall I’m glad I chose to do this evening class as it gave me a chance to really see what I need to work on and what I’d like to work on. It always comes down to being present in the moment. Tuning in and working on just being me and letting everything just be. The teacher said something to the class that really resonated with me. Yoga is about patients! I REALLY believe this and feel this deserves its own blog. Stay tuned. Have a great rest of your night…Here’s to another amazing 15 days ahead!

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 DAYS OF BLISS... #5,6 &7

It’s been a week since I’ve started the 30 day Yoga Challenge! I realize I’ve only blogged 4 times, but life and work around me got busy and there just wasn’t any time left to blog. Another reason was because nothing really happened to blog about. My body is working hard and the only difference is I'm a lot more tired at night. Maybe with the time change and the 90 mins every am, it's all catching up to me; however, I’ve continued with it and so far I’m very proud of myself! It’s taken me 7 days to get my Chutarunga’s (high plank to low push up to floor) back to complete form and strength. It’s taken me 7 days to get the flexibility in my hamstrings back. It’s taken 7 days for my Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose) to feel good again and overall it’s taken me 7 days to feel comfortable with my entire yoga flow. I really do have to say I love the fact my body is young and strong enough to bounce back in such a short period of time. I’m looking forward to seeing where my mind, body and spirit will be at the end of my 30 days. Today the teacher fixed my foot during pigeon pose and asked me to bring the top of my foot to the mat. I did it even though I’ve be trained and taught NOT to because of the protection it serves. For a moment I had to step out of myself and my pride and think about myself as a teacher. If I was a teacher leading a Hatha, Anusara inspired practice and one of my students had done pigeon pose the Moksha way I would have suggested to curl their toes under…after that it’s really the students responsibility to move into the posture they feel works best for them. That’s all the teacher is doing, suggesting. There really is no right or wrong as everyone’s body is different and works in different ways. I’m sure if I had mentioned something to the teacher she would have understood why I choose to move through the poster my way. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to blog EVERY day but I will certainly try! Here’s to another exciting week ahead!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 DAYS OF BLISS... #4

So far in the 3 classes of Moksha yoga I’ve been to, no instructors I’ve had the pleasure to flow with correct or aid a student during a pose and/or flow. They don’t touch, or correct anyone. This isn’t wrong in anyway, as most of us were taught to only use touch or guidance with a student when comfortable and given permission by the student themselves. Personally I like when a teacher gives me guidance or advice during my flow and even shows me a way to benefit more from the posture. I take it with an open heart because I know as a teacher myself they’re only trying to better my practice. Today we had an instructor who was very in tune with each of her students. There were only about 8 of us so it’s easy to reach each student physically and/or mentally. I liked her immediately because of her teaching style and her personal style. She had amazing long blonde and brown hair with tattoos everywhere! Gorgeous yoga inspired tattoos too. It was hard to pay attention to anything else as she walked by as she was so colourful. There’s a difference in each style of yoga and how you’re taught to flow from downward dog, plank, chutarunga and cobra or upward dog. She definitely noticed my Hatha, Anusara inspired background and helped me flow through the Moksha flow. There are subtle differences but they do make a big difference! Ones that my body aren’t use to so it woke up a whole new set of muscles. Tomorrow’s my last 6am class and I’ll get a nice break over the weekend where my classes can start later around 10 or noon. I do have to admit when I got home this morning at 730am and realized it was garbage day and had forgotten to put the garbage out the night before, there was ONE more reason I was thankful for early am classes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 DAYS OF BLISS... #3

I didn’t sleep well…Maybe I was excited for my first 6am class…??? It was easy getting up today. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m a morning person and I’ve never pushed the snooze button. The split second my alarm goes off I’ve jumped out of bed already. There actual times where I will wake up 5 seconds before my alarm goes off. The roads were wet and relatively empty so it made for a quick drive to the studio. There were only 10 people in class this am…still a little shocked with the amount of seriously dedicated yogi’s in Burlington. Just a quick question…have you ever been in Savasana and actually fell asleep only to be JOLTED awake with one of those falling dreams…ya…me neither. I’m also glad my stomach wasn’t the ONLY one making those funny “I’m hungry” noises. I guess when there’s only 10 people in the room, there’s a lot more of an echo. The instructor, Doug started us in plank…common…really?!?! GOOD MORNING ABS! Not only did we start in plank, we stayed there for a good 3 minutes. Moving to standing series we did a good series of high lunge, runners lunge and even the stretch I really needed, low lunge which my psoas thanked me for! This was a really great practice because we did a lot of the postures I felt I had been missing due to a different practice. We did my favorite, Trikonasana, Extended side angle and even a lunge with a prayer twist. I’m pretty sure I was smiling throughout the entire practice. I have to say being able to do Pigeon EVERY class is truly a highlight! Tomorrow and Friday will both be 6am classes so I’m ready and hopefully it will be this easy to get up EVERY day. I’m questioning why I’ve never done this before; I’m also reminding myself its ONLY day3. Have a SAFE and Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30 DAYS OF BLISS... #2

Today was hard since my body was feeling the effects of yesterday’s practice; especially my deltoids, a direct result of the chaturangas. Although I was tired and sore, I went and got through it…I mean this IS only day two. Again, late morning class and there were 30 people in it! Very impressive and GREAT energy! Today’s class made me miss my Hatha flows. While a Hatha practice I feel elongates my muscles with every posture because of the flow through different variations for each pose, Moksha uses more of your breath to hold the posture and really engage the muscle. After standing series all I wanted to do was a wide legged forward bend. Another noticeable attribute of the Moksha series is during my favorite pose Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or Pigeon pose. In a Hatha practice we keep the toes curled under of the foot that’s stretched out behind you for stability and protection. In Moksha the top of the foot is on the floor and the foot is stagnant. While in the pose as much as I know I’m supposed to be concentrating on my own body, I had to look around and Yup! I was the ONLY one with my toes curled under. I’m not saying Moksha is wrong for teaching it this way and I did give it a chance, but I personally know the benefits of the ways I was taught and will continue to curl the toes under as that feels best for me. One of the fantastic things I love about a Moksha practice as opposed to a Hatha practice in the mini Savasana’s after standing series (laying on your back and closing your eyes aka Corpse pose). These are exactly what I need to catch my breath, tune in and get myself and my abs ready for the crazy amounts of planks and dolphin planks we do each class class. Tomorrow will be my first 90 mins 6am class before work…This I feel will be the most challenging. #1 Getting out of a warm bed and #2 trying to stretch muscles first thing in the morning can be complicated.

Monday, October 29, 2012

30 DAYS OF BLISS... #1

I’ve decided to challenge myself! 30 days of yoga for 90 mins a day! The 90 minute part was not by choice…all the classes that I'm taking just happen to be that long. I don’t mind it though, because 60 minutes is way too short of a class for me personally and that’s only because in teacher training our yoga classes were 5 hours long…so you get it. The Moksha Yoga studio's usually have 30 day challenges but I JUST missed it. I'm looking at this as more of a positive sign because I really do need to do this on my own and I think that it makes it an even BIGGER challenge when your only support system is your mind. I know I can do this! I’ve decided to do this for many reasons. Not only do I miss yoga, but I miss the way my body and mind feel. I’ve unfortunately become “too busy” or since I’m being completely honest LAZY lately and I just can’t take it anymore. It’s gotten to a point where I feel LOST! I can’t describe the feeling, but I know when it happened and I know myself well enough to know how to get myself back! Not many people do, so I need to take advantage of this skill. That's it...I have 30 days to find myself again! If you noticed I haven’t blogged for quite some time…this is a complete result in loosing myself. I plan to blog EACH and every day throughout this challenge. Not only will this challenge my mind and spirit, but my body too. I haven’t done this much yoga in a year and I am craving it! Actually, I haven’t done THIS type of yoga (Moksha) in 6 years! This was the very first studio I went to and the very first yoga I ever tried. This yoga is what made me fall in love with the practice, the life, the feeling and everything that comes with it. Today was my first class. I was planning to start November 1st, but why wait? With this crazy storm, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to be inside a room that’s 34 degrees. If you’ve never done yoga, or even Moksha yoga, here is a quick description. Moksha Yoga is a set series of about 40 poses done in a hot room. It was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2004 by yoga teachers Ted Grant and Jessica Robertson. Each class will contain most of the postures and will lead you through a standing series, floor series and will end in Savasana. My class today was from 1130am to 1pm and surprisingly there was about 28 of us…I swear no one works here in Burlington LOL! What I noticed most about my body was the loss of flexibility and strength in the most oddest of places. One, being my feet. During standing series and such poses as Warrior 3 and Dancers the arches of my feet became very sore and tired. Obviously I need to work on balance too. I haven’t lost any flexibility in my hip flexors or thighs which is a plus. What I missed most about hot yoga was the incredible feeling of sensitivity your body goes through during a practice. Everything is heightened and the smallest bead of sweat that rolls down your shin is felt by every nerve…OH and the SWEAT! I missed that SO much! I am very excited to see where I will be in 30 days, mind, body and spirit! Wish me luck…Thanks for following along!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Music & Yoga

If you’re like me and music is LIFE then you’ll appreciate this blog.

I always get asked if I play music during class what type of music I select. This has been something I’ve thought about since I started teaching yoga. DO I play music? Do I not play music? Personally, when I’m taking a class and my teacher/mentor played music it was nice and relaxing. I remember when my favorite most inspiring yoga teacher, Kinndli played music; it was something VERY upbeat with bass (Telepopmusik - Breathe) that made me want to jump outta my pose and start dancing. Although fun, it didn’t help keep me present. However, being a student and not a trained teacher at the time might have made a difference.

"If music doesn't serve the principles of focus and concentration, it shouldn't be used,"

Personally, music takes me away. I get lost in the lyrics, melody and my own thoughts. Every song and lyric for me is somehow connected to a memory in my life as I have music playing during EVERYTHING I do so it’s hard NOT to be absent. Having said that, it’s also relaxing and I feel I’m at a place in my practice where I can stay focused on my body AND get lost in the music at the same time. Keep in mind, that this is something that has taken quite some time for ME to master.
When I’m teaching I tend to play very relaxing meditative music that helps with the flows and balance. This can also sometimes hinder someone’s performance and awareness as they get SO relaxed they forget their strength and focus.
On the contrary, music can also have the opposite effect on one’s mind and actually aid in the concentration process and take their minds off the surrounding woes of everyday life.

During my own flows and home practices with just me, myself and I, I play music that comforts ME. Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, Pharcyde, Common and Adele…

This really all comes down to experience and practice. Since everyone is different, every yoga class and student will be different. If you’re a teacher, give it a try and if you’re a student, be mindful of what music does to you on different days. Take all of it into consideration and use it a guide to further your learning and training.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Yoga can KILL you?!?!" ...My VENT...

This article by William J. Broad, an author and a Senior Writer at The New York Times “The Science Of Yoga”

THIS is what got me… “It can lower blood pressure, spice up sex — and kill you.”


According to William- “Pulitzer Prize winning science writer and investigative reporter at The New York Times. Broad, 60, a longtime yoga practitioner” He speaks about the risks and rewards of yoga.

However, I have a few opinions of my own about what he’s written.

The VERY first thing he speaks on is “By far, the number one myth is that yoga is safe” He mentions poses that are harmful to the body and restrict the neck in ways that produce strokes and can lead to death. I will say that YES, there are SOME poses that if done irresponsibly, they CAN be harmful…but so can driving your car, playing baseball or jogging.

When starting something new, like an exercise routine, especially if you haven’t done it before you must be SMART about it and use common sense. Doing yoga and pushing yourself into postures you haven’t done before ISN’T smart and will lead to injuries! Being careless and not listening to what your body is saying to you EACH class (as every day is and will be different) can be harmful to your muscles, joints and skeletal system. I feel William missed touching on this completely as THIS is the reason why yoga can harmful.

He speaks on two ADVANCED poses. Shoulder stand and Plow. During my training, we didn’t get into these poses until the end when we had established most and/or full ROM (range of motion) of our shoulders, backs and necks that allowed us to perform these without the threat of injuries. In addition to already being flexible and advanced students we used plenty of props and had lots of support from each other, and our mentors. We were told to only move forward with supervision and to also listen to our bodies and how they responded to the poses. Some students moved into the full advanced posture and some didn’t need to as they already obtained the benefits of the posture by not going into the final stance. Personally, as a yoga instructor, I would NEVER teach these two poses to a class of beginners or even a class over 10 people as its too difficult and along with time restraints to make sure I’m getting to everyone for assistance and/or questions. These are two poses that require a LOT of attention to detail and supervision. If done wrong, or negligently, you ARE putting yourself at risk.
If you’ve ever gone to a studio before, you’re aware of the release form you must sign before practicing. This basically ensures you don’t sue if something should happen to you. This shouldn’t be looked as that you WILL hurt yourself, but because yoga is something that takes full concentration and requires you to completely tune into your inner mind and body; you need to be AWARE and present. You DO have to take full responsibility of yourself and know when to back off if something doesn’t feel right or hurts. As a yoga instructor we’re not always able to get to everyone in the class to assist where and when needed. You need to be vocal if something doesn’t feel right. Make sure the teacher is aware of all your past and present injuries as well. Last but not least, please understand that everyone is different so what you feel in your body may not be felt by someone else, along with flexibility and strength. YOGA SHOULDN’T HURT! If it does, you need to back off. It’s not a competition and no one is judging you.

He mentions how Yoga prolonging your life is “sketchy” Again; I believe it 100% can. Look at being healthy as a whole. If you’re exercising, and eating right, you’re going to live longer than those who simply aren’t practicing a healthy lifestyle. Those who practice yoga tend to be a little more health conscious than those who are just going to the gym. It’s typically a lifestyle than just another method of exercise. A lot of it has to do with how Yogi’s are portrayed by media and culture. I’m not saying everyone’s like that…as I am no vegetarian, but it’s usually the case. Studies show…these people live longer.

This was about the only thing I completely 100% agree with as it’s something I’ve been telling men for a while now. William writes: “Researchers at Rutgers University looked at their scans — their brains lit up in ways identified with sexual orgasm — and without messing with their private parts. I say, throw away the little blue pills, guys. And get to a yoga studio.” How many blogs have I done on THIS VERY SUBJECT?!?!

“Is yoga good for losing weight? No. That’s a big myth.”

Are you joking? I dare you to go do HOT Power Yoga (Vinyasa) for a week and NOT lose weight. Power yoga is faster paced style where poses are held for a predefined length of breaths and turns static postures into a dynamic flow. Of course a well-balanced diet is also needed for weight loss to occur, but yoga DOES help with streamlining, toning and with any exercise increased muscle which aids more calories being burned throughout the day. Really it all comes down to WHAT your intentions are. I wouldn’t recommend JUST a yoga practice to someone who is considerably overweight looking to specifically lose weight, but if you have a strong Pranayama practice coupled with a strong Vinyasa practice, you will find that lung capacity and oxygen/gas conversion and an elevated heart rate are greatly improved and will have beneficial results on the cardiorespiratory system.

Everyone has their own opinion at the end of the day. I personally haven’t won any Pulitzer Prizes or a Dupont…YET…so really at the end of the day, who am I to question THIS guy; but like him, I have my own opinions. I guess overall I just wish he would have spoken on WHY you can injure yourself from yoga. You shouldn’t tell people “You can DIE from Yoga!!!” and not tell them what the reasons for saying those things. We know that if we’re irresponsible when we’re driving our car…we can die! So we drive the speed limits, wear our seatbelts and we’re responsible (some of us) with our lives, you’re taught this. Same goes go yoga. If you’re NOT careful…you will hurt yourself and as a student, you need to know the HOW’s & WHY’s.
One of my goals is to get MORE people to practice yoga as I am a firm believer in its benefits and overall experience. I’ve said this many times in previous posts and I’ll mention it again. You should always make sure you’re going slow and being gentle with your body when starting a new exercise routine such as yoga. The teachers/instructors are there to help and guide you. Please take them up on their suggestions to speak with them one on one about you and your body. Never be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS as someone maybe thinking the same thing.

I’m done venting…Have a happy, healthy and SAFE practice everyone!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WHY is Yoga SO expensive?

This question came up when I was asking what questions people had about yoga. I actually laughed and at the same time was stumped! I have asked myself this quite a few times. Although it hasn’t stopped me from joining a studio AND taking the course as I knew it was something I loved and needed, it still left me dumbfounded.
Let’s look at the whole picture. You practice in a big open room with cork flooring (one of the cheapest flooring materials out there) There is little to NO equipment needed other than a mat, some all natural foam blocks and a rope (the blocks and rope are NOT required, but useful) You wear practically nothing other than some spandex shorts and tanks IF that. It’s not like a gym where you use machines, or even Pilates where you use an actual expensive Pilate’s machine…yet after doing my research, BOTH of these are cheaper than Yoga.

So let’s take a look at studio prices. I’m strictly talking from Toronto to Oakville as that’s what I’m most familiar with. Studio prices are pretty standard at $17 per class, $150 per month and $1200 for a year pass. These passes are typically unlimited so you pay one fee and go as many times as you want. All studios do offer a week or 10 day pass for $20 to try yoga at their studio unlimited. I appreciate this as it a great way to find the perfect style for you and your needs.
Even though we’re not wearing a whole lot during yoga, we still buy the most expensive yoga clothing. Lulu Lemon has been fitting yogis since 1998. They started in a yoga studio in Vancouver BC and have now gone worldwide and successfully designing suitable clothing for yoga, running, dancing, cycling and casual everyday life. I won’t lie; I am a BIG fan of Lulu Lemon! NOT just because of its Canadian heritage and HUGE outlook on positive healthy living, but because the clothes are well made and well designed! If you’ve bought Lulu Lemon before…you know what I’m talking about. The little hideaway pockets for keys, ipods, perfect flat double stitching and how they make your butt look is flawless. When it comes to clothing, I pay for quality. Don’t get me wrong, it does urk me a little bit paying $68 for a tank top.

So why do studios and classes have to be so expensive?

Personally I think it has to do with how we’ve categorized yoga and “living a healthy lifestyle” in the community. I think part of the problem is that “living healthy” is intentionally marketed towards people in higher income brackets, and not much effort is made to reach people of lower income brackets. Take Whole Foods for example. Shopping at your neighborhood supermarket is give or take $50…double that when shopping at Whole Foods and buying all natural, organic food.
A certain lifestyle is being marketed to a very specific subgroup of the public. “The 30-40 white woman who is a stay at home housewife/professional who cares about her health, appearance and obviously has lots of disposable income.” You KNOW it’s true! So now everyone who doesn’t fit into this category gets left out. Some studios offer a “Karma Class” which is a minimum of $5 to go and usually taught by training teachers (been there, taught that) So…you’re not getting the well-practiced yoga teacher that you get for $12 more, but at least you’re getting something right? What happens when you get hooked and want MORE though?
(It HAPPENS!) Sign up for more classes, more memberships, empty your wallet and the studio’s win again.

Lifestyle, health and wealth…it’s just business.

Obviously everyone wants to make money this day and age. That’s what life is all about now, and when you own your own business, it’s all about the hustle.
I’m one who teaches a lot of private one on one classes and I charge by the hour. I remember discussing the business side of yoga with my mentor during training and was told that we shouldn’t offer private classes for under $120 as he charged $150+/hr with several years of practice/teaching under his belt.
When you own your own business you want to make money. You need to pay rent, bills and other finances unseen from the consumer’s eyes. I remember when I started my studio I had to find a way to get the people to come to me rather than the yoga studio across the street. WHY was I different? What could I offer them that the other studio couldn’t? My prices were significantly lower and other than that, all I had to offer was ME. I learned that people will keep coming back because they like you, your energy and your classes NOT because of the price. If you can offer them what they desire, they’ll pay, and bring others as well. I feel like referencing “Field of Dreams” here…but I won’t.

Being a registered and certified yoga teacher I am blessed with the ability to throw down a flow where ever and whenever my heart desires and I KNOW what I’m doing. I know how to work my muscles and push myself as well. There is something to be said about going to a studio and being led by someone else though. Sometimes you just don’t know how hard you’re pushing yourself and need to be reminded. Home practices ARE not to be taken lightly. They require a LOT more concentration and a lot more focus. Having said that, because no one is there assisting or watching you, you do need to be careful you’re not hurting yourself and shouldn’t be practiced by beginners.

So, at the end of the day because of how we live we can’t expect Yoga studios to offer FREE classes, how would they ever profit? It’s a downward spiral from there. What I’m confused about is how we’ve reached residence where the alignment of yoga has everything to do with the culture of affluence in the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Most Frequently Asked Yoga Questions:

What is yoga?

The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit; The union happening between the mind, body and spirit. What is commonly referred to as "yoga" can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word asana, this refers to a system of postures and pose practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind.

Yoga is different to everyone. Some use it as a means of just exercise; some use it as a means of awakening. At the end of the day as long as you’re in control reaping its amazing benefits, it doesn’t matter WHAT it’s used for.

What style of yoga do I pick?

There are so many different types and styles of yoga and it’s important to find the right one for you and your specific needs (if any) I advise you to try a few different styles before selecting just one, as well as switching it up here and there to try something new, meet new people and wake up the body and mind. There is definitely something for everyone!

Here is a list of the different styles you may want to look into:

Hot Yoga

How many times a week can I practice?

Like any new exercise regimen, you’ll want to start off slow. Your body maybe sore after the first few times so take it easy and listen to yourself. Don’t overdo it, or it may lead to injuries. Yoga has some amazing benefits that you will feel after the first session. I suggest 2-3X/wk to start and then as you get more comfortable you can increase your sessions and time. Remember to keep realistic goals and don't let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle, just do what you can do and enjoy it!

I’m not flexible, can I still do yoga?

Simple answer: Yes! You are actually the perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to cook before you take cooking lessons. Arrive to class with an open mind and let go of all inhibitions and the practice will allow to you become more flexible with time.

Why do people do yoga?

There are many different reasons for why people practice yoga over other exercise routines as well as incorporate it into their current exercise programs.
To each their own really. You don’t “NEED” a reason. You do what feels good, right? I personally turned to yoga when I needed an outlet and found myself in my darkest hour. I continued with it because of the way it made me and my body feel. The strength and flexibility I developed was enough for me to get excited to remain a faithful student. The benefits yoga has to offer is overwhelming and I urge you to just give it a try.

Is yoga JUST Stretching?

Yes…and NO! Yoga is not a glorified stretching routine. Rather it’s a way to unite the mind, body, and the soul all while developing strength, flexibility and good health.

On one hand, when practicing yoga poses regularly, you can tone muscles without ever lifting a single weight. The reason is that in yoga your own body weight provides all the resistance needed to do everything from build biceps, develop deltoids and strengthening the core sculpting those abdominals.

On the other hand, YES, yoga is about stretching too. A regular yoga routine will go a long way toward increasing functional flexibility, and encourage the muscles and ligaments to work together therefore gaining increased full range of motion.

What do I need for yoga, what do I wear?

I remember the first day I went to a HOT yoga class (The room STARTS at 38.4 degrees) I wore a T-shirt and sweats…I almost DIED! I went to LuLu Lemon the very next day and picked up some fitted spandex and tank tops. Stores like Lulu Lemon carry a wide range of workout and everyday clothing to help aid in your yoga practice. These materials keep the sweat away from your body which in turn helps keep you cool and comfortable. When doing yoga you want fitted, secure clothing or it could get in the way while practicing. Men can usually get away with just wearing a pair of shorts. Making sure YOU’RE comfortable is the main thing.

Can yoga help me lose weight?

Firstly you need to understand there are many factors that lead to weight gain, and hinder weight loss such as genetic factors, lifestyle, individual willpower, and food addiction. Having said that, I do believe that yoga DOES have the potential to be very transformative on many levels.

The most obvious physical benefits of yoga practice comprise of loosening the muscles that have been tightened by inactivity, tension, and/or stress. ANY style of yoga will aid in the tone, length, and strengthen the muscles, which can contribute to the sculpting of the body, but not essentially to weight loss. You need to understand that muscle is denser and consequently heavier than the corresponding fat tissue. Combined with healthy eating and regular cardio activity, yoga will definitely help in contributing to weight loss. Just ask yourself…how bad do you want it?

What is the difference between HOT & Regular temp yoga and what are its benefits?

Hot yoga is done in a room that starts at 38.4 degrees, and this changes with different studios and practices as well. For example, Bikram’s practices in a room that’s 105 degrees and 60 percent humidity. As the class goes on the room will continue to get warmer with body heat and movement. Prepare to SWEAT!!
Mobility is probably the greatest benefit of hot yoga. Cold muscles tend to be more likely to tear while stretched. Hot yoga advocates that stretching warm muscles is more effective and lets you progress deeper into poses.

Now onto the immune system. Sweating releases the toxins from the body. Raising your core temperature simulates a fever-like environment in your body, elevating white blood cell production and fighting viruses and bacteria. Your body also makes additional proteins referred to as interferon’s which raise the production of antibodies. We all know that stress weakens the immune system; as a result taking part in such activities that lessen stress also reduces susceptibility to health issues.

Please note that hot yoga isn’t for everyone and you should make sure you’re in good health before you practice HOT yoga or start any exercise routine. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are very common and if you’re not familiar with the signs and symptoms of these two, it could be very dangerous to your health. Please also DRINK LOTS OF WATER!

WHY does it hurt so much and will it get easier?

You’re working the ENTIRE body, building and stretching stagnant limbs, joints and muscles that you’ve probably never stretched before. If you haven’t MOVED your body in a while then the results can be uncomfortable and sore. The GREAT thing is that if there’s a little pain and discomfort, it means you DID something. If there’s a LOT of pain, you may have overdone it. Yoga shouldn’t HURT. You should be pushing yourself all while staying in tune to your body and only going as far as you can that day. You want to push yourself, but NOT hurt yourself.

With time it will get easier as you increase your flexibility and strength. Yoga is wonderful as it allows for growth and the ability to move forward ever increasing resistance, power and focus. There is more range of motion in the body that not many people are aware of and you’d be surprised how far you can go with concentration and consistency.

Yoga for bodybuilders:

I’ve received a few questions in regards to this topic so I will try and touch on all aspects.
This is such a sensitive subject as pumping iron and stretching seem to be at the opposite ends of the fitness spectrum, not to mention what’s “right” in today’s society.

Yoga can and is being used in conjunction with body building to maximize the results one can achieve, prevent injury, and a host of other benefits. Through the use of slow, gentle, stretching exercises the fascia is elongated. The fascia is a very strong, protective sheath of connective tissue that covers all muscles and all muscle cells. When the fascia is stretched is allows for more room for the muscle underneath to grow and thus becoming bigger. Muscles become shortened and tight from the constant repetitive, short range of motion during lifts typical in bodybuilding training. This can lead to increased and frequent injuries throughout the joints and muscles. Over time it can hinder your mobility completely.
There are a number of reasons why yoga is a perfect partner to body building. Not only does it enhance your bodybuilding routine, but is also helps you to know your body better.
I did an entire post for “Men and Yoga” that speaks a lot on muscles, range of motions and benefits. Please check that post out for more on this topic.

Lastly, try to get over the fear! Yoga is one of the practices that consist of awareness and truly tuning into YOU! The great thing about a yoga class is that everyone is really concentrating on themselves so no need to worry about what others are thinking…and honestly WHO CARES! You’re doing yourself a BIG favor mentally, emotionally and physically and you need to appreciate all of that.

Why is yoga so expensive?

As I started writing this, I was half way down the page and realized that THIS can be its OWN blog post as I feel very strongly about this. Stay tuned…

Monday, February 6, 2012

Always LAUGH...especially @ yourself ;)

I actually laughed through out most of these two I've actually said a few of these things!!


"Shit Yogis Say"

LOVED this Tiny Devotions, well done!!

Shit Meditators Say"

"Namaste Mother F%ckers!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yoga Benefits for MEN.

I always get the most questions about yoga from men. Although a very coed practice, about 77% of all the yoga classes are woman, taught by woman and designed for/towards woman. It’s hard for me to see and believe this as both my mentors who trained and taught me were both male. I got into yoga because of my brother and some of the most amazing yogi’s of the world that I’ve studied and had the pleasure to practice with are and were male.
I believe that it’s a fear of the unknown when it comes to men and yoga. I also believe it’s the influence of the media and what is “socially acceptable” these days that deter more males from practicing yoga. I think that having more information as to why yoga is so beneficial for men in particular will help.

Firstly, men aren’t as flexible as woman. This is natural and has nothing to do with who you are. Men, who practice yoga, recognize it actually requires a lot of upper body strength which woman naturally lack at first. There is a common misconception that you must be flexible BEFORE you start yoga. However, do you already know how to cook before you take cooking lessons? Do you already know how to swim before you take swimming lessons? It’s like anything new, you may know the basics but you go to practice and learn so we’re able to progress. The great thing about a yoga practice is that it’s all about YOU! It’s your OWN practice and YOU have full control over how far you want to take it. Whether you’re focusing on flexibility, meditation and/or strengthening your muscles you’ll leave feeling refreshed and have had an entire body workout for any age and/or size as well.

So let’s dive right into the benefits of yoga for men.

Athletics & Strength:

Practicing yoga and regaining the flexibility within your muscles will aid in faster recovery times. Expand your range of motion which in turn assists with reaching deeper muscle tissue. Practicing actually oxygenates the blood, creating more energy when you finish the exercise as opposed to depleting the body of it so you’re able to have more stamina and exercise for longer. Last but not least you work every system: cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine in a complete FULL body workout as opposed to one area of the body at a time and/or day. Yoga also decreases the buildup of lactic acid within your blood that accumulates during your working out, which can relieve muscle stiffness, discomfort and cramps.


Believe it or not, men actually have higher stress levels than women. Yoga can and will improve your mental focus, in part by clearing your mind during the workout helping you focus on you and your body. The meditative aspects of yoga that will allow for stress relief will also help with the discipline of your mind to make it easier to focus on everyday daily tasks. Using yoga to improve your concentration and focus will in turn helped you achieve goals and win in your respective sport and/or activity.

So let’s REALLY grab your attention by combining strength, flexibility and concentration, we move onto the best part…


Great sex is an ultimate MIND & BODY experience…SO IS GREAT YOGA! Combining strength, flexibility, increased blood flow, endorphins and last but not least, opening your heart…you get BOTH of these things!! Not only does yoga aid and improve sex, but in some case can actually treat and prevent sexual dysfunctions.
There are specific postures that aid and assist in improving sexuality. Take Eagle Pose for example, this is a posture that sends fresh blood and oxygen straight to the sexual organs. This serves as an assist for men when wanting to vitalize their bedroom prowess by toning and approving the function of their sexual organs. Practicing yoga can also help in delaying ejaculation by teaching you how to draw your energy back inward resulting in a full body/mind orgasm. When I speak on specific energy I’m referring to Kundalini energy. Kundalini is untapped energy (prana) at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the body awakening each of the seven chakras. Full enlightenment and complete bliss occurs when this energy is released and reaches the Crown Chakra. This involves strengthening and conditioning of the pelvic floor which consists of specific postures in which the pelvic floor is lifted and lowered ensuring swifter moves during intercourse. When doing Triangle or “Trikonasana” (My FAVE pose) it ensures a better cardiovascular activity which aids in more stamina during sexual encounter, while inverted head positioning or “Handstand” against the wall improve blood supply to all part of human body vastly improving the toning up process.

Yoga is a direct link to achieving complete mindfulness-living in the present moment. I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t want more of THAT in their lives. Making sure you research different styles of yoga that support your specific requirements. Ask questions and simply just give it a try. Like anything new, it may be hard at first but don’t give up.

If you’re interested in private lessons and live in/around the Toronto, Mississauga or Oakville area PLEASE feel free to contact me. I’d be more than happy to meet with you or some friends to give it a try.
You can reach me by email for questions/inquires at: and/or follow me on twitter @rosepetalcheeks

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Everyone is always interested in the pose I display in my twitter picture, and the one in my profile picture on this blog. It’s called mermaid or in Sanskrit, “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana” which is really just One legged king pigeon pose variation. However, I prefer the name “Mermaid” This stems from my immense LOVE for water…and one of my favorite movies, “The Little Mermaid”

I remember watching one of my friends, Amanda do this very pose during a practice we use to go to together every Wednesday. It was during our teacher training and I remember watching her grace, flexibility and strength as she moved deeper into this posture. It was beautiful to watch and I TOLD myself, I WILL do this pose one day.

This isn’t a posture where you can just get down on the floor and maneuver into it. Although you may be flexible, you would be missing the entirety of the posture and poses designed to lead up to its vastness.

A Yoga pose is like life…You need to enjoy the journey and everything leading up to it. If you only focus on one goal/end result you may miss out on some amazing experiences.

Mermaid is definitely designed to be a hip opener, lengthen the spine and completely open the heart. I tend to do a lot of posture designed to open these 3 concepts as these are usually where people hold stress and fear.
Starting your practice with Surya Namaskar A and B. As your body warms up, start to cultivate strength through the upper and lower extremities as you move through each of the Sun Salutations. Encourage your mind to let go of unnecessary thoughts and soften into the experience and flow.
As per my previous post below about being flexible and its benefits. THIS is a posture where flexibility and HUGE range of motion is definitely required. I don’t advise anyone to try this without the right supervision and guidance by a certified yoga instructor. Above all, you know your body better than anyone, but I do advise you to really tune into yourself and when only you’re ready to move deeper.
There are a few reasons that this posture is my favorite. It was a goal I desired and achieved. It allows me acknowledge and take complete control my fears of back bending and heart opening, and ultimately feels SO good. I always smile during this pose… Really though, if you know me, I’m smiling all the time ;)

The beginning of this posture deals with Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or more simply, pigeon pose. One of my many favorite poses which opens the groin, hips and psoas. It gives a great stretch to the iliotibial (IT) band. This is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. The gluteal muscles attach to the top while the lower part attaches to the tibia, just below the knee. It functions primarily as a stabilizer. This can become very sore when over used and the pain can be felt along the outside of the knee and through the outer hip. Starting in an upright position and letting the hips relax and open, moving closer to the ground. When ready, using your breath to allow you to take your chest to the ground, moving deeper into the pose if your body permits. Take a few minutes and relax, taking in the amazing stretch. Keeping the toes curled under, and squaring your hips with the front of the room will ensure a proper expanse.

When you’re prepared to move deeper, bending the straight leg behind you into the body bringing the heel closer to your torso. Reaching back to help bring the bended leg closer feeling the stretch through the front of the thigh stretching the Rectus Femoris. With every breath, relax and bring the leg closer.
Please keep in mind the steps to move into the pose and that they may not all happen in one day. Making sure you appreciate each step along the way and acknowledge how far you’ve come from day one.

The last part is wrapping your arm around the foot so the top of your foot sits nicely on the eyes on the elbows. Taking the opposite arm behind the head then linking the fingers together. This will open the shoulders, chest and the heart so you may shine bright.

Enjoy each of the steps toward this pose and when reached, the end result and all its magnitude…don’t forget to smile!

Happy Stretching! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Benefits to being Flexible

I talk to a lot of people about yoga and the benefits every day. A lot of my male clients and most of the males I speak to about yoga are interested but always respond with

“I’m not flexible enough…”

#WaysToPissOffAYogaTeacher …enough said…

There are two things to consider; the physical and the philosophical. Let’s start with the physical. Being flexible is all about being fit and healthy. If we are suffering from rigid bodies, we lack mobility and balance, and are more likely to be at risk for injury, discomfort, and/or even disease. It makes sense, right? If you have tight stiff muscles you’re more likely to injure, pull or tear something within yourself than someone who has a better range of motion.

There has also been studies done to show that having an improved range of motion helps with blood circulation and increases joint synovial fluid, which is a lubricating fluid that promotes the transportation of nutrients to the joints' articular cartilage. This will all help in drastically reducing joint deterioration and overall maintaining optimum health.

Now onto the philosophical. No one wants to suffer from being prisoners to our own senses; as we seek to quench our bodies desires, or to relinquish pain or suffering in our bodies. I can’t think of anything more hindering than a tight, unwilling body. I remember being very frustrated when I couldn’t reach my toes or open as far as I can now. It was exasperating, and inevitably the tighter we are, the less able we are to move freely, and the more we are likely to suffer from aches and pains and/or one day, complete immobility. Having a strong flexibly vessel means we’re able to free ourselves from our body and move forward focused on meditation which in turn opens our minds/spirits.

Overall health and happiness are the bottom lines to why flexibility is so important. Take advantage of the one thing you have control over, your health!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Private Lessons

I was approached the other day by a woman who wanted private lessons for yoga. 2x a week was her ideal. She was very eager and wanted to start immediately. When I asked her if she had practiced before, she said no. I told her I would do a free private lesson with her so she could see if this was really what she wanted and consequentially needed.

WHY take a private lesson?

• Too busy to make it to a yoga class
• Nervous to be in a class with others
• Need individual attention and/or support
• Recovering from an injury/accident
• You’ve never taken a yoga class before

Benefits of a private lesson:

Private yoga sessions offer the ability to work one-on-one with a knowledgeable and certified yoga teacher who can devise a practice that is modified to you and help you attain your goals.

In addition to that, a one on one private session can offer motivation & support both physically and emotionally; as a result helping you push through when you are engaged in difficult poses and/or challenging plateaus.

As a yoga teacher I usually plan ahead and have an idea of what I’d like to teach and concentrate on for that day. Sometimes these things change when I see my room full of students as well. As a trained yoga teacher I’m thankful I’m able to adjust my flow accordingly.
When working one on one you have to drop the plan and really just tune into what that specific student is asking for and needs.

I start my private lessons like a detailed interview. Asking questions about the students past history, emotionally and physically and I find out if the client has had any past or previous injuries or operations.

As a student you need to be honest and open with your yoga teacher and tell them exactly WHY you’ve chosen to do yoga and specifically why the need for a private lesson. This is all about YOU and YOUR needs so really take advantage of having all that specific attention and make sure you get exactly what you need. Also make sure you’re being challenged as it’s important we’re always moving forward.

Having a private session with a yoga teacher offers the student individual guided attention aimed specifically for them. A safe place for them to grow and feel secure about themselves. I look at yoga as a tool for transformation.
Whether I'm talking to someone about a posture, muscles or movements; I'm always thinking about how yoga can assist in transforming that person's life in a positive way.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Teaching my first yoga class of 2012 I was struggling to come up an inspiring theme. The only thing I could think about was “New Year’s Resolutions” as it was only January 3rd. This seemed so cliche to me.

WHERE do New Year’s resolutions come from?

Wholesome inspiration? Or unsettled issues in your life? I started to think about having my theme be “NO expectations” this was one of MY unsettled issues
When you’re doing something for the first time; you have little to no expectations. NO bar has been raised. So you tend to give it ALL you’ve got and do the VERY best you can do because you don’t know anything different. To me this is how yoga should be done ALL the time, everyday! Actually...why can’t this be done with EVERYTHING in our lives? Nonetheless, we always raise the bar and put pressure on ourselves and others to do better, go harder, and be stronger. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just be aware of where the intention is coming from within you.

“Expectations reduce joy”

I was asked what my biggest resolution is for 2012. After thinking about it and trying to put it into words on twitter...I responded “To just enjoy everything” What I meant by this is that I tend to RAISE that bar with everything in and around me. I “Expect” certain things in life and from people and sadly I’ve found myself, more often than not, disappointed. When we anticipate things in life and they don’t reach the expectations we’ve put on them, disappointment, sadness, anger is typically the outcome, therefore leaving us unhappy with life, ourselves and others.

I do believe there ARE some expectations that are necessary. When it comes to an employee, a loved one and family...but these also go hand in hand with respect and love as well.

So today when I taught my yoga class I simply asked my students to get rid of that bar, those “expectations”. Come into class as if it was your FIRST class ever and just let your body flourish and reap what it desires
Do NOT confuse not having expectations as NOT having goals though.

One thing I am a fan of is dreaming BIG! These are the visions that guide us to grow the way we want to. The difference between an aspiration/dream and an expectation is how we handle things when we come across something that has not had a positive outcome in our life.
Releasing ourselves from the expectation that something has to be a certain way, we may free our mind and we can understand the reasons behind why things are the way they are, work on acceptance and move towards turning them around to something more preferable.

It’s still early, so set your New Year’s resolutions, attainable goals and believe in yourself!