Our Instructors

Marla

What is your favourite pose?

I don’t think I could possibly pick a favourite pose; they all have their beauty and their challenges. However, one pose for which I have a special affection is one that I cannot do very well at all but continue to progress in over time. It is Hanumanasana: full splits. I find this pose to be joyful and liberating. The story behind the pose tells of the monkey god, Hanuman, taking a “leap of faith” across the ocean from the south of India to the Himalayas in order to find an herb to cure Rama’s brother. Hanuman makes another great leap from India to Sri Lanka to reunite Rama and his beloved Sita. The pose, combined with the mythology behind it, brings a smile to my face. Should I ever actually attain the full expression of this pose, I will certainly feel as though I have leaped to the Himalayas myself!

What is your biggest challenge in yoga?

My biggest challenge in yoga is self-acceptance. In a world that can sometimes seem to define success in a very limited way, yoga helps to broaden that definition and allow space for everyone.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

I would say to definitely do it. Remember that yoga is not the competitive “no pain, no gain” form of exercise that many people subscribe to. It is exercise for the body and the mind and to find the connection between the two. Most of all, I would tell someone that it is just plain FUN! I am constantly amazed at the things our bodies can do - bend, balance, and make seemingly impossible angles - when we just play and don’t impose limitations on ourselves.

What interests do you have outside of yoga?

Outside of yoga, I enjoy reading, teaching, tennis, playing with my cats, and spending time with family and friends.

What has been your most inspiring yoga moment?

There are many moments of inspiration during yoga both while practicing and while teaching. One moment that stands out was teaching yoga to those with various mental health challenges. The students varied in age from 18 to 80. For one hour, once a week, for eight months, we all came together as a community, let labels and limitations fall away, and had fun being ourselves.

What first drew you to yoga and what keeps you coming back?

Honestly, I was first drawn to yoga because it wasn’t a gym. I have always felt self-conscious and out-of-place in a gym. Yoga gave me a place where I felt welcome and had all the equipment I needed: a mat and my body. I keep coming back to yoga because of the way it makes me feel. I feel at home on my mat and in the studio. It is because of yoga that I also feel more at home in my body. And again, it really is just so much fun!

How has yoga helped you off the mat?

Yoga has helped me feel more connected to others by appreciating the humanity and vulnerability in us all. It continues to help me learn to accept myself and to see the beauty of what is.

Jay

What is your favourite yoga pose? Which pose do you find the most challenging?

My favourite yoga pose is Pigeon and King Pigeon. My most challenging Pose is Frog. It is mentally very challenging to push through the discomfort which I know means I need to do it more!

What has been (or continues to be) your biggest challenge in yoga?

My biggest challenge in yoga has to be holding back on days when my body isn’t in the same place as my mind. Respecting the limitations of injury, and the patience needed to allow the body to heal.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

DO IT! Know that yoga is all about progress and celebrating each little triumph along the way. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Know that there are many different styles of yoga and teaching. If your first class didn’t quite do it for you, don’t rule yoga out as a whole. Try a new style, a new teacher, a new temperature until you discover your niche.

What are your other interests outside of yoga?

My other interests outside of yoga include photography, travel, surfing, jewelry- making, savoring healthy food, getting lost in nature, being around those I love and sharing in the simple joys of life.

What is your most inspiring moment in yoga?

My most inspiring moment in yoga was when I was doing my yoga teacher training course in Mexico and teaching my first class. It felt like everything just clicked; a door had opened and I had found something I wanted to share, that I felt inspired by, and that I knew could genuinely help people in more ways than just through the physical movement of yoga.

What first drew you to yoga?

What first drew me to yoga was a friend. I had always been a fast paced exercise person (running, boxing, etc.). At the time, I was very stressed with work and life, and my friend told me I should try a yoga class with her to slow down a little. In all honesty, I really didn’t like my first yoga experience. The class seemed to drag on forever. I didn’t feel like I was getting a “workout” and I spent the whole time thinking about all the things I had to do, and how this “savasana thing”, lying on my back, was a waste of time. When I got home that night, I realized that attitude was my problem, not the class itself. The fact that I couldn’t pause for an hour in my day was a bigger concern than I had realized. From that day I started going to yoga more regularly, trying to convince myself I liked it because I knew it was what I needed in my life. Then one day I found a teacher I loved, and realized how much release, joy and peace yoga brought me and I have never looked back! What keeps me coming back is that sense of peace and accomplishment at the end of a class and the way that yoga has spilled out into all areas of my life making me a calmer, more patient and loving person.

How has yoga helped you off the mat?

Yoga has helped me off the mat in dealing with challenging people and situations. Through yoga I have learned better compassion, patience and the ability to see things from someone else’s perspective. Yoga teaches us about unity, that at the core of our being we are all the same. When you come back to that concept when someone is frustrating you, it is easier to relate and see things from their perspective and, in turn, deal with the situation. Yoga has also taught me the power of the breath, whether it is to calm down in an anxious situation or help slow my mind to sleep at night, our breath is a tool that so many of us underutilize.

Lauren

What is your favourite pose? Which one challenges you the most?

I may have to pick two…I love fun and a good challenge, which leads me to pick headstand as my favourite pose for strength, and half pigeon takes the cake for my favourite opening pose; my hips are forever grateful. Dancer’s pose, with its combination of balance, strength, and flexibility, challenges me the most!

What has been (or continues to be) your biggest challenge in yoga?

I find dropping my expectations much easier said than done.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

One piece of advice to someone considering starting yoga would be to focus mainly on maintaining long deep breaths; the rest will follow.

What other interests do you have outside of yoga?

The interests I have outside of yoga are horseback riding, sitting down with a good book, and running.

What is your most inspiring moment in yoga?

There was a moment in my teacher training where a group of us were practicing a very HIGH energy flow, with one of my fellow teachers teaching. Everyone else was cheering at the top of their lungs on the sidelines. As I was practicing, I experienced strength in poses I never had before. I was feeding off the energy in the room. It was AMAZING!

What first drew you to yoga?

What first drew me to yoga was the desire to increase my flexibility. What keeps me coming back is the overall amazing way my body feels, the supportive and playful community, and the continuous potential for growth.

How has yoga helped you off the mat?

One huge thing I have taken from yoga is the importance of presence. To get the most out of my practice, I need to let go of everything distracting me from being in the moment. I need to allow my body and mind to focus on my practice. This is also true in every aspect of my life. To do the best I can on a task, to get the most enjoyment out of a situation, and to make the most progress, I need to be fully present to exactly where I am in the moment.

Katelyn

What is your favourite yoga pose? Which one challenges you the most?

My favourite yoga pose is triangle! I love the length and lift that I get in my side body and just crave that heart-opening stretch! I find it to be a whole body pose - I find length through my core and across my heart, while simultaneously feeling this delicious stretch through my hamstrings. I find back strengthening and balance postures to be the most challenging for me. It’s not necessarily a lack of skill that makes it challenging; I just find that mentally I have to really focus and prepare myself for the series. My expression of balance postures especially can change from one day to the next and I really need to work on letting that go and just being in the moment, however my body shows up that day!

What has been (or continues to be) your biggest challenge in yoga?

My biggest challenge has always been savasana. I’m terrible at it!! I use the time to plan my night/day/week and can’t wait to get up and get on to the next commitment. I have a very busy, active life and I know I need savasana to help me find some balance - I continue to work on this!

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

DO IT!! We are all beginners at something once, but after that first time - it’s just like riding a bike. That awkward feeling on your mat wondering if you are doing it right, or if you look funny and everyone is looking at you - we’ve all been there, and I can promise you no one cares what you’re doing or how you look, but you!! Yoga is that place in the world where there is no judgment, no criticism, no competitions and certainly no beauty contests. We’re all hot and sweaty and breathing together - it doesn’t get much better than that. Enjoy the process of learning and never forget how that feels.

What other interests do you have outside yoga?

When I am not teaching, training for triathlon, or doing my own practice, you can currently find me in the Neurovascular Research lab at Western University where I am working towards my PhD in Exercise Physiology. I swim, bike and run more days out of the week than I don’t, and I love every busy minute of it

What is your most inspiring moment in yoga?

I don’t think I have one defining moment in yoga but rather a series of moments that make me stop and appreciate my life and my position in that moment. The practice of yoga and the people I have met along the way have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life, and that is something I will always be incredibly grateful for. My current role as a hot yoga teacher at Yoga Shack warms my heart to the very core. London amazes me. We are such a large city, but you would never know it. The amount of love and support I have felt from this community both as a student, and as a teacher has been overwhelming. We have a lot of heart in this town and there’s so much love going around. I’m exactly where I want to be

What first drew you to yoga and what keeps you coming back?

Yoga came into my life through an awkward transition and a personal struggle with running related injuries. Now, yoga is in my blood and I live to be in hot room getting sweaty and stretchy as often as I can. I feel grounded and more myself in that space than anywhere else in life. I make it my priority to get on my mat at least once per week (I wish it was more!). I would be lost without my own personal practice.

How has yoga helped you “off the mat”?

Yoga has helped me to through some dark days and brought sunshine to days when there was none. I appreciate the sense of calm that yoga has given me and the realization that I need to slow down every once and a while to keep going at full throttle the rest of the time!

Pam

What is your favourite yoga pose? Which one challenges you the most?

Half moon is my favourite pose. I feel like I am flying: free, yet grounded (it also requires lots of core!). Mountain Pose is also a good one; it literally teaches us to stand on our own two feet. The pose I find challenging is Crow.

What has been (or continues to be) your biggest challenge in yoga?

My biggest challenge in yoga is self-acceptance.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

Try to have no expectations on your mat…have fun, laugh, smile.

What other interests do you have outside yoga?

I am a Master Trainer with WaterART Fitness Inc. and a Personal Trainer. One of my biggest and most rewarding activity outside of yoga is being a Mom.

What is your most inspiring moment in yoga?

Teaching a Chair Yoga program for a mental health outpatient was inspirational. Here’s why. The question was asked ‘How would you describe the feeling that Yoga gives you? The response: Yoga is Smiling…that tickle inside you that makes you feel good.” That is, indeed, yoga.

What first drew you to yoga and what keeps you coming back?

At first it was the physical practice that brought me to yoga; now, the mindfulness and the meditation quality of being on my mat is why I return to yoga.

How has yoga helped you “off the mat”?

I try to live my life as if I was on my mat, centred in the moment and living the yamas and niyamas. My yoga community is my family and they have given me the strength to believe in myself!

Rhian

What is your favourite yoga pose? What is your most challenging pose?

I can’t think of just one favourite, but I love forward folds like Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasana. Wheel is my biggest challenge - I’m still working on it.

What has been (or continue to be) your biggest challenge in yoga?

My biggest challenge in yoga is fitting a daily practice and daily meditation time into my day.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?

If you are considering yoga, just do it! It will transform your life!

What other interests do you have outside yoga?

Outside of yoga, I love spending time with friends, family, and I enjoy learning new things.

What is your most inspiring moment in yoga?

I was inspired when I was finally doing a handstand in an Acro yoga workshop!

What first drew you to yoga and what keeps you coming back?

I came back to yoga after over 20 years to help heal my body. I keep coming back because it has become one of the most integral parts of my life. It keeps me healthy, grounded and connects me to my true self.

How has yoga helped you “off the mat”?

It has shown me that perseverance makes all things possible.