Monday, 23 July 2012

Get Inverted

This week’s playlist is inspired by the theme “Upside-Down!”
It’s summertime - the perfect time to take a holiday and get inverted! We will turn our mats into the grassy fields and backyards of our youth while invoking the spirits of play and curiosity, in a safe and sanely structured class.

Tonight at Yoga Within's Summer Hatha Yoga Series (5:45-7 p.m.) you will be guided through a flow sequence of asanas that root you to the earth and challenge your core so that you may free the body, mind and heart to shift perspective and soar! 

We will commune with the animal kingdom through postures like Bird-Dog, Down Dog, Dolphin, Camel, Cobra, Crow, Rabbit and Locust, working our way into Chair Twist, Triangle, Bridge and/or Full Wheel, variations of Shoulder Stand, Plow, Headstand and/or Handstand.

Learn to listen and trust your self. Break free of fear-based patterns which clamp the spirit and limit expression of your innermost joy and freedom. This class is suitable for beginners and regular practitioners. Modifications will be offered and, as always, I encourage you to show up and challenge yourself with discernment, while observing the body’s response and navigating the voices of Ego and Inner Child, both of which have so much to teach us.

See you in the yoga playground! xo Jenn

Check out my regular and sub schedule this week here.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Passport to Yoga

Who needs a studio? Who needs a mat?

You can squeeze your yoga practice in just about anytime, anywhere.

While recently in downtown Toronto - on another one of our random adventures - my travel companion, Ash, and I, ducked off the busy, sweltering sidewalks of my old stomping grounds and youth, and grabbed a cooler patch of shady grass in a corner park at Queen and University Streets.

I kicked off my shoes, spread my toes in the grass and breathed deeply; then flowed through a couple of tension-busting, vision-widening sun salutations and warriors, balances, backbends and inversions, soaking in the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan life from a center of dynamic and joyful stillness.

Your yoga is like that crumpled wallet-sized photo of a loved one you carry around with you. It's a passport to far-far-away and right-back-home; your daily sunscreen that protects you during prolonged exposure; your reusable bottled water and portable iDevice to keep you connected. You can't actually leave home without it!

Hmmm, wonder where I'll catch the yog bug next ...

(It didn't take long!!)

This is what I call 'tactile travel and tourism.' Yoga is such a great way to see - and be in - the world.

In a courtyard corridor on the U of T campus. The architecture
inspired a walk down the wall and into Full Wheel.

In front of a serene statue somewhere on King St, I think.
(Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
On a scorching black marble bench in front of the Royal Ontario
Museum, on our way to see the Egyptian mummies. Ouchy!

A bientôt! Hasta asana! ("Until the next pose" en Espagnol!)

xo Jenn

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Om, Alma Mater

I love Montreal! It's a true city of the senses. When the wind blows, you can simultaneously smell espresso, fresh baked baguettes and sweets from some nearby patisserie; you can hear seagulls in the Old Port, a musician idly strumming a guitar from a park bench, the delightful rolling inflections of French conversations emanating from street corners, cafes and open windows.

(Leaning) Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
on McGill's Arts Building steps.

Montrealers know how to live; they stay up late, sleep in, drink wine, eat poutine, smoke way too many cigarettes; talk politics and art with their neighbours, consider bagels an institution and would rather ride a Bixi bike in a dress or suit than hail a cab to a bar on a Saturday night.

Aerial Yoga workshop at Ashtanga Yoga Montreal.

Vive le Montreal! It feeds my spirit and touches my soul every time I return to this cultural Mecca of my university days. Back, when I thought yoga was a waste of time because it didn't make you sweat; took my studies way too seriously and fancied my future the key to my happiness. Back, when I began questioning the status quo; wearing beatnik duds; trying on feminist theory, critical cultural analysis, documentary filmmaking, big words and even bigger ideas; all from the back bleachers of McGill's off-white classrooms.

Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold)
at McGill Bookstore in Cultural Studies section.

Today, I would rather do yoga than pontificate. Today, I know money and credentials and ideas can enhance life but what truly enriches it is what has been in front of me the whole darned, divine time: the many gilded and guised gifts of the moment. Mais, oui! All we need is Here. All we have is Now. And Montrealers get it. They should all have honorary degrees in Life.

Ici. Maintenant. Vive le moment!

Yoga with Paul Broomfield in Old Port.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Summertime (... and the livin' is easy)

Happy Canada Day long weekend, all!

Hope it's been fun, relaxing or whatever you were needing.

I've been a busy bee, and Friday squeezed in a much-needed flow class with Aman at Lotus Soul Gym and limbered up for some weekend gardening and my long-awaited move to beautiful Beaumont!

 I'm looking forward to the changes and new connections this shift in geography brings. In case you're wondering, I will continue teaching my north-end classes over the summer, and then will be tweaking my schedule a bit, come fall, to include more classes in south-central Edmonton, Leduc, Beaumont and surrounding area. Next retreat's set for Nov 2-4 in Stony Plain at River Lodge!

Also this fall, there are plans in the works to do a class inside the charming store Bodhi Fit in Beaumont, which is just a 15-minute drive from South Edmonton Common - it will likely be an afternoon or evening group run through the neighbourhood followed by a yogi stretch class! This fall/winter, I hope to get a regular evening or weekend class going in my home, where there's an open, sun-lit space with hardwood floors that's begging to be a yoga sanctuary.

In recent weeks, I've been subbing quite a bit - at Salus Centre, Hot in Leduc, Nirvana Yoga, True Yoga, Lotus Soul Downtown and Whyte Ave. It's been a delight and great opportunity to see some old friends and make new ones. Every day is different and full of surprises, and I feel blessed to "do" what I do; what I live, what I love. You can check out my summer sub schedule here.

I hope to see you this summer, on the mat - and beyond! - to celebrate the spirits of sunshine, longer days, frolic and nurture in nature.

Join me Monday nights for the Summer Hatha Yoga Series at Yoga Within ~ a strong drop-in class, set to music, in which we will explore hips, hams, heart-openers, balancing, kick-ass hardCORE sequences and more!

The focus for first class - July 2 - will be on building up to a variety of balances that require open heart and shoulders, internal rotators and hip flexors: Intense Stretch (Uttanasana), Toppling Tree Pose (Patanvrkshasana), Dancer Pose (Natarajasana), Eagle Pose (Garudasana). Please let me know if there are poses you'd like to work on, or songs you'd like on the playlist, and I will be happy to accommodate! Hope to see you!

On dates that I will be away in Toronto and Montreal, soaking up some eastern sunshine and vibes, the lovely Natasha Michaud will be teaching this class. So if you drop in on July 9 and 16, this month, she will be there to challenge and inspire you. Next week's class, she will be focussing on the many expressions of backbends with a strong core component and great tunes to rock you through it. You don't want to miss!

My other yoga this past weekend was continuing to read the epic Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, picnicking, visiting with friends Sunday and container gardening at my new abode, under a wide-brim hat, arms deep in dirt. So, so therapeutic! ... and there's nothing like a cold Creemore to cool off and chill out and salute the summer.

Peaceful times, new beginnings.

Much love,