My first yoga class came when I injured my back and shoulder. I’ll always remember how uncomfortable and unpleasant that first class was. But I will also always remember how I felt afterwards: my pain had finally subsided. So I kept going to yoga, and the pain in my back eventually went away. As long as my practice was relatively consistent, my back was fine.
My teaching style varies quite a lot, from very gentle hatha flow to a challenging intermediate class, while always weaving in a focus on body awareness, good alignment and effective breathing. I recommend my classes to students who are looking to learn the fundamentals within the postures, to understand core strength, to thoroughly stretch the body and access the deeper areas of the consciousness through meditation and relaxation.
Yoga has been one of the key transformative forces in my life. It has taught me to be present and in my body, to feel compassion and empathy, to be in community and to confront the inner challenges we all have each day of our lives.
I came to yoga to try and find relief for a sore back after injuring my back at work when I was 21-years-old. I felt immediate relief after my first class, and before I knew it I was going three times a week just to experience relief from the pain. After a month my back had recovered significantly and I had fallen in love with the practice almost by accident.
I started my training in Central and Southern California and then went on to study in Costa Rica and here in British Columbia. The training never stops for me so I am always looking to experience more and love getting inspiration from workshops when my favorite teachers come to town.
Power, precision, intention, inquiry, endurance and joy would all be words that could frame what I try to practice and teach. I teach a vinyasa flow that is very eclectic, as far as traditional style is concerned, which is very much a testament to my own curiosity as a student in yoga. I spent years diving into different streams of yoga, most intensely with Ashtanga, Jivamukti and Anusara, which converge well into the flow that I now practice.
Who I am today has really been shaped by the practice that I found and fell in love with years ago. The first and most significant impact was in saving my life by learning to honor and love my physical form. I speak openly now about the internal battle that almost cost me my life when I was 20 years old and battling anorexia. I had learned to overcome and ignore physical sensation in a battle between my mind and body that left me a meagre 90lbs. When I started yoga I thought I was doing something for my back but I had unknowingly stumbled upon something for my heart that would over time help me mend and once again unite all the aspects of myself that had become severed.
Rachel is an educational artist and yoga nerd living in Vancouver, BC. The Director of Teachers’ College for YYoga, she created the 200 and 300-hour yoga programs and has certified hundreds of teachers. Passionate about learning, she is thrilled to innovate educational experiences that will support students and aspiring teachers in their journey. Her classes combine her deep anatomical understanding with clear and precise cuing to help students realize their juiciest potential in each pose. She brings yoga philosophy to life with her candid and hilarious blogs and videos about love, yoga, and relationships.
I came to yoga when I was working at a high stress job in the UK. I waltzed into an Ashtanga Flow Class thinking “I've been a dancer for 17 years, so how hard could this be?” I got schooled in the physical sense but calmed mentally. Thus began my practice, subsequent one year 200 hour teacher training intensive in 2007 and certification.
I have since taken more than 300 hours in trainings in Yoga Assists and 100 hours of pre and postnatal yoga training and anatomy. The main styles I teach today are restorative, yin and pre and postnatal. I love teaching pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as healthcare workers who benefit so much from self care.
Yoga has helped me navigate my life by being my “built-in breath machine.” It’s helped me stop and take a good hard look at my life as well. I know when I practice that I am happy, and as a result I only invite people and experiences into my life that maintain that.
I first started doing yoga when life was feeling overwhelming for me. I used it as a "cure" for imbalances in my life. I felt nervous during my first class and definitely remember doing some giggling with my friend. I came back because I knew it was good for me and for the feeling of peace that it brought me.
I tend to teach a gentler flowing style of hatha. My intention is to take students deep in a way that feels completely natural and accessible. I believe that healing is quite simply awareness, acceptance, and letting go into love. This is very much reflected in my classes. I would recommend my classes to anyone who is looking for gentle and compassionate release that, while it will feels good in their body (and mind), will also be powerfully healing.
After losing my boyfriend to cancer and my mother to suicide in 2004/05, yoga was perhaps the most 'potent medicine' in my healing journey. My grief was overwhelming and manifested on all the levels of my being. Perhaps most prominently, in my physical body it showed up as an actual broken heart that my cardiologist said could only be cured by beta-blockers in the present and surgery in the future. I decided to cure myself using yoga. And it worked! You can read the whole story including how I cured myself on my blog.
Because Yoga has been so powerful in my own healing journey, it is my passion to guide people who are dealing with grief and loss through their own transformational process using yoga, yoga therapy and thai massage.
Melissa Krieger (formerly McLeod)
I attended my first class (Power Yoga) in 2000. I was drawn to yoga for the fitness aspect of it, as I was just finishing my personal training certificate and looking for different ways to exercise. I loved it! I loved how I could get a workout that made my mind feel just as good as my body. When I did my teacher training at Moksana Yoga Center in 2005 I was dealing with a low back injury, so I had to slow down my practice and became more drawn to gentle yoga classes like Restorative Yoga.
I mostly teach a style of yoga I call Yoga4Strength. I blended my background of personal training and yoga to develop a class that would help students build strength, balance, core and to chill out at the same time. I also teach Flow Yoga, Bedtime Yoga and Inner Strength Yoga. My intention as a teacher is to help students connect and listen to their bodies. I really stress that students should do what feels right, whether that means they do everything I suggest or go their own way. It's all good. I want my students to leave class relaxed, happy and ready to take on the world! I love seeing beginners. I like to help them feel safe and comfortable and watch their body awareness and confidence grow.
I teach full time in Victoria, BC and have taught nearly 6000 hours! I love connecting with students through videos. I have produced two Yoga4Strength DVDs and had a segment on CHEK TV for almost two years.
Yoga has helped me to be more kind to myself and really listen to what I need. Yoga helps me stay (more) calm in the face of adversity. It has helped me be more open to the positive in my life and more content with what I have.
Yoga found me while I was pregnant with my daughter Stella. Twelve fantastic years ago, I decided to deepen my connection to breath - and from there - WOW! My first class as pre-natal was nurturing, connecting and beautiful. I stepped to the next level after my daughter was born, and found flow. My first class there was crazy and fun. Music was in the background, the flow was creative, and although i had no idea what I was doing, I loved it.
I teach a Vinyasa Flow style class. Movement to music, sequencing dedicating in building peak poses, full of joy, enthusiasm, and even laughter. All levels are welcome, with awareness that modifications may be needed.
My personal life has expanded and opened on so many levels since yoga found me. I have a new community, a wider extended family, and receive 'love bombs' every time I walk into a studio. It's an exchange of love, a true give and take, and I am so grateful for that. I am lucky enough to take my experiences off the mat and into my life to share with my children and my family. That's the best gift I could ever receive.
I’ve been meditating on a regular basis for 15 years. Following a 30-year career in corporate training and higher education, I underwent formal training at a Zen monastery, completed a year-long program in end-of-life care, and worked in hospice care. I now lead weekly meditation groups in a variety of health care and business settings.
I continue to deepen my practice and understanding by attending intensive silent retreats each year. My life is guided by the Buddhist precepts “to do that which creates true happiness for all beings.” My own meditation practice is grounded in Zen and Vipassana. Mindfulness meditation draws on those same Buddhist traditions, but puts aside religious references in order to be accessible to everyone.
To be mindful means paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity. It reconnects us to our five senses, bringing us into a moment to moment awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. A growing body of research shows that mindfulness increases attention skills, reduces anxiety, improves emotional regulation, strengthens the immune system, and enhances quality of life overall.
The first time I tried yoga, I didn't like it! It took me a few years to come back to it and find a teacher who inspired me. What really hit me was the sense of peace I felt after each class..... that is what continues to bring me home to yoga.
I have trained primarily in India (Sivananda) and Vancouver. My main teacher is Clara Roberts-Oss, but formative teachers for me have also included Janet Stone, Shiva Rea, and Swami Govindananda.
I teach Power Vinyasa Flow yoga, using peak pose sequencing and drawing on energetic or elemental themes. My classes are always creatively different, will challenge you in fun ways, and will always make you sweat! I want to make you strong and open you up - in your body, in your mind, and most importantly in your heart. My classes are for continuing practitioners and courageous beginners!
Yoga makes me a better person. When I practice regularly, I have more patience, more understanding, more compassion, more strength, more tenacity, and more love to give. My hope is to help others discover this connection within themselves, as well.
I steadfastly believe that people are capable of more than they think. And that they will never know that unless they try. So I will do my absolute best to give you the best chance to wildly succeed in your practice, and in your life.
I practiced yoga in my early 20's and returned to it later on because of a little pain in my hips. I was also having a conflict with someone I worked with at the time and needed to release that stress and process how I was to deal with the situation. My first class was so good that I had to come back. I also needed more rigorous activity and at the time I didn't know that there were different styles of yoga to suite my needs.
I've done most of my formal training for Yoga & Yoga Therapy in Victoria at Pacific Rim College of Complementary & Integrated Medicine. My inspiration to teach came more from my experience of going deeper into the yoga and from all my teachers who have taught with all their conscious awareness and heart.
I teach a couple of different styles of yoga. My favourite is very much Yin. I also guide and appreciate a flow style class with fewer students so that I can infuse their practice with therapeutics of touch and conscious awareness of body. I appreciate postures that are held for longer than the average so that release can be invited.
The realization that yoga is not only what happens on my yoga mat in a studio has been my greatest learning. Being aware that cultivating that same feeling of acceptance that I have for my body when I practice and transferring that awareness to all aspects of my life, brings me a great sense of peace as I go through my day to day. Yoga is not just a form of exercise it is a way of being.
My first yoga class was at Moksana with an amazing teacher named Tiffany. Yoga basically hurt! I was very very tight from tree planting and my past athletic endeavours and I couldn't even touch my toes. I didn't understand why everyone said stretching was so great because it HURT so much! Eventually, my body and my heart were transformed by yoga. All of the words and feelings, philosophies and beliefs felt like home to me. I was hooked.
I have trained mostly in Victoria and I have taken many, many, many courses. I think I am a course junkie! My love and endless fascination for the body, Pilates, Acupuncture and Yoga have melted together in a way that makes sense to me. I love how we can learn so much about ourselves in how we move, how we feel, how and where we store tension, when and why we open, and how this can be a never-ending/journey. I love how yoga encourages us to love all beings. I am addicted to love.
I want everybody to be able to do my classes even though they are sometimes hard. You can always modify the poses. I want my classes to be a place where you can listen to your body and honor the idea that "less is more." I believe that it's fun to find our weaknesses and not always focus on our strengths. This is what makes our bodies more well-rounded and balanced. I hope that I encourage people to focus on technique and the "how" rather than the "how much." To really honor and accept where each individual’s body is so that true change can happen. I hope that my classes are fun and real and that we can all check our ego in at the door and make our practice all about us.
Yoga has inspired me to love more; to try and practice loving presence in everything that I do (which is reeeeallly hard and I haven't nailed it yet...but I am really trying. To love and accept and to deepen our connection to ourselves to be better for the whole. I absolutely love being part of a yoga tribe where I feel at home around people who feel and hope for a higher consciousness that will make a difference in the world with peace and love. PLUS I love being more stretchy!
I dabbled with yoga for a few years, going to classes once every couple of months. Years after my first class, I began to experience some pretty intense anxiety, and tried all sorts of things to help alleviate it. A friend at the time suggested going more regularly to yoga, and I bought a pass at the Open Door Yoga Studio in Vancouver. Really committing to going two or three times a week was amazing and really helped ease my anxiety. From then on I was hooked! I really understood that high you get after an amazing class.
I have taught Yin, Hatha and Flow (both slow and more challenging). My preference at this time in my own practice is a slower flow - I really enjoy moving through poses with an emphasis on breath, but at a slower pace than a higher energy flow class. My intention as a teacher is for people taking my classes to feel into their entire bodies, to relax into their bodies, and find energy and activation within that softness and relaxation. I also like to bring a sense of spirit and play into my classes. I would recommend anyone that likes to focus on breathe, and be both challenged and find relaxation to try one of my classes.
My first yoga class was when I was doing a theatre intensive with Calgary-based "One Yellow Rabbit". I had been dancing for about 15 years at that point so I was flexible; that aspect was easy. Because I was in a two-week intensive I had no choice but to return! I enjoyed the stillness, strength and demands that the Ashtanga classes put on my body. I have been generally blessed with some innate understanding of how to care for myself and had been doing Pilates for about 3 years so wasn't having to work through some of the physical imbalances which show up in a performing career. But what I did notice with yoga, over time, was the quality of focus it brought to my mind. This is what inspired me to continue practicing.
I have practiced a number of different styles to varying degrees; Bikram, Iyengar, Hatha, Ashtanga and eventually did my Teacher training with Kate Potter (Vancouver) in 2004/05. I enjoy her Vinyasa style; she has a huge knowledge base. The fact that she lived in India for 7 years fascinated me. Aside from her I like the work of Tom Myers (Anatomy Trains) and Gioa Irwin is someone I would like to study more with. Choreographer Jennifer Mascall is another inspiration in terms of perspective and creating invitation to see the world with different points of view. My own studies continued with Vipasana meditation retreats and in 2010 I took a Krya Yoga course at Rikhia Peeth (Bihar, India). Studies continue daily as I observe how I interact with a world that is full of joy and madness.
I offer a Vinyasa Flow class. In merging breath and movement I feel I am able to access and offer my physical understanding and wisdom. I feel flow is the way we want to move in the world. In practice, we will find aspects that are challenging and aspects that are easier. Just like life. From an experiential perspective, we rarely live in stillness.
Yoga has given me a place to gather myself through stress and challenging times. Being physical has helped to keep processing emotions. We are meant to be physical beings and our bodies are built to work. Our physical systems flush toxins with movement and the pumping of muscles. Our culture has become increasingly sedentary and incidence of disease is outrageous. With a Conscious, Mindful Practice, moving our bodies into a wide range of shapes, connected with breath, we are ensuring strength and mobility stay optimal and our bodies flush the toxins out through digestion & elimination, sweat, lymphatic pumping, and exhalation.
I first started yoga in 1998 when I was experiencing low back pain. From that point forward yoga became a daily part of my life. I immediately felt the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits from practicing yoga. From there it became my spiritual path.
My first training was in Ashtanga Yoga, and my subsequent trainings were in Hatha, Prana Flow, Kundalini, Yin, and Tantra. I've trained in Canada, the USA, and India. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa has been my most influential Kundalini Teacher. Kundalini Yoga has been my inspiration for integrating a lot of pranayama and mantra in my classes, and Yin Yoga has been my inspiration for maintaining energetic awareness.
Currently I teach Kundalini Yoga and Yin Yoga, and both are infused with Tantra. My intention as a teacher is to give an experience of Infinity, elevate consciousness, and increase our conscious connection to Bliss - our essential nature.
Yoga keeps me connected with mySelf. It helps me continue to appreciate and honor this body temple every day. It is a gateway to being present with and fully knowing the light and the dark. Yoga brings the unconscious into clarity, and the small mind in right relationship with Consciousness and Energy/Shiva and Shakti. Yoga connects me with Kundalini Shakti, my life force, my sexual force. Yoga keeps me sourcing energy from the Infinite.
Erica took her first yoga class in 1996 as a student at the University of Victoria. The once-a-week class did not feel like enough, so she began her home practice, adding to her day the few poses she could remember through the week. She continued off and on with yoga through the years, and after her daughter was born in 2007, went back to the studio to practice Bikram yoga with others. Within a year, she was reading yoga magazines and running her own 'teacher dialogue' in her head as the teacher at the front of the room lead the class. It was clearly time to become a teacher herself.
Erica's classes are alignment-based and include many therapeutic routines for specific areas of the body. Her students always share that they have more insight into poses after her classes than with other teachers and that they learn about their bodies in her class. Erica is heavily influenced by Noah Maze and Jill Miller. Erica's mission as a teacher is to bring you ease - ease in body, mind and spirit. She specializes in tailoring practices for professionals that target the needs based on their field and how they use their body for hours each day working.
Tianne’s passion for health and well-being started from her roots in competitive sport. As a high performance athlete she learnt first-hand the rewards of training the body and mind. After an injury, she turned to yoga for rehabilitation, finding yoga offered everything she needed to heal and strengthen her body while cultivating a deep connection with self.
She invites you to discover the transformative and healing power of yoga to help achieve your personal goals. As Dana Holleman expressed it, "yoga is about the synthesis of body and mind, and the transformed self that is the result. It is an adventure in human potential, in going beyond the spirit identity that either body or mind alone provides, in discovering a new kind of energy and life. “
Yoga came into my life while I was a professional dancer in New York. I took my first class at Jivamukti Yoga in 2002 and immediately fell deep in love with the spiritual and physical intertwining of the practice. There is so much mystery and allure around the philosophy, ancient practices, and Sanskrit. I've been a devoted student ever since.
In my teaching I aim to bridge the gap between ancient and modern; to help show how relevant and supportive the traditional teachings are in our modern lives. My teachings style is also informed by my work as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist in which the focus is turned inward to the experience of being present with breath, body, and spirit. What to expect from my class? A mindful flow that rides on the currents of breath. A practice that invites present-moment awareness. Heat-building and methodically sequenced to prepare your body for deeper poses, with a focus on detailed alignment to keep you sweating safely. Light-hearted, yet interwoven with teachings to serve your inner practice while you playfully expand outward. This is a space to retreat from the day, explore the inner terrain, and relish in your abundant light. All are welcome.
Yoga deeply nourishes me on all the levels of my being. Most importantly, yoga keeps me sane in this busy and stress-filled world. Let go of expectations and agenda, that's just the mind - be with your breath and your body, right here, right now - above all else, cultivate a curious and compassionate witness perspective - there are always variations - make the practice what you need it to be so it serves you deeply - feel the beginning, middle, and end of each breath - you are the light within, don't believe it...feel it!
I was introduced to yoga in the early Eighties as a means of alleviating insomnia that I had experienced from infancy. This introduction to Yoga Nidra meditation not only helped me finally get a good night sleep but it opened the door to a life long study of yoga and its traditional Eight Limbs. Over the years I have taken many hiatuses from yoga but have always found my way back, because yoga works.
I teach what I have learned over many years of practice and study under many amazing teachers and masters of yoga. I have tried every style or lineage available to me. I teach what I choose to practice based on what has worked for me. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to different styles of yoga over the years to combat different difficulties I have faced such as; ADD, dyslexia, chronic insomnia, migraines, asthma, serious allergies, depression, poor digestion, general health issues and sports insures. Over the years different teachers have introduced different techniques to eradicate problems which plagued me. To put it simply if it worked for me, I teach it to my students. I have been fortunate to study in-depth the tradition of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and am humbly trying to pass this system on to my students.
Yoga brings balance and inspiration to me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yoga is a Sanskrit word most commonly translated to yoke, bind or union. To me it is the union of breath, body and mind and when we find this union life becomes easier. We are healthier, happier, and we learn how to prioritize which brings contentment.
Sarah Holmes de Castro
Yoga came into my life in London, UK, when I was seeking greater ease & stability in the wake of trauma. I completed my first teacher training in 2004. My teaching includes components of subsequent certifications in Integrative Yoga Therapy, Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Functional Yoga Therapy and Restorative Yoga as well as my training in Pain Care Yoga.
Since 2004 I've shared yoga in prisons, treatment centres, corporate boardrooms, yoga studios, mental health teams, art galleries, transition houses and more, with a focus on offering yoga from a strength-based, trauma-informed perspective. I work as the Director of Programs at Yoga Outreach, am a yoga therapist with Fine Balance Yoga and am inspired by the resilience of the people I meet and by the power of movement and mindfulness to offer tools for life.
My practice has been a huge part of my own recovery and helps me show up for my life with more energy, peace and discernment. I'm committed to widening access to the benefits of yoga as well as to addressing the societal injustices that negatively impact people's health and well being.
I have always been a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. I had been working as a critical care paramedic for 10 years and I wasn't exactly burning out, but I was rusting out. When a relationship broke up I knew climbing harder and higher seemed a suicidal approach to dealing with my stress, so I wandered into a power flow yoga class and became hooked.
The class was hard and sweaty, and other people seemed to float through postures with a strength and grace I admired. I wasn't sure I would make it through but somehow persevered. I survived the class and made it to savasana and had the best deepest rest I had experienced in months. After class, I walked taller and felt lighter and more alert, so I wanted to do it again.
When I started to understand what the Ashtanga Yoga of Pattabhi Jois was, it was clear that in order to progress I needed to go to India - I just completed my 18th trip there. So I trained directly in India with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath. I also studied pranayama from Sri O.P. Tiwari of the Kaivalyadhama Institute in Lonavla, India.
The style of yoga I teach is Ashtanga Yoga, and my intention is to help students of any age and ability develop an Ashtanga yoga practice that emphasizes inner awareness above outer form.
Students of all levels can come to my class, particularly anyone interested in going deep into a practice.
Yoga has helped me during life's most difficult challenges by giving me a set of practices to work towards steadiness of mind.
I follow the philosophy of 'start today, gain momentum, never quit'.
Visit Jeff's website: Calgary Ashtanga Yoga School .
I took a pilates class for the first time because they were offering it at the YMCA where I was the fitness coordinator and I felt I should know what it was. I wasn't a fan right away but then something shifted for me in my body and my body awareness skyrocketed. My back started to feel strong, I got leaner and I was hooked.
I trained with Mary Bowen (one of the pilates elders), who inspires me to be the best teacher possible. She's fit, knowledgeable, humble and humorous - all traits that I strive to have.
I mostly teach pilates (mat, reformer, cadillac, chair and barrel) and I also teach yoga and spin. My intention as a teacher is to motivate my students to challenge themselves and work within their range. I believe in enjoying, laughing and embracing the movement and finding your strength and power within even the most subtle movements. I encourage everyone to take pilates whether you are a medalled athlete or a newbie to exercise. There is something in pilates for everyone. You can try pilates for relief from back pain, circulation, anxiety, mental calm, elimination issues, postural alignment, improved strength, power and flexibility.
Pilates has helped me rid my body of back pain, improve my posture, lose weight, get rid of anxiety and it also helps me sleep.
My students often tell me (and I agree) that pilates is very addicting. It feels good in your body and has so many benefits. I'm grateful I found pilates (or it found me).