Welcoming Change

Change can be scary, but can also refreshing and motivating. It’s up to every single one of us to decide how we wish to perceive it.

It’s all about our ability to live with acceptance and grace, and to understand that there are some things we cannot control—and that this is okay.

Seasonal Changes

We’re sure you’ve noticed the darker, shorter days and what seem to be very long nights, lately. While this change in weather and season often feel a little constricting or depressing, it’s important to remember that it’s nature’s way of sloughing off the old, so we can welcome the new in spring!

While Mother Nature is doing her best to transition into a new season, we can all look to her for her great example, and decide what changes we need or want to make in our own lives to create more happiness and health for ourselves and those around us.

We’re at the end of one year, and the cusp of another. This is a fantastic time of year to focus on what changes you would like to make in your own life, and make a plan on how to welcome those changes with love and grace in our hearts.

While personal change is obviously amidst and inevitable for all, we’re incorporating our own changes over here at Parallel Yoga:

Scheduling Changes

We’re changing our yoga class schedule to accommodate requests and create more opportunity. Here are some changes we’re making:

  • Mondays Stretch moved to 12:00
  • All evening classes start at 4:45
  • The new, full online schedule will be posted on our website on December 3rd

Staff Changes

Garth Van Gaalen

Garth will be teaching at 6:30am and 12pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, as well as taking kinesiology appointments. Want to know more? Check out his bio online HERE.

Jessica Hart

Welcome, Jess! Jessica will be offering a preschool yoga class starting in January (we don’t have it up online yet). Cool, right?!

The Entrance at PY

Changes in Retail

We also welcome you to check out The Entrance for Christmas gift ideas! We’ve loaded up on everyone’s faves, and there are TONS of gift ideas for everyone. If you’re looking for something useful and unique, we can help you out.

Happy holidays, yogis!

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

BMR Counselling & Consulting at Parallel Yoga

Sports psychology is a proficiency that uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations.

Because we work with so many athletes at Parallel Yoga, we’ve found a match made in heaven with BMR Counselling and Consulting, who now provides therapeutic counselling, sports psychology, and mental performance coaching.

Friends, meet Trevin!

Trevin has been working with athletes since 2010 and has a realistic approach to athlete and performance counselling. He is a Certified Sports Psychology Coach and is a strong believer that, in any sport, 90% of the sport is mental, and when you cannot perform mentally, it will reflect in the physical aspect of the game.

Growing up, whether it be a job or a sport, Trevin understood what it was like to try and perform under pressure and how not being able to perform at peak levels can take a negative toll on your body mentally.

At PY, BMR will develop a plan enhancing the specific skills needed to improve and maintain individual performance.

Trevin advocates for nutrition and diet plans to help the athlete in the physical aspect of the game. He’s a firm believer in positive reinforcement if the work is being put into effect. He also teaches the importance of behaviours of being at and away from the rink, field, court, or stage and strongly emphasizes education and nutrition as a motivation to succeed.

Trevin, who is a Certified Sports Psychology Coach (CSPC), focuses on thought patterns, coping styles, communication skills, relaxation exercises, and visual techniques to maintain a focus on success and to enhance performance related to:

  • Coping with pressures of competition
  • Psychological recovery of injuries
  • Goal setting
  • Mental performance
  • Positive mental imagery
  • Managing emotions
  • Maintaining concentration
  • Anxiety

Sports Psychology (Performance) Therapy helps athletes, performers and others reach goals and cope with the anxiety that can impede performance in different areas. If you can relate or know someone who does, chat with us about booking an appointment at Parallel Yoga.

How exciting is this? For more information on what Parallel Yoga and BMR Counselling & Consulting are offering, pop by the studio, email us, or give us a call.

Namaste.

 

Ways to Stay Healthy During Autumn

Autumn can be stressful, and as grown-ups (sigh), it can be way too easy to forget about self-care. Between back-to-school, diminishing daylight hours, and kids’ sports activities, we can get run down pretty easily.

Here are some ways to gain energy, help focus, and relieve stress in autumn:

Learn to Say No

Saying no to requests that don’t serve our state of either mental or physical health is one of the toughest lessons to learn. We all so desperately want to be helpful and accommodating (which is great!), but always saying yes often results in frustration and burnout–which leads to irritability and resentment.

Instead of feeling like you have to say yes to everyone, think about the commitment you’re considering making, and whether or not it will serve your mental or physical health in the long-term. It’s okay to say no…saying no means that you know your own limits, and that can be empowering.

Get Outside

This is so important. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing outside, just it matters that you get there. Walk, run, hike, or stand in one spot and don’t move. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the fresh air, the ground under your feet, and the nature around you.

Hanging out in the wind and trees and bugs and dirt is cathartic. We’re animals–we were meant to spend copious amounts of time outdoors, surrounded by nature.

Supplement with Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and our bodies need to absorb sunlight for it to be synthesized properly so that we can use it. Foods can be fortified with vitamin D, but it’s not the same as getting it from the sun.

During the fall months, try to get as much as possible by being outside. If the sun is scarce, then turn to supplements. This hormone is often dubbed the “feel good hormone”, and we need it to balance a variety of brain chemicals that help us regulate mood.

Without adequate levels of vitamin D, we can get cranky and depressed–make sure you get enough!

Keep Up Your Yoga Practice

This may seem like a plug (which it totally is), but it’s also valid advice. Yoga helps us stretch muscles, slow down, remember to maintain mindful attitudes, and so much more. It’s an hour of time that we deserve–one that is desperately needed by most to feel replenished and maintain our cool.

See our upcoming yoga schedule HERE.

Meditate Regularly

Similar to our yoga advice, meditation can greatly assist in keeping you focused and stress-free during the autumn months. Taking just 5 minutes out of your day (everyday), can help manage anxiety and depression.

New to meditation? Try this 5-minute meditation below:

Keep a Solid Bedtime Routine and Schedule

The fall is kind of tough on our internal clocks–days become shorter and the darkness lasts longer. The time change helps a little bit, but not much. For this reason, keeping a solid bedtime schedule can help your body stay on a routine that will in turn help with wakefulness and rest.

Eat Well

This last one is super important. Eating foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and essential omega fatty acids can help keep us healthy and alert during short autumn days. Don’t get caught in the trap of drinking too much coffee and snacking on processed sugar for a quick pick-me-up: these foods will actually make your body more tired in the long run.

Instead, treat your body as you would a child’s: lots of fruit, veggies, lean proteins, fibre, and water.

By practicing good self-care throughout autumn, we’ll feel better going into the winter, and more prepared for seasonal change in general. Remember to keep coming to yoga! It’s not just a physical practice, but one that helps strengthen your mind, body, and soul.

Namaste.

Living with Intent

We hear a lot about mindfulness and intention within the walls of Parallel Yoga, but what do these words really mean? What do they mean to you? Living mindfully and with intent is a way to steer your daily life in the direction of your goals.

It’s also a way to be certain you’re taking full advantage of each and every day, because most of us glide through our weeks looking forward to the weekend—that is to say we “get through” things in order to appreciate what’s on the other side.

But what if the “getting through” is what we should be focusing on? We may never reach the other side, but we certainly have this moment, right here, right now.

When we choose to live with intent, we choose to slow down and consciously make decisions about our actions, and reflect on how our actions will affect other actions that take place after. We recognize that life is fleeting, and by taking the extra time to capture small moments around us, we become more attune to what we may not notice if we didn’t mindfully decide to do so.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” –Lao Tzu

Here are some ways to help you practice living with intent:

Practice Gratitude

We are all grateful for a variety of our life’s gifts, but we often forget to acknowledge this gratitude. By actively taking time each day to recognize what we have to be grateful for, it reminds us to be gentle, have patience, and appreciate life’s incredible gifts, both big and small.

Say Thank You

As with gratitude, we are all thankful. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to say aloud (to your family or just yourself) what you are thankful for. Even on our worst days, we are all thankful for much. Saying what we’re thankful for aloud on a regular basis helps to remind us that life is not a guarantee and to develop a deeper appreciation for what may seem to be mundane.

Meditate for 5 Minutes Each Day

The 5-minute meditation is practiced by more than just a handful of people—in fact, its popularity as a way to recharge and slow down has been helping people from all over the globe in all aspects of life to gain insight, develop new ideas, and flow through their days more easily and with grace.

Just Listen

Do us a favour: walk outside, stand in Mountain Pose, close your eyes, and just listen. Maintain this for 30 seconds, and you’ll gain a temporary appreciation for what you don’t usually notice. If you do this everyday, that temporary appreciation will become permanent.

Practice Conscious Breathing

You can do this anywhere. In the car, at your desk, in bed before you drift off to sleep, or anywhere else you can think of. Just the action of consciously breathing in deep, slow breaths and then slowly letting them out is extremely relaxing and great for your parasympathetic nervous system.

Try to practice conscious breathing for 8-10 breaths, 2-3 times per day, every day.

Make Stretching Part of Your Daily Routine

Even 5 minutes of stretching each day can help your body to release tension and assist in injury prevention. Do it alone, in a safe and quiet space. Close your eyes.

Practice Yoga

Because yoga envelops so many of the above suggestions, committing to 2-3 yoga classes a week can result in huge rewards in the long-term.

Be Kind to Nature

Remember, living with intent means making choices regarding all of our actions. The next time you go to swat a fly or kill a spider, try and direct the insect outdoors, instead. Everything created by nature has a purpose, and it’s not up to us to decide what is more valuable than another.

Pet a dog. Feed a bird. Love what nature has provided for us.

Give Yourself Time

Don’t rush—instead, give yourself the time you need to experience what you need to within your day, and not have to worry and stress. Leave for an appointment ten minutes early. Don’t wait until you feel sick to eat.

Treat yourself with the respect you deserve, and don’t rush. Slow down. Breathe consciously. Stretch. Practice yoga and meditate. Notice nature and listen to her sounds. Be thankful and grateful and love your life—it’s a gift, remember. Don’t accidentally waste it.

By choosing to live with intent, we can enrich our lives in many ways.

Namaste.

 

Confessions of a Yogi

Fellow yogis, I’ve been feeling fraudulent lately, and so I have a few confessions to make to you (that were actually originally posted on Instagram last week, but I wanted to expand my thoughts behind my intentions for posting):

Yogi Confession #1

The pose in this post’s featured image took me a year to move easily into. It’s f*cking hard.

Yogi Confession #2

This is a yoga pose but not necessarily the yoga I practice. We have to remember that yoga is not about being bendy. Yoga is a mindset that encompasses our every breath, movement, and thought.

Yogi Confession #3

My body hurts—it has hurt for a while now. I gained a significant amount of weight (for me) in a short amount of time, mostly from stress and then supplementing that stress with cookies and iced frappuccinos.

And then I started eating better and training and now my body hurts even more because the competitor in me wouldn’t stop, because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.

Since turning 40, I’ve had a harder time getting back to where I think I “should” be, a harder time keeping up, a harder time moving without pain. I’ve also held myself back from taking pictures like this, not knowing if you can see the broken, too.

Yogi Confession #4

I haven’t practiced yoga in months. I teach it, and hold space for the students I teach. But feeling the brokenness on the outside and subsequently on the inside has made me not want to.

So, now I stop searching for the result. I start to go back to enjoying life. To be okay with where I am, and start practicing again. Bit by bit, breath by breath.

The beast mode supermom is going to have to hang up her cape for a while.

But the reason behind these confessions is this: we all go through hard times. Life can be tough, and it can make you feel broken. Am I actually broken? No. But I don’t feel myself, and that can change your whole perception of worth.

We are all the same. We all want the same things. We want acceptance from others, but more importantly from ourselves. This situation I’m currently facing is teaching me humility and empathy for others that I know are going through the same body image issues; the same self-destructive thought patterns.

And so there’s this: I get you. I understand you. And I know you all get and understand me. We are here to support, not to tear down. I am here to simply be, just like all of you are here to simply be. My imperfections and struggles make me who I am and who I know I want to be.

And so do yours.

So please be patient with me because it teaches me to be patient with myself. I promise I’ll do the same for you.

Namaste.

Spring Cleaning for Body, Mind, and Soul

It’s May (can you believe it?!), which means everyone’s thinking about spring cleaning their homes, lives, and bodies. We’re interested in the body part, which includes your mind and soul, as well.

Cleansing the body is all about elimination. Whether it be elimination of waste, stress, or unhealthy habits, it’s about losing what doesn’t serve you and creating better habits that do. Here’s how to get started:

Spring Cleaning with Fuel

The fuel you choose to put in your body is directly correlated with your health and wellness. We recommend plenty of whole and fresh foods, and tons of water. Specifically, limited fresh fruit, loads of vegetables (a variety!), beans, raw nuts, seeds, and lean, wild, organic meats.

Remember this: you don’t need to starve when cleansing; it’s not about drastically cutting calories or drinking lemon water with cayenne and honey. Just listen to your body, and place emphasis on hydration and nourishment.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

Spring Cleansing with Movement

Moving your body is always an integral part of any cleanse. The secret is to combine the following two forms of movement—gentle and vigorous—to take full advantage of the benefits:

Gentle: Gentle movement is always a good idea. The consistency of it is very cleansing and great for detoxifying the digestive system and bowels. Gentle movements such as yoga can also help to detoxify the liver, along with other vital organs.

Gentle exercises like walking, restorative or stretch yoga, and tai chi are also great for mental health and emotional detoxification.

Vigorous: Sweating is very important when it comes to cleansing, because it’s how our skin eliminates toxins and unwanted waste. Vigorous movements may include cardio workouts, weighted exercises, and sports.

If you want to practice yoga as your vigorous form of movement, try our Strong or Tone and Tame classes.

Spring Cleaning with Sleep Hygiene

When it comes to creating a great sleep schedule, there are two components: quality and quality.

Quality: Although people often focus on the number of hours they slept, the quality of that sleep is even more important. If you’re not going through your sleep cycles properly, you can wake up feeling groggy and tied, even though you had 8 hours.

Some things you can do to create great sleep hygiene for yourself if begin a healthy routine. This routine should include powering down visual devices well before bedtime, some stretching, a 5-minute meditation (more on that later), maybe a bath, and perhaps some lavender essential oil to contribute to the overall environment of calmness.

Quantity: Honestly? You should be sleeping 8 hours of quality a day. Various research may conclude differently, but 8 hours is the norm.

Spring Cleaning with Mental Health

Emotional cleansing is often overlooked in the process of cleaning up your wellness habits and placing better emphasis on ‘whole health’, but it’s vital to cleanse emotionally and spiritually, too.

There are several ways to consciously aid your body in emotional cleansing, including:

Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy has always been and still is a powerful tool when it comes to emotional cleansing and improving mental health. Although it’s unfortunate, there can sometimes be a stigma surrounding the use of a therapist—but that’s ridiculous.

Having an objective person in your life who will listen and encourage you is incredible. And that’s what a therapist does!

Meditation: Incorporating 5 minute meditations into your daily routine can help clear your mind and increase focus throughout the day. In fact, many top world leader swear by the effectiveness of meditation, and what the practice does for their entire body.

Conscious Breathing: Conscious breathing is exactly what it sounds like—breathing with awareness and intent. By doing so, you automatically slow your parasympathetic nervous system, which creates a more zen-like state of being.

Try this: slowly breathe in for a count of five, then hold your breath for three, then slowly exhale for a count of five. Repeat this action of conscious breath ten times.

Click HERE to read an article we collaborated with Alive Magazine on, about conscious breathing.

Creativity: Creativity is something we all posses, and it can be incredibly emotionally rewarding to practice it. This might mean writing, painting, colouring, making something, redecorating a room in your home, or even creating a new game to play with your kids or pets.

Bottom line? Unleashing your creativity can make you happy, so do it! Cheers to spring cleaning your body!

To view our spring class schedule, click HERE. Namaste.

 

Acro Yoga

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Acro Yoga is exactly what it might sound like: acrobatics combined with yoga—it and often involves the participation of two people and one spotter.

Imagine back to when you were young (like, really young), between the ages of 2 and 5. Remember being silly and playful with a parent as they lay flat on their back on the floor and while holding your hands and proceeding to lift you off the ground with their feet on your tummy?

You (the flyer), are elevated high in the air with your legs and arms stretched out as far as you can reach. A vulnerable, yet powerful and free sensation overcomes you.

There is an unbreakable trust you have in your parent (the base), that they will hold you steady with the center of gravity and protect you from falling. Don’t worry though, because your other parent (or a sibling at least—the spotter) is standing by to watch over you and offer guidance.

That is essentially Acro Yoga. In fact, that exact post is a basic one called The Front Bird. Of course, the form between a child and parent would need a little attention due to the uneven balance of body weight and size, but you get the idea, right?

Acro Yoga roots back to the beginning of the century and has come a long way over time through development and training by practitioners:

“The initial fear and doubt Acro Yoga elicits turns into elation and empowerment, as people build the trust and confidence needed to spread their wings. Connect with your partner and let go of your fears with this social form of yoga.” (1)

Benefits of Acro Yoga

Physically: As with regular yoga, Acro Yoga is yoga for every body. Your size doesn’t matter, and you must be willing to both give and receive—like a friendship!

Spiritually: This beautiful form of yoga is very fun and requires trust in your partner. This makes for a meaningful experience, and creates a community of people who want to work together to achieve something new and exciting.

Who Can Do Acro Yoga?

Our Acro Yoga classes are safe and fun for all levels, and will teach you the techniques and skills you need to fly, base and spot confidently and safely.

If you have previous experience with Acro Yoga, then that’s perfect. Come on out and have some fun—you’ll have the opportunity to play and practice while building new skills and techniques, so whether you’re new or have experience, you will be given options to propel you further along your journey.

Visit Parallel Yoga to experience first hand the benefits of Acro Yoga! We have a workshop today from 12-1pm with Stef (it’s not too late to sign up!), and regular classes currently scheduled for every other Saturday at noon. The complete list of classes can be viewed on our website HERE.

Namaste.

References

(1) http://www.yogajournal.com/category/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/acro-yoga/

Spring Equinox, Yoga, and Balance

We welcome March with open arms, and are truly excited for Spring Equinox! Although temperatures are still cool, the earth’s soil is erupting with life and the birds are singing a new song. It’s nature’s time of cleansing, starting fresh, and finding an equal balance within—not just in our physical surroundings, but within our hearts and souls, as well.

It’s common over the winter (and not just for animals) to feel inclined to hibernate. The early darkness and cold air makes it easy to stay indoors and get cozy. This is Mother Nature’s way of letting us know that it’s time to slow down and rest for a while.

During this time, life tends to feel unbalanced in many ways. With limited exposure to sunlight and a typical cutback in physical activity, our bodies and minds can take an emotional and physical hit of sorts.

Naturally, after some time, we begin to feel ready to get back outside and take in deep breaths of warm sunlight. How sweet it is to step outside, stretch your arms towards the sky and let the sun beam down on your face!

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox for the northern hemisphere takes place on March 20th, when the earth’s two hemispheres unite with equal amount of darkness and light (night and day). This creates a true moment of balance and the dawning of spring, which many of us regard as hope for new beginnings and a fresh start.

Embrace this moment to find your own balance alongside the earth’s. What kind of balance are you looking for or think you may need?

spring equinox balance

Physical Balance

Physically speaking, achieving proper balance isn’t just necessary for standing on two feet, but for all things we enjoy doing again as spring sets in. (Riding a bike, hiking, walking, paddling, swimming and so on.) These activities will help improve your overall well-being and can help prevent you from illness or getting hurt.

Finding balance comes from within and radiates to the outside of oneself, and can be easily achieved through practicing yoga and these three simple rules:

  • Breathing comes first as it is the bridge between your mind and body, and must be established before holding a steady pose. Holding your breath causes tension and makes you shaky in your stance.
  • Focus. Practice focused gazing (Drishti) by finding an object within a few feet and steady your focus towards it for balance. Keep breathing.
  • Finally, plant your feet with even weight and press down on the outer edges.

Emotional and Spiritual Balance

To many religions dating back thousands of years, Spring Equinox is regarded as a spiritual gift from the atmosphere. The energies received from the balance of darkness and light truly reflect in our emotional well-being and peace within. The same energies can be further driven through practicing yoga and meditation where your intent is on cultivating a healthy and balanced emotional setting within your soul.

At Parallel Yoga, we’ll be celebrating Spring Equinox on March 20th with open hearts! It also happens to be our very own Kara’s 40th birthday that day—a new decade to be welcomed with hope, joy, thankfulness, and gratitude.

Join us at the studio to balance your mind and body with the beginning of a new season, and please visit our website to learn about our classes and schedules.

Happy Spring Equinox from Parallel Yoga.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga for Heart Health

Channel your energy and consciously shift your focus towards promoting good heart health.

Too many of us are allowing stress, anxiety, poor diets and lack of physical activity affect our lives—all of which are key contributors to heart disease and stroke (currently affecting 1.6 million Canadians).

The good news is that we can make conscious decisions and simple lifestyle changes to avoid such damage. Mindful breathing techniques, intentional movement, and meditation are 3 simple ways that one can help promote good heart health. Yoga actually encompasses all three of these recommendations, as well as encouraging self-love (the most important kind of love). Also? It’s suitable for anyone, at any skill level.

Here’s our summary of the three ways yoga directly contributes to good heart health:

Movement

Yoga is built on the foundation of intentional movement, which is very important for good heart health. The various poses and postures help to stretch, strengthen, and tone your muscles. You establish balance and stability while improving circulation and reducing inflammation.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga combined with other forms of movement are more likely to stick to their exercise routine.

Breath

Yoga includes dedicated time for meditation and breathing techniques. Focusing on slow, deep breaths activates our parasympathetic nervous system and induces a state of relaxation, which helps to release stress or anxiety that has been harboured deep within body. As you enter a state of quiet calmness, your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate settles into a peaceful rhythm.

Hatha is a popular form of yoga we practice which is great for beginners–it’s a more gentle and slow form. Hatha would also be recommended for anyone recovering from a heart condition as part of a rehabilitation and strengthening program. But we don’t just practice hatha here at Parallel Yoga–see HERE for the complete list of classes we offer.

Stillness

Most yoga classes end with a few minutes of meditation, often done through a pose called Savasana, which entails lying flat on your back with your eyes closed. Meditation quiets the nervous system and eases stress and anxiety or depression—all contributors to serious cardiovascular diseases.

Feel calm and at peace by quieting your mind and creating a stress-free environment, letting your body work for you, instead of against. Be one with every single beat of your heart and every single breath you take.

For your mind, heart, body and soul, explore the benefits of yoga. Your risk of heart disease and stroke can to be avoided, and we want to help spread that message. If you want to learn more about how you can improve your heart health, visit the website for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

For our class schedule or to learn more about the benefits of yoga, please feel free to visit our website or call our studio. With all our hearts, we welcome you home.

Namaste. xo