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Yoga

What’s important in yoga

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The most important thing in yoga isn’t flexibility or the level of difficulty in postures. It is presence, being attentive to the moment, to who we are, to what we are doing and feeling. The main strength of yoga resides in letting go. It is important to put aside objectives and the idea of performance and competition. Yoga allows for discovery: playing with limits, taming and accepting them.

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Let spring in

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“There is a strong relationship between yoga on the mat and yoga off the mat.” (Graham Stones) The discipline of yoga allows us to experience an incomparable state of well-being, calm and inner joy. Physical positions bring tonus and flexibility to the body while our vital energy rises. When we reach beyond the physical dimensions of yoga, we experience the meditative dimension (inner

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Meditation Made Easy

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We are fortunate to be living in a time when mindfulness is in fashion. I have heard many people say “I could never meditate” or “I can’t sit still”, or “Running/Skiing/Biking” is my meditation. All wonderful, but nothing replaces the benefits of simple seated meditation. It is by the doing nothing, by the stillness, the calmness, that we are able to deeply

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What’s the best way to get in shape?

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Recently, one of my Boot Camp participants asked me a common question: ''What’s the best way to get in shape and stay fit?'' She was considering buying a series of DVDs and wondered if it was a good idea. I agree that it can be quite difficult to make a good choice. Over the past decades, many new programs and gadgets have been introduced as the best way to get in shape. So, what is the best

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Eating Consciously

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Studies and surveys have found that those who practice yoga are more aware of their bodies and more mindful, not only in class but in other areas of their life. Mindfulness refers to focusing your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment, without judging yourself and being fully aware of your physical and emotional sensations. So why not bring this mindfulness into a huge part of

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Time to end New Year’s Resolutions?

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We all know that more than 80 per cent of people making New Year’s resolutions go back to their old routines shortly after the New Year. It’s nothing new. But how can you reach your goals? There are no quick fixes. To achieve balance, you must adopt a healthy lifestyle that you will be able to carry out on a daily basis.   The formula is simple: 80% food + 20% physical activity; sleep

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Yes, you can exercise your breathing!

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We breathe uninterruptedly from birth, but we don’t always do it right. Often, when under stress, we forget to relax and don’t always take the time to breathe deeply. Although we repeat this unconscious gesture all the time, we don’t breathe to the fullest and only use the top part of our lungs. Luckily, with a little bit of attention, we can easily make changes to our breathing

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The benefits of yoga for kids

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Are you looking for a way to help your child channel his or her stress, energy and emotions? In a society that thrives on performance, yoga and meditation are wonderful tools to promote good health and stability. Yoga can help your little one’s concentration, self-esteem and restful sleep. All you need is five minutes, three times a week and you will definitely notice a positive influence. May

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The End

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This is my last column for you in this space; a different yoga instructor will be writing the feature starting next month. I have enjoyed sharing various yoga tips with you every month for the past three years. But now, as my life takes me elsewhere, it made me think about how we can practice detachment when something comes to an end in your life. Nothing in life is permanent: not emotions, not happy

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Being at peace with chaos

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Part of being serene is being able to cope with stressful situations, to be more aware of them, and to allow them to be part of life without affecting your inner peace. You wonder: how can I live calmly with the things that stress me? By detaching oneself from stressful events or people and bringing focus back to our breathing and to our body right now, we become more aware of the harmful effect

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Three tips for beating the summer heat!

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Hot weather often arrives with a particular set of challenges. Although we bask in the warmth, some people have trouble adapting. In ayurveda, we talk about “pitta imbalances”, which manifest, among other symptoms, as heartburn, acid reflux, unusual joint inflammation, issues with acne, impatience, intolerance, and perfectionism. Here are 3 practices that will help ease those symptoms

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Yoga Nidra and Creative Visualization

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Yoga Nidra is a guided deep-relaxation form of meditation. I discovered the benefits of Yoga Nidra in January 2013, after a wrist injury left me with a plate and five permanent screws in my arm. I was fairly advanced in my yoga practice (poses) at that point, and my acceptance of this new limitation forced me to find other ways to forge ahead. Since teenage-hood, I have explored a variety of creative

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Running and Yoga

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Running has become a very popular pastime. With tips from a personal trainer, you can ensure that your runs are both beneficial and safe. Perhaps you run for the general feeling of well-being and energy it gives you, or because it challenges you to do your best, or perhaps you’re training for a marathon or Ironman competition. Whatever the reason, several yoga techniques will complement your

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We are spring buds!

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After a long, cold winter, when the warmer, sunny days of spring arrive, we prepare to transition to a more active outdoor life. We prime our gardens for planting, clean up the yard, get the pool ready, and spend time organizing our social schedule around the upcoming barbecue season. According to the wisdom of Ayurveda, we spend the winter strengthening our immune systems; spring is the time to emerge

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Learning to stay grounded each and every day

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The basis of all yoga poses is our connection with the Earth, or being grounded. How can the concept be learned and applied so that you might reap its benefits? It is possible to become more grounded by making small adjustments to your daily routine. Here are some examples: Create a daily ritual: Set aside a few minutes of each day to sit in quiet contemplation. Think of it as stopping time just for

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Breathe . . . Lose Weight

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It’s common knowledge that breathing is the basis of yoga. As part of a regular yoga practice, one can learn some pranayama, or breath-control exercises. When you learn to control the breath in a way that increases the amount of air going in and out of the lungs, a number of health benefits can be felt. Anuloma Viloma is a breathing technique that can be taught by an experienced teacher and

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Achieve Zen in 2015!

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As seasons change, so do the demands on body and mind. With a little care, you can address and manage these changes. Yoga des Saisons teaches us that introducing minor variations into our daily routines can help to restore the energy that occasionally seems to flag.    When winter starts, for example, many people experience increased anxiety and bouts of insomnia. Here are some habits you

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Sacred Space Studio in Mont-Tremblant: A Jewel to be Discovered

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Sacred Space Studio recently opened its doors in Mont-Tremblant. This superb barn, built by Katy Chauvin and her husband, Brian, houses a yoga studio and creative centre. Visitors are immediately captivated by the beauty of the site. The building is surrounded by flower gardens, lovingly planted and tended by Katy. Next summer, she hopes to be able to offer a pick-your-own service of selected flowers

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Blow your anxiety away with yoga

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Anxiety is part of daily living. Everybody, and from a young age, experiences certain fears, stress, and worry when faced with life situations. When fear becomes ever-present  and threatening to the point where it interferes with our enjoyment of activities or the ability to deal with everyday obligations in a naturally healthy way, it becomes an anxiety disorder. Autumn is known to come with

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Do you really want a yoga body?

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In today’s society, we often hear about people – women, especially – taking up yoga for purely esthetic and physical reasons. They want rounded buttocks, firm, toned arms, defined abs and a supple body. The emphasis placed on yoga postures and esthetics is in large part caused by the many lithe fitness models we see in glossy magazines, in social media, and in such glamorous monikers

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Tremblant gets into yoga

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Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker and MC Yogi will be visiting Tremblant this summer during the Wanderlust festival, which takes place August 21 to 24. Although most Quebecers wouldn’t recognise those names, avid yoga practitioners greet the news as if the Rolling Stones themselves were coming to town! I’m fortunate to have the chance to study with Shiva Rea several times each year during trips to

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A yoga routine for triathletes

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Triathlon season is upon us! Do you want to stay in peak shape without compromising your training? Would you like to recover more easily and avoid injuries during sporting events? Do you want to feel that your body is more supple and powerful? Here are some yoga postures you can practice daily while breathing, deeply and consciously, about 10 inhalations per side of each pose. 1- Adho mukha svanasana

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Did you forget to breathe?

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Life begins with an inhalation and ends with an exhalation. Although both of these actions are the most important and significant for life itself, it is easy to forget how important breathing is in everyday living. Breathing is the foundation of yoga; if an individual practices the postures but neglects the respiration, yoga becomes gymnastics. Yoga instruction is based on breathing techniques. As

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20 minutes to save your life!

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A recent study that appeared in Plos One, a scientific journal published daily online by the Public Library of Science, demonstrated that the adverse effects of stress on health – including cardiovascular, auto-immune, inflammatory diseases, and pain – can all be reduced significantly when an individual devotes time to activities that promote a relaxation response (RR). These mind-body

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Spring at last!

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It was a long, hard winter for many of us. Extremely cold weather puts more demands than usual on our bodies. Now that spring has officially sprung, you might find yourself feeling more tired, your energy reserves not as full as they were this time last year or in years previous. You might feel that you lack vitality and motivation; your immune system may also be weaker. Fortunately, there are remedies!

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Neuroplasticity and yoga

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Neuroplasticity is a term that describes the mechanisms by which the brain is able to change while learning. The brain has the ability to create, undo or reorganise the pathways and synapses created by the neurons. It was initially thought that brain development occurred only in childhood, but one of the latest great findings in neuroscience is that we all have access to this capacity to undo, rebuild,

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Three simple ways to prevent professional burnout

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I see a lot of people in my yoga classes who suffer from nervous exhaustion and are merely going through the motions of everyday life to meet the demands of external forces. Expectations of work performance, an overload of duties, financial and family obligations and the impression of constantly running a rat race are all factors that can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and maladjustment that

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About dieting and the New Year

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In Québec, we experience radical changes from one season to the next. As we point out in Yoga of the Seasons, it is beneficial to change the way we eat, live, and practice yoga in tune with each seasonal shift. Ideally, our daily activities can be adjusted to mirror what we observe in nature and in wildlife behaviour. We can adopt certain practices that will help us feel stable, balanced, and

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This winter, let’s avoid knee injuries!

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A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the worst forms of knee sprains, accounting for one-third of skiing accidents every year. While much of the blame lies with improperly adjusted bindings, which are responsible for nearly half of such injuries, inadequate physical fitness also plays a part. To decrease the risks of knee injuries, do yoga. Yoga improves flexibility in the pelvis and

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My virtual yoga

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Yoga is a discipline that can be incorporated into a daily routine at home, and its consistent and regular practice will bring long-term benefits. Group courses are useful for teaching us postures, breathing, and meditation, and if we are fortunate enough to find a teacher who really inspires us, we benefit from the instruction of an experienced individual who can help us progress safely in our yoga

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How to tune in

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Being a yogi with the discipline of practicing meditation for many years has served me well. I can easily turn the switch off and be in the present moment even when times are hectic. It has served me as a mother, as a business owner and in my daily life. It keeps my head clear and I easily manage any stressful situations with detachment. My summer vacation brought me confirmation that it is really

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Am I meditating when I’m running?

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Meditation quiets the mind and when the mind is quiet, the body slows down. While you are meditating, your hearth and breath slow down considerably; this allows the experience of oneness that yogis talk about. So technically, in a way, you cannot really meditate while running. If you want to experience some of the benefits meditation offers without actually sitting for 30 minutes a day, you could bring

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Why not come “yogating” with us?

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When we think of people who do yoga, we imagine that they’re all Zen and calm. While that may be true, they don’t spend their days in tranquil meditation like the Buddha!  People who practice yoga are also known for loving life and being content with very little. They move gracefully, dance freely, and eat mindfully with a concern for minimizing their environmental footprint. They

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Ironman yoga

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Anyone can practice yoga, and everyone can adapt it to his or her own needs. No matter what you call it – Iron yoga, yoga for cyclists, pre-ski yoga – it is all essentially the same discipline: Hatha yoga. Like Olympic athletes, Ironman participants undergo a rigorous routine of training, diet, and rest. Some find that adding yoga to an already demanding schedule simply isn’t possible.

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The “yogin” cyclist

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A friend of mine decided to take up yoga for the stretching it offers and in order to perform better at his favourite activity, which is cycling. As it turns out, his yoga practice has opened up a world of possibilities for him! He told me today that after just a few months, he has learned to control his breathing better and has increased his lung capacity. What else? He says that he is able to get

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Tap into new energy this spring!

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The months of April and May are ideal for doing a little spring cleaning. Some yoga practices, combined with a cleansing routine, help the body eliminate toxins accumulated over the winter more easily. Because they help increase blood flow to the internal organs and stimulate the lymphatic system’s functions, the most beneficial yoga positions are inverted and twisting poses. If you find the

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The change of season

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Does the change of season bring changes in your life? Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are conducive to a change in our daily routines and in our yoga practice. The “Yoga of the Seasons” class proposes that we adapt all aspects of our lives to the rhythm of the seasons. Springtime is the right time to cleanse the body and practice a form of yoga that increases the body heat. For example,

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Recovering quickly from an injury

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After a wrist fracture and surgery at the beginning of the year, I was forced to modify my yoga practice in order to help my body repair itself and recover. I modified my yoga practice focusing on relaxation and breathing to help heal the injury. I chose to do Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation of about 30 minutes that allows the body to enter a state of deep relaxation. I added more pranayama (breathing

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