Are you curious as to why you have limitations or pain? And despite your efforts to get rid of pain or stiffness, nothing really works as much as you'd like? Or why your yoga practice - if you have one - is not progressing as much as you'd like?
My hope is to empower you to take control of your own wellness by becoming more aware of your body and how you move. I believe our bodies have the innate wisdom to heal, if we allow ourselves to be present with the message our bodies communicate to us. This requires a certain level of awareness, as we can’t change that which we are unaware. You will be amazed at how transformative this can be!
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I teach people how to be more aware and to move mindfully. I start each class with a body scan - you check in with how your body feels and how it rests on the floor. You also check in with the state of your mind. It's important to start with this awareness of "what is" so you can gauge your progression. If your goal is to get more flexible, reduce pain, or relieve stress, then you need to be aware of where you're at first.
There's also a focus on the breath - how do you breathe and what part of the body do you breathe into? How you breathe is directly related to your energy level, your state of mind and how you move! During the class, I focus less on how a pose looks, and more about how it feels in your body. You can gain so much more when you move slowly, just like you can catch more detail when a video is done in slow motion. Notice what's working that should be, and what's working that shouldn't be. Learn to reduce compensations and become more efficient, which will translate into becoming stronger and feeling less tight and stiff. Feel like your body is your friend, not your enemy! If this approach resonates with you, I invite you to try my classes.
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I first tried yoga at the local community centre. I had heard about yoga and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I lucked out and had a great teacher who taught from the heart. She even turned off the main fluorescent lights of the room and brought her own light that she shone toward the ceiling to create a lovely atmosphere of indirect soft light. One of the first things I learned was the power of the breath to help me deepen the poses and to ease and quiet the mind. The breath and the mind being so interconnected, I was amazed at how breathing deeply could help so much with relieving stress! I'd come home from yoga and slip into bed for a deep, relaxing sleep. The yoga made a difference in loosening my tight muscles and in becoming more aware of the unconscious tension in my body. This stress relief also translated into being a more patient mother to two children. I was hooked!
Shortly after that, I took my 350-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Oakville, and started teaching at a couple different studios in Mississauga. While my yoga practice did help with reducing my stress, calming my mind and increasing my flexibility, I continued to have recurring pain in my S-I joint and IT band. Stretching and rolling did nothing to help. It would at times be so bad it would go into spasm and I could barely walk. Regular visits to the massage therapist and chiropractor helped relieve it temporarily, but it always came back.
I was desperate for a solution and came across a seminar at the Toronto Yoga Conference by renowned yoga therapist Susi Hately of Functional Synergy. It was there I discovered some very interesting things about movement patterns: if you learn to move purely, without compensations, then any tension or pain you have begins to subside and eventually go away. I continued my studies with Susi and took her Kinesiology of Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga Intensive in Toronto. After applying this knowledge, I became aware of and eliminated my compensatory patterns and the S-I joint and IT band pain disappeared! This led me on the path of therapeutic yoga because I knew this could help many people.
At this point, I had gained lots of awareness of my own body and its movement patterns and became curious about the dull pain in my left shoulder and the fairly regular neck tension and headaches I was having. I also felt a general stiffness in my low back, particularly upon waking in the morning. I mentioned this to the Yoga Therapist I was seeing for a private session, and she was in the middle of some new training, called Clinical Somatic Education. She showed me some of the things she was learning. It made a noticeable difference in my shoulders and back. With practice, these positive changes kept coming. I decided to take this training through the Somatic Systems Institute in Northampton, Massachusetts. Since that training, I've noticed in my own body: greater range of motion in neck and torso, reduced pain/tension in neck and shoulders, a longer and freer stride while walking, less forward rounding of shoulders, and less stiffness in my lower back. It also impacted my cycling: my hands don't get numb anymore on the handlebars, my left knee doesn't bother me as it used to after a long ride, and I have greater power and more ease while cycling. I feel like a different person! And the good news is that when issues arise, I have the tools to resolve them myself! I am excited about sharing this knowledge with you, so you have the power to resolve issues in your own body.
Somatics is a great complement to yoga, because you enjoy your yoga practice more when you have more freedom of movement. As a bonus, you can enjoy more freedom in ALL areas of your lives such as walking and running. This includes the sports and activities you do and not only are they more enjoyable, they are more efficient as well.
Certified Yoga Teacher and Somatics Educator
1309 Ambleside Drive, Mississauga, ON
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