Be Kind To Your Core by Sarah Lindquist

Be Kind To Your Core by Sarah Lindquist

When it comes to terms with the body, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “core?” A six pack, ripped abs, a flat stomach? Those are usually the terms our brains automatically think of. Now, what’s the first thing you think of when you think about YOUR core? 

A lot of us are unhappy with the mid-section of our bodies. When our ideas or expectations of what a healthy core is or “should be” is not met by the reality of what our core space is truly comprised of – we can experience emotions of shame, guilt, and insecurity. But it’s hardly our fault. We live in an aesthetic age that is obsessed with the external images of things, easily leaving us to judge our own external appearance and creating even more self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. However, have you ever actually stopped to think about how truly FUNCTIONAL having a six pack or a perfectly flat tummy for our day-to-day lives is? Do we know if & how these fitness “influencers” on TV or social media got to where they are in an authentically healthy way? Some people have worked very hard and dedicated years to get to that point, some take unhealthy measures to achieve a certain look, others have what some would call lucky genes – while most of us just have an unhealthy idea of what a healthy core actually is. 

For years, I had a very unhealthy relationship with my core. Through dance, sports, and the media I was exposed to I developed very unhealthy exercising & eating habits to try and achieve what I thought at the time was an “optimal” core. Reflecting back on that time however, although I may have appeared happy & healthy on the surface, I was at an all-time low mentally. My negative habits stemmed from my negative mindset about my own body – and the more I tried to change my body to make myself happier, the less happy I became. I found more & more things to judge myself for, and eventually was this downward spiral of self-loathing. 

That, is not functional. How is it that we can become so negatively obsessed with the way we look that it can change how we actually SEE ourselves? It took me a while, but I eventually started to realize that when I let go of the idea that I needed to look a certain way to be considered healthy, I could begin to learn to love my body in a more empowering way. I started to learn about the functions of the core and what it’s compromised of (I promise you, it’s so, SO much more than just those six-pack muscles we automatically think of). I started to develop a deeper appreciation of my core space and everything that it does for me. Our core protects our most vital organs. It helps us to remain strong, mobile, and breathing in our own bodies. Our spine is an area of our core that not many people think of – yet our core helps maintain our posture so when you think about it, our core is literally saying to us, “I got your back.” For some women their core spaces carry a whole new life within. These are the functions of our core that in my opinion are much, much more important than being able to show off some silly little lines on your stomach.

When we begin to shift our mindset away from what we think we need to look like – on & off our yoga mats – we begin to let go of the false ideologies that have been built up by our external world, other people’s opinions, the media, and from there can begin to start to love and appreciate ourselves for everything that we are. A strong, functional, mobile human being. But this process of unraveling takes time, so try not to be too hard on yourself when you find yourself in a moment of self-doubt. Stop, take a breath, and remind yourself of how capable your body is, exactly as it is.

 If you are looking to renew your relationship with your own core, then I invite you to join me on Sunday, February 3rd from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm as we discuss how to strengthen the space of our core using movement as well as breath & attention, compensation patterns that can develop, and move through a fun sequence to awaken the core that is sure to leave you feeling strong, capable, and leaving with a better idea of what your core can truly do. 

Why Rest Is Just As Important As Strength written by Jen Maio

Why Rest Is Just As Important As Strength written by Jen Maio

We live in an over stimulated world - cell phones, social media, internet, wifi signals, music, television etc, the list goes on. We are constantly overwhelmed with external stimuli. Not only that, but we are expected to multi-task at work and possibly at home. Our attention is being pulled in every direction (whether we are aware of it or not)! Our nervous system is not supposed to function this way, one of it's job is to keep us safe. So when our attention is in various places our nervous system is in a heightened state, and being in this heightened state for too long (over time) is part of what is making us exhausted, stressed, and possibly sick! The stress our nervous system experiences also moves into the physical body, restorative yoga and massage can both help to ease this physical stress. 

Restorative yoga is all about deep passive stretches, with many props and blankets. Poses can be held from 5-15 minutes. Due to the amount of props being used, the idea is to be comfortable and deeply relax. Massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues in the body, which also helps to alleviate discomforts from daily repetitive activities and physical stress. Together(but also separately), these practices are deeply nourishing for the body and mind.

Not only do we need physical practices to nourish the body, but also practices for the mind. The stillness and the quiet in restorative yoga (and massage!) can be deeply healing. Doing essentially nothing(mentally), is a powerful tool in rest and rejuvenation. This practice is meditation, the art of fine tuning awareness and concentration. The idea is to just sit with yourself. Sit with all that may come up in your experience and work on letting go of turning thoughts and emotions into stories.

We all know the holiday season can be a really hectic time of year, take some time for yourself this season. You can join me for this lovely self-care workshop this Sunday from 11-1:30pm. Even if you don't and you are reading this, remember to take time for yourself daily, and make it to as many yoga classes as you can during this busy time. When you give more to yourself, you'll be able to give to others without depleting yourself. 

Finding Your Flow

Finding Your Flow

Written by Jessica

 I very much remember my early years of yoga. I can still feel the excitement, the nervousness, and the need to "get it right"... to be "good" at yoga. I can remember looking around the room, trying to see what the pose was supposed to look like. "Where am I supposed to feel this?" "Is my leg as high as hers?" "Why doesn't my Pigeon look like that?" I can still feel the frustration of falling out of a balance, or of being unable to hold an inversion. I came out of those classes happy and sweaty, endorphins flowing, but full of judgment, stories, aches and back pains, with more expectations of myself than when I entered class. 

 As my practice progressed, and deepened, I learned how to trust myself. And while it's not easy, taking yourself out of a space of judgment and into the seat of the observer as you practice, allows you to see and feel how capable your body is. You find the spaces in your body where hidden emotions lay and find the patterns of your mind. Your practice becomes a space of reverence and learning, no longer a battleground. You can smile and laugh when you fall, and you can breathe and experience sensations in the body, thankful for the ability to feel them. You begin to move in a way that not only feels good, but honours and explores the subtleties of the body you've been given. 

 What would your practice look like if you got rid of the "shoulds", and the stories you place on yourself? What if you approached each pose, not trying to make a certain shape, or somehow fighting against your body, but instead, took the opportunity to observe what the pose's effect was on your breath? Or how the pose feels in your body, both physically and energetically? 

 We so often get lost in the end-goal, pushing our heads painfully to our knees, or forcing ourselves into backbends that are far too deep for our bodies. When we fight with our bodies to make our practice look a certain way, we miss the lessons along the way. We miss the emotions yearning to be felt. We miss the energies trying to move through us. We miss how good the body can feel along the way. We simply miss the point. 

 I love the opportunity to teach beginners. This is why I especially love the "Find Your Flow" workshop at Navina. Without mirrors or distractions, we learn how to safely align the body, while honouring its unique bone structure and current capabilities. We learn how to move in an intuitive way, while creating an injury-preventative, lifelong practice. Taking the time to step back and learn your foundations is important, no matter where you are at in your practice. Learning to engage your legs and the entire shoulder girdle during Chattarunga will take the pressure off of your pectorals and core, and save your rotator cuff, years down the road. It also allows you to find that sense of ease and strength, and to experience the sensation of floating through your flow. When you have a solid foundation to build on, your confidence and trust in yourself can flourish. Your practice can deepen beyond the physical, beyond your mat. And you can truly find your flow. 

The Not So Sweet Reality Of Sugar By Stephanie McKay

The Not So Sweet Reality Of Sugar By Stephanie McKay

As I sit down to write this today, I can’t help but think of my 1 year old and the extreme amount of importance and awareness I put into what I nourish him with. It doesn’t stop there though. I lead by example and nourish my body just as mindfully so that I can be a healthier mommy for him and myself. I feel a great sense of importance in delivering my message in the most uplifting and informative way possible. If you don’t know me already you soon will realize that I am extremely passionate about Health and Wellness especially in the field of nutrition.

I see our society becoming sicker and sicker and sadly diseases are most definitely on the rise and as much as it saddens me, it makes me even more excited to continue learning and hopefully impacting society with the knowledge I can share. The topic of nutrition is so vast and can become quite complex, but for the sake of this blog I would like to just give one very important lesson and some information to hopefully have people become more interested in their own health and want to learn more.

The topic today I want to share my knowledge about, is the shocking effects of SUGAR on our bodies. Did you know that sugar is classified as one of the most addictive drugs on the planet alongside cocaine, caffeine and opioids. This “drug” that we find some parents giving to their small children as a reward for behaving, doing chores or as a part of a celebration of a job well done. As most of us know the younger a child is introduced to sugar the harder it is to break those habits as they become an adult. This is resulting in a large number of people being diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. By overeating sugar your body becomes insulin resistant, meaning it is no longer able to process insulin properly. A shocking 9.4% or 30.3 million Americans being diagnosed.

Many people don’t realize that fatty foods are less of a culprit of weight gain than sugar. The way this happens is if the sugar you eat isn’t burned off ( aka exercise) then it is stored in the bodies fat cells, because the body views it as an energy source. Eventually it is turned into fat cells as many are quite sedentary and unable to burn it off. This in turn is one of the causes of obesity, causing the immune system to become compromised, the liver to be overloaded with fat which can result in liver failure. This is only a small number of side affects that sugar causes on the body.

Not only does this substance reward the taste buds in a persons mouth in stimulates the pleasure centres in their brains. We can all agree that it tastes good, but does it really taste that good? As I prepare my baby boys meals I am extremely conscious of the sugar I am keeping out of his body. Easy snacks are loaded with it, yet the extra time it requires me to make a healthy snack from scratch far outweighs the drastic affects I can cause for him down the road.

This and so many more topics on nutrition excite me in sharing my knowledge and hopefully anyone interested can join me this Sunday from 11-1pm. Come learn some fundamentals when it comes to nutrition and easy tricks that you can walk away with feeling a little more empowered on how to nourish your bodies to therefore show up he way you want to in your life. Excited to see you all, so that we can learn and share together.


What Grace Really Looks Like

What Grace Really Looks Like

Previous to Navina Yoga’s establishment in 2016, I struggled a lot with building our brand. I wanted it to breed just as much strength as it did flexibility as I feel that both are equally important. I wanted to implement the practice in a way that enhances our mental health and teach students how they can  take this practice to cultivate a successful living. One of my many struggles was creating the tag lines or slogan’s for the company. I really loved the dualistic simplicity of strength and grace. Initially I felt the word grace may be taken strictly as my initial understanding of the definition, to cultivate a certain level of skill that creates a sense fluidity to the movement. Over time, your practice begins to exude a sort of effortless quality, and you essentially make the practice look ‘easy’. This is certainly one aspect of it and simply highlights one layer of the practice, however it still suggested a more feminine quality and that was not the full use of the word that I was looking for. 

The practice of Navina Yoga is to offer a balanced approach for a modern society. It is incredibly important to build strength, to push beyond to confinements of our comfort zone, and I have fun challenging students and learning not to take the eye rolls personally. No really, I do enjoy it because if they stick with it, before they know it that look of doubt will be shattered with an incredible ‘aha’ light once they actually experience the potential in their body and suddenly are balancing on their hands. The look of pure potentiality, or said another way, the ‘holy shit I did it’ look.

Grace is not something that supersedes strength, but instead precedes it. Grace is having the courage to face your current situation, not retracting back and pulling away, but standing tall and proud and connected to your truth amongst adversity. I have taught in quite a few studio’s through my decade of experience and one thing always remained consistent, people would be so incredibly hard on themselves when they fell out of a posture. 

So let’s break this down, most would agree that they practice yoga to progress but how can we progress if we don’t give ourselves permission to fall? Don’t practice by trying to make it look perfect, this is precisely why we don’t have mirrors. Practice having the courage to take your posture past the perfect stance and embrace the wobbles that will come with it and the inevitable falls that will occur. That’s the first layer, the second is to notice how you react to the fall. I am willing to bet that like many, you are way too hard critical on yourself but really, it’s just yoga! Learn to meet your falls with the courage to not only get back into the posture, but to do it without any of the harsh critical voice that tends to go with it and instead meet it with a soft smile, even if it’s fake initially ;) 

This is so critical to your success in life because if you are hard on yourself when you fall out of a yoga posture then I am certain you are too hard on yourself off of the mat too. This may stem from good intentions however it ends up having incredibly crippling effects on our ability to pursue our dreams because if your not willing to fall on your mat, then your likely not going to be willing to fall of it either. No master starts with that level of precision and skill, they failed, they fumbled, but they stuck with it and learned from their mistakes. Over time, and it’s said to be 10,000 hours of experience that's necessary to develop the skill to a level of mastery. 

Grace is not only having the courage to get a little wobbly, but also having the ability to smile instead of judge when you do fall, as long as you keep getting back up then you will continue to progress, this is life. Grace is having the courage to own your mistakes for what they are, lessons. All too often we externalize our failures and there is no room for growth within that. Next time you fall, congratulate yourself on being human, then own your story and keep on growing. If we focus on being perfect, then it creates this habit of always trying to win in the present moment and this will quickly take over your trajectory. At Navina Yoga, we want you to succeed way beyond your desires, but you have to be willing to fall along the way. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. 


Learning The Warning Signs Of Suicide by Melissa Howard

Learning The Warning Signs Of Suicide by Melissa Howard

Suicide is the 10th most common cause of death among Canadians, and a recent survey revealed that of the 1,319 teens polled, 22 percent had seriously considered taking their life sometime in the past 12 months. Contrary to what many people think, the majority of people with a mental illness do not die by suicide — yet of those who do die from the act, 90 percent have a diagnosable mental illness. Regardless of age, sex, or mental stability, if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, make sure you know the key warning signs so the person in question (even yourself) can get help. 

There’s Already An Existing Substance Abuse Issue

Suicide is the leading cause of death among those with a substance abuse disorder. Alcohol is present in approximately 30-40 percent of all suicides and attempts, and drugs, 41 percent. One of the explanations as to why there’s such a strong tie between the two is that those with a substance abuse problem are usually severely depressed — one of the main triggers of suicide. In this case, before getting help for suicide, the person needs to get help for their substance abuse problem in order to avoid a vicious cycle. Aside from addiction, other risk factors include: 

●     History of previous suicide attempts

●     Easy access to lethal methods

●     Family history of suicide

●     History of depression or other mental illness

●     History of alcohol or drug abuse

●     Stressful life event or loss 

●     History of violence

Key Warning Signs

Note that not everyone exhibits each of these signs, but they are all good indicators that someone is having suicidal thoughts. 

●     Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

●     Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

●     Displaying extreme mood swings

●     Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

●     Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain

●     Talking about being a burden to others

●     Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself

●     Looking for a way to kill oneself

●     Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless

●     Sleeping too little or too much

●     Withdrawing or feeling isolated

●     Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

●     Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain

●     Talking about being a burden to others.

Signs That You Need To Call 911 Or A Local Suicide Emergency Service

There are more direct signs that someone isn’t just having suicidal thoughts; they may be ready to commit the act. Don’t wait to seek help for an individual who exhibits any of the following: 


●     You detect that someone is heavily researching/plotting ways to execute a suicide — maybe even purchasing a weapon or some other means of hurting him/herself. 

●     Someone is threatening to hurt or kill themselves.

●     You notice out of character behavior like posting about death and suicide on social media. 


Realize Suicide Can Be Prevented

Many people are uncomfortable with suicide, which is one of the reasons why there’s little discussion about it. Lack of conversation only hinders prevention. Researchers have shown that there are some key factors that can help prevent suicide: 

●     Problem solving skills, conflict resolution, and other nonviolent ways of handling disputes

●     Clinical care for mental, physical and substance abuse disorders

●     Family and community support 

●     Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support seeking help

While everyone gets depressed or has a bad day or week, the signs of suicide are more severe and should not be ignored. If you’re confronting someone, be prepared that he/she may not be ready to accept getting help right away. On the flip side, if you’re the one considering taking your life, don’t try to sweep these thoughts under the carpet -- seek help immediately.  

Article written by: Melissa Howard who is on a mission to prevent suicide through her website and insight on www.stopsuicide.info.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Drop What It Looks Like And Make It A Happy New Year!

drop it.jpg

After the season of indulging, the New Year is often met with an urge to want to create a new you as January offers that extra incentive to make a change. With the best of intentions, many Canadians set New Year’s resolutions and the success rate does not even hit the double digits. This staggering statistic stems for our all or nothing approach; it is our addiction to instant gratification that steers us directly toward your old habits. The first step to a happy New Year is to approach this year like a marathon, not a sprint. 

The real root of the problem lies in the fixation of what our goals look like rather than what it feels like. We focus on the external results and ignore the fact that this may not be in alignment with what we really want. If you have committed to daily workouts, have you considered whether or not you actually like going to the gym? When we find something we actually enjoy doing we look forward to our workouts rather than dread them. Set yourself up for success this year and find something you actually enjoy doing. Whether your goals are related to fitness, business, or personal experience, if you focus on something that makes you feel good, you will enjoy the process. This will shift your state and you begin to operate from a place of desire, which immediately sets you up for success and you catapult into a state of action. If you don’t enjoy the process then you will be constantly operating from a place of sheer willpower, which is exhausting. 

The last major factor for consideration is that we fail to focus on one of the main principles in yoga, letting go. If you want to be successful with your goals you need to consider what you will stop doing as much as you will focus on what you start doing. We are an incredibly busy society so if you plan to implement three yoga classes a week, have you considered what you are willing to give up in order to make time for that in your routine? Keep it simple, start with your television. 

No matter what direction you want to take 2018, take a step back and ask yourself this; are you really setting yourself up for a happy New Year? If you drop what it looks like and practice letting go you will instantly perpetuate growth; this is what unlocks happiness, because it truly is not about the destination but journey along the way. So whether your strategy for growth this year is yoga, running, reading, or writing, just be sure you enjoy it. When making your commitments consider what you will give up in order to create space for this because it you try to wedge anything else into your schedule I give it two weeks top and the priority we let go of is ourselves. So this New Year, be easy, enjoy and let's make it a happy 2018! 

At Navina Yoga we offer programs that help you implement these tools and practices into your life all year round.

Why you should grab props every class.....

Why you should grab props every class.....

There is often a negative connotation towards the use of props in our practice, as if using them makes you less able in the posture when in fact is quite the opposite. There are many props that you can use in your practice but let’s start with blocks. By using blocks, you are simply bringing the floor a little closer to you, but somewhere along the way we make it mean that we are not good at yoga or we are just not flexible enough and we let ourselves struggle through it because we view using props as a form of a crutch. The fact is, your legs are longer than your arms, so unless you are incredibly flexible in your hamstrings, if you are in a standing posture with your body folded forward and placing your hands to the floor, this will simply cause you to have to bend that knee and shorten your hamstrings when the point of it is to encourage length instead. So if you do use the blocks you will be able to get a much better stretch. Our minds simply turn things around and make it mean something totally different, this is one of the biggest patterns that we want to interrupt within our practice. Again we like to break it down into facts and here they are, yoga is about bringing your body into proper alignment, props allow your body to be in proper alignment, all the rest we make of the use of props is just a part of our mental chatter creating some sort of story that derives from some sort of limiting belief.


Our addiction to the quick fix has steered us into the wrong direction and when it comes to our health, we are missing the point. We want to get where we are going as fast as possible but the problem is all it takes is for your actions to be slightly off and it throws our trajectory way off point. We lose sight of our intentions and this hyper driving force has created a shift away from quality and focused more towards speed and eventually injury. When you come to practice at Navina please take advantage of our investment in the best props to enhance your practice, and if you allow your practice to be supported you will create space for an organic opening which will also lead you to be injury free.


We often think that we need to take everything on ourselves and the fact is it really feels good to be supported, so instead of letting your ego run the show and resisting it, let it go and embrace it. Has someone ever offered you assistance with something and you took it to mean that you are weak in some way? Or if a co-worker offered to take something off of your hands and you took it to mean that you are not doing a sufficient job? We have become so focused and concerned with how we look to others that we create a false interpretation of compassionate actions. We hope you consider this concept off your mat and even consider one area in your life where you could use some support, and then open yourself up to it and just see what happens. The universe works in beautiful ways if you let it.


Moving into the Unfamiliar

I bend in the cold space and stretch out my yoga mat, listening to the voices of my classmates inquiring and preparing along side me for this day's practice, wondering what it will bring. What lessons will I be blessed with today? And why must I look at a yoga class as an experience of either triumph or defeat? My ego-mind is busy examining all the possible outcomes as I say hello again to my yoga mat.  With these things in mind and a happy yet nervous level of tension sitting in my cells, Yogini Janice begins her lyrical greetings and I feel something in me surrender to what will come: physical challenges that I doubt I can handle, which flood in very much like the doubts I experience about how or whether I can handle life and what it brings. I relish the metaphor -- how will these yoga moves that push and stretch me serve as empowering metaphors for the challenges of daily living? I see that I’m looking for inspiration in the room too.

In that moment, I the need to control begins to fill me up and I actually notice more about what that feels like, and.in.that.moment.surrender.with.a.deep.breath...arms raised from my sides, palms open in welcome, overhead, and down into Namaste at the heart chakra: WE begin and are all connected in the yoga dance.

I have not taken one of Janice’s classes in many years, and this is a new setting. Morning sunlight flows in through welcoming windows as golden leaves flutter in the breeze outside against a crisp, clear blue sky. We can imagine hearing the leaves, as our own bodies move indoors and we feel our hearts flutter more rapidly in our chests with each posture. We are each alone in our own moment, yet together sharing space with a unified purpose.

A series of flowing, breathing bends and stretches leads into the inevitable Down Dog -- a place I rarely look forward to being at this point in the practice I also call life -- and I suddenly see the journey ahead of me, through the lens of this class and the purpose it has just revealed, as a deep moving into the unfamiliar.

As it would happen, I really don't recognize my life in general right now. It is not what I expected it would be. Yes -- expectations cultivate disappointment. I am, however, more surprised than anything. And so tell me: how or why is it that each time I land on yoga mat in class, it takes on the character of my life at that time?  Yes, that is a rhetorical question.

My experience tells me it is because I now see yoga AS life. I have been so very separate from my body when in fact it is a powerful spiritual tool, just as conscious as any part of my brain, and path to great and endless self-realization, which for me is really where it is at. And so in terms of surprises, I can really say that yoga has been one of the greatest in my life, because I truly didn't ever expect to find myself on the mat given the challenges I had faced.

There was a time when yoga was the last thing I would turn to, and it perplexed me. WHY, I would think, had people ever been so enamored with what seemed like torment to me? This must sound like sacrilege Granted, physical injuries made my life miserable in general and so yoga was overwhelming in that sense. My greatest obstacle though, was my thinking.

Yoga is a journey and one that takes me deep within -- not a place I wanted to be many years ago when I hadn't yet learned to eliminate the torment of my thoughts. The last place I wanted to be was IN my body or my mind noticing what was going on, and certainly God Forbid – I did not want to FEEL my emotions. There were too many things I was not able or willing to accept about myself that would glare at me during a pose that would then seem doubly unbearable.  Down dog always left me defeated.

Yet persevering over the years with meditation and various studies that now include more yoga mean that when I am in what still seems rather hateful -- side plank, and no; I can't do one very well -- I can see my inner victim show her face while holding and breathing into that discomfort and I can welcome her into that moment. My "victim" becomes a path to strength when honored or acknowledged because I can prove to her/my-self that YES, I will do my best to learn more about staying here in this difficult place. And still breathe. And still work harder to improve the pose. And smile as I acknowledge this move as metaphor, knowing I will try harder to be better at it and at my life. I KNOW in that moment that I am capable of more, a direct experience of myself that I can turn to in the face of other challenges.  In side-plank today, I saw my need to be perfect again, and I didn't let it stop me from trying even though I knew my posture would be anything but. In fact it was really damn shaky; yet I somehow felt a bit brave. What does THAT tell me about life? That I can be brave, even if I feel a bit shaky.

Yoga challenges give me courage in other areas of my life. The improvements any of us create and see in ourselves during a yoga class are new truths about ourselves we can carry into our day.  I am not alone in needing inspiration but over the years my heart has taught me that the ultimate in empowerment is when we learn to inspire ourselves.

Any yoga students and practitioners who are fortunate enough to learn from a master will naturally and inevitably move into greater capability, courage and curiosity even within a class and I was delighted to experience this during my attempt at a shoulder stand. ME! Trying a shoulder stand. OMGoodness, I was delighted that I could make it happen at all given the fear I have lived in due to spinal injuries and self-judgment regarding a perceived lack of physical prowess. By the time we got to that point in the class, I was so engaged by the challenge that I couldn't resist trying a full one and it was so highly rewarding! It reminded me a bit of scuba diving. I have trouble keeping the regulator in my mouth for all the blissed-out smiling I do. Janice offered me a block during my attempt to support the pose, but I was having SO much fun testing my body to see what "she" believed she could do. I said "no thank you" to the block because I was having so much fun.

And as I write this I think "no block". I did something I did not think I could do on my own without any support. There was NO block in that moment -- only the unstoppable curiosity of the moment and the challenge. I landed in a place of wonder that I wished wouldn't end.  Does having fun remove blocks and barriers I thought? I now wonder what solutions it can offer us – in fact, playfulness suddenly seems like life blood.

It was also the case with the closing half-pigeons we did and the resting moments of a very insightful savasana she moved us through that meant I didn't want it to end. It always does.  I moved out thankfully into a bright and cloudless day, wondering how I would take that practice into the following moments and sit here now in reflection. Gratitude flows, and I smile. For many moments, there is no need for words, no capacity to generate them. It is in this stillness that my eternal self begins to show up more.  Yoga has calmed the storm and I am able to move forward with equanimity.  There is so much more space inside to cherish myself right now.

I can move into the unfamiliar as a more peaceful woman today who has learned some new and valuable things about life...

Guest Blog By Alanna Prather

Why We Like It Not Hot...

If you practiced hot yoga within the last 10 years ago then you likely visited a Bikram or Moksha studio but now it seems that most local studios are incorporating heat and humidity into their classes. Practicing in a hot room will certainly warm your body entirely which will naturally limber up your body, however this can often lead muscle and joint injuries as the practitioner will often over do it.  It is crucial to be well hydrated for a hot class otherwise you will experience dizziness, light-headedness, or nausea. There is not enough research out there to date but some have stated that hot yoga will help you burn more calories and lose more weight. The problem with the current studies are that they have used extremely fit participants which is great for that small percentage but most people are practicing yoga to get into shape rather than maintain their current state. Yoga is not meant to be practiced with an elevated heart rate and this is why you should not practice in the heat if you are pregnant, diabetic, or have any cardiovascular disease. So we want to be clear that we are not saying do not do hot yoga, we believe all yoga is good, were just saying proceed with caution and be sure that you are really enjoying the practice and not getting tricked by the endorphin rush that it provides.  

There are many reasons we chose to do not hot yoga at Navina Yoga, first and foremost, we feel we simply have enough intensity in our lives and the purpose of our practice in yoga is to cultivate energy, not expel it. Our goal is to not only make this practice accessible for everyone but also to create space for a sustainable practice. We want you to feel energized and ready to take on the rest of day post practice, not racing to change your clothes and chug a litre of water. We live in an extremely fast paced society and our constant push is exactly what will draw many to a hot room environment but our intention is to help the practitioner let go of this constant push and create space for a balanced practice. Our physical health is very important and our lower temperature actually offers an opportunity to work harder and cultivate more strength, the room does not make you sweat, your breath and movement do. We can safely practice inversions and arm balances, which is definitely going to create some beads of sweat and well, they are just so fun to practice! We may think we work harder in a room with heat, but having worked in both settings we see the opposite as true. Students build strength way faster in a lower temperature room. Another really important factor to consider when exercising is your heart health, high intensity workouts will often deplete our resources and it can be very taxing on your health long term.

The hot room can certainly provide an oasis from our crispy winter temperatures and being cold in a yoga class is certainly not desirable either, so we decided to offer the temperature we know best; not hot, not cold, but toasty. With the temperature set to 28 degrees the room offers a cozy atmosphere that is conducive to working hard and keeping your breath calm. This reasonable temperature also allows us to utilize the big windows in our space and there is nothing better than practicing in natural light versus a hot stuffy room without any natural light. So when deciding what practice works for best for you, be sure that you are focused on all aspects of your health and no matter what practice you decide is best for your needs, just keep rolling out your mat and take the best care no matter what!