I make yoga tools and technology accessible for real people to heal, thrive and evolve.
What I offer is the whole big picture of yoga, not just the postures, but all the elements entailed in yoga as a vehicle for personal and species-wide transformation. I talk about the power of breath, about yoga philosophy, about meditation, mudras and chanting.
I believe in keeping yoga affordable and giving back to populations in service areas who might otherwise not have access.
In the process, a sense of belonging and community is created.
In 2009, I received my certificate of Professional Yoga Therapy with Joseph and Lillian LePage of Integrative Yoga Therapy at Kripalu Institute. With them, I learned a therapeutic approach to yoga which views each person as a whole rather than a sum of individual parts. This informs all my work now in creating therapeutic programs for specific individuals and groups.
My first teacher training was in Northern India where I was immersed in the yoga lifestyle and learning at the feet of Himalayan masters. Ever the gypsy, I had been feeling called to India for years before actually going there. After a first few bumpy days in the south of India and a brush with malaria, I found my way to Rishikesh and felt an immediate sense of belonging and “rightness” there. Standing on the bridge in Laxman Jhula, the feeling of having been there before was palpable. Many well laid plans to study yoga in different places fell through or didn't feel right before I found my teacher Yogrishi Vishvketu at Anand Prakash Ashram. Here I found my second home and signed up for teacher training right away.
Before coming to India, I had never had a teacher, per se. I was conscious of not wanting to be influenced or trained in a yoga that wasn't as true to the source as possible. So as a result, for the first few years, I only practiced at home with books like "Yoga for Bears" and "Rachel Welch's Total Health and Beauty" (I kid you not :) ) I spent long hours, sometimes 3 to 4 hours each day, doing not just postures, but breath and meditation and relaxation, long savasanas and just noticing the effect that all of these things were having on my subtle being. In my enthusiasm and in solitude, I accidentally discovered yoga nidra and vinyasa and pockets of timeless bliss. Things I would later read about from books and learn from teachers. The only classes I had ever attended were at the 3HO Kundalini Centre in Vancouver, BC.
In my teacher Vishvketu, I delighted in his light-hearted, fun loving nature. Heretofore I had believed that yoga was a very serious and stoic pursuit. From him, I learned to laugh and see humour in our human predicament. In the mornings I would wake up hours early to prepare for class and then sprint down to the yoga hall in my excitement to be in the room and meditate before practice formally began. In Vishvketu, I found the guide that I needed. Someone who had been deeply steeped in yogic tradition from a young age living in the Ashram, and who was able to pass on the true essence, understanding and light of yoga to me.
Over several months and many trips back to India, I learned the ancient practices and experienced firsthand the depth that yoga has to offer. I studied with many different kinds of teachers, from Ayurvedic doctors and German Iyengar masters to humble sadhus (holy men) living on the banks of the Ganga, practicing on the hard ground beside their hut. From ayurveda to reiki to the observation of mauna (silence), my time spent there was in true seeking and inner exploration. Now, I love to share and translate that eastern learning for the western mind here at home in a way that is accessible and fun.
I have been developing curriculum and specialized yoga programs in Kamloops since 2010. Over 20 years of personal practice, 18 years teaching and 8 years as a yoga therapist now allows me to offer a broad range of personal experience and intuitive presence. It is my passion to create access to safe and welcoming space for people to do their own work and to perhaps get a taste or a glimpse of bliss themselves.
YOGA VS. THERAPEUTIC YOGA
All yoga is therapeutic, to a degree, but the difference between what a yoga teacher does and what a yoga therapist does is that the latter looks to the specific needs and desires of a student or students and chooses different elements of practice based on the desired effect. Each aspect of yoga creates a particular energy, from the postures to chanting, to breathing techniques, to meditation. When you practice and experience for yourself the effects firsthand, then you essentially build a toolbox from which you can draw when needed. Anyone can do this, by thinking of themselves as a scientist conducting their own experiment; investigating and observing the effects as they go. One’s own body and mind become the science experiment. We don’t ask that you take our word for it, please, we invite you to see for yourself.
Play. Explore. Expand.
YOGA and INDIA
Yoga is so much more than just a physical practice. When you go to India and you tell people you are doing yoga, people there think “Oh, that is wonderful! She is meditating, she is chanting, she is praying”. The concept of yoga in India is much more complete than our concept of yoga here as purely the postures. Indeed, the physical postures (asana) were initially designed at their inception simply to prepare the mind and the body to sit for long periods of time in meditation, towards the end of achieving enlightenment (samadhi). The poses were inspired by the movements of the animals and the observation of the natural world around them. They discovered that to roar like a lion had a certain effect to open the throat, tone the vocal cords and create a beautiful feeling of wellbeing. Through their own experimenting they found that to stretch the hips and back made it much easier to sit in meditation and they found that by changing the length of their inhales and exhales and controlling which nostril was breathing that this, too, brought very interesting side effects of calming, slowing and stilling the mind.
In addition, the benefits of daily asana practice create a mind and body that are robust, energetic and disease free, making us healthy, strong and available to be of service to those around us; friends, family, strangers in the street.
YOGA = UNION
Yoga, in the broadest, most complete sense of the term, is a whole scientific system, but also an art at the same time. It includes philosophy, moral precepts (yamas and niyamas), withdrawing the senses (pratyahara), meditation, concentration, observation and control of the lifeforce through the breath (pranayama), and of course, the postures, all to the end of realizing our true nature and becoming completely immersed in that true self (samadhi). Bliss.
Recognizing that we are not separate from one another but simply another arm of the same body, we discover, through yoga, what union truly means. Yoga, means to yoke, union of all parts of ourselves, but also union with all other beings in creation. A dissolution of a sense of separateness that may have overtaken our world view. Quantum physicists talk about this same phenomenon, how we have falsely believed that matter, solid, physical particles make us separate from other entities. Quantum physics proves that we are all a part of one energy, and that separateness, is an illusion. This is exactly the same conclusion about reality that the ancient yogis came to through deep meditation and turning inward.
"PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING" - Sri Pattabhi Jois
Following the holistic system of yoga can bring great joy and sustained periods of happiness to the practitioner but you don’t have to be all that interested in the deeper meanings or goals of yoga in order to enjoy it or receive its benefits. It doesn’t take much time at all to realize that one simply feels better after practicing; head more clear, mind more happy, heart more at ease, perhaps you sleep better at night, or have less pain in your body. These are all totally legitimate reasons to practice yoga. Especially in our modern times when it seems there are so many of us suffering, struggling, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Come to the practice for whatever reasons you have, but know that, with yoga, you are getting so much more than you bargained for.
Practice need not be strenuous or long. Practice may be very gentle and short at some times, and long and challenging at others. Sometimes our challenge is physical, sometimes our challenge is just quieting an overactive monkey mind. Practice may not take you anywhere near a yoga mat on some days. Practice may mean that you are being patient with a child or a partner, or practicing forgiveness and understanding towards someone you may have thought wronged you. Practice might mean taking a deep breath before you react to something, anything. Practice can be moment to moment mindfulness. Practice can take many forms, and it is just that, practice. We work at it.
The world is our playground to practice everything.