Tuesday, June 5, 2018

BoT Yoga in June

May Days/June Sun

Though a lot of May was a bit of a wash, due to illness and emergency (sorry about that!), I'm happy to say things have improved and June looks like it's shaping up to be much more successful.
Now, we can look forward to the beginning of summer and better weather (though you wouldn't know it from the last few days!) I'm pretty convinced we're in for a hot one this summer! What do you have planned for the lazy days of summer?

How About Some Meditation?

If you don't have anything planned for the summer and you're looking for something new, why not start a meditation practice? Sit somewhere you can feel calm and still and really get down to it once a day, every day. It doesn't have to be a long practice; it can be as short or as long as you feel is right. 

The meditation we did last week is a good place to start. 
1. Bring your hands to your heart.
2. Focus on your breath. Let the body's sensations melt away. Let the limbs and muscles become heavy and still. Let the breath slow and lengthen and focus on the in and out breath as you let the body fall away.
3. Breathe in for a count of 4. Breathe out for a count of 4. Let go of negativity on the exhale, enjoying peace. 
4. Keep counting. If you notice that the mind has wandered and you've let go of your count, gently remind yourself to come back to it and start again. 

It's as simple as that. Eventually, your timer will go off or you will realise you're feeling at peace, calm and still and you'll either sit a little longer or you'll move on and go about your day.

Guided Meditation, anyone?

If you've decided you'd like to meditate but don't want to do it on your own, why not let me know? I'm considering adding a 30 minute meditation class (or two) to my schedule. Maybe I'll have it here:

Image may contain: tree, plant, grass, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: plant, tree, grass, outdoor and nature

I think it would be pretty awesome to have BoT Meditation on the Farm. It's a peaceful spot and it doesn't get much more quiet than this spot on our country road. What better place than this to meditate?

Who's in?


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Holding Space : April at BoT Yoga

What IS She Doing?

Have you ever wondered what your teacher is doing during meditation? I know I used to fidget and lose focus, because I was wondering if she was looking at me or if she'd dozed off or if she was having a snack...I would peek sometimes to see what she was up to, but now that I teach, I understand what happens during meditation.

As a teacher, I hold space for you. It's as simple as that. I'm breathing with you, meditating along with you, speaking now and then to help you along the way, and enjoying the peace of the moment. That's it. Mostly, I am quietly sitting, creating what I hope is a blissful, safe space for you.

Meditating before a personal yoga session

What is Meditation Like for Me? 

Now maybe you're wondering what meditation is like for me. Sometimes, I sit peacefully, just enjoying a quiet moment. Other times, I become caught up in it, aware of my surroundings but dropping into a state of bliss, where I feel content and still. Sometimes that only happens for a second. Even when I cannot reach that state of bliss, I allow myself to just sit anyway, no judgement of my state of mind and no expectations. No one meditation session is right or perfect; what matters is that I take a moment to accept whatever comes up for me without judgement, attachment or reaction.

How Long Did It Take?

Now maybe you're wondering how long it took to get to the point I'm at now in my meditation journey. A few years ago, I actually used to leave class before meditation started! I thought I just wasn't into it, it wasn't my "thing," I just couldn't lie down for that long... Man, was I wrong. I WAS able to lie still and it definitely was my thing. What changed? My teacher now, who I've been with consistently for about five years, told me that I needed to lie still and just let it come. That changed everything. No one had ever told me just BE completely STILL. Once I learned to lie still and accept what came, I started to really find that few seconds where I'd drop and drift in blissful solitude. 
Most importantly, I'm learning to take that ability to accept what comes without judgement, attachment or reaction into my every day life. I mess up sometimes, forgetting what I know and reacting to situations, but it gets better and better all the time.
No one is perfect, right?
That said, I haven't answered the question. I have been doing yoga for over 10 years, off and on for pregnancies and whatnot. It has really been the last five years that have made the difference. I had my moments here and there over the years but it all really came together after that "aha" moment in which my teacher told me to be still.
There really is no timeline. It doesn't matter. This isn't a race. 



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...