“You Want Me To Put My Left Foot Where??”

 

 

It was long overdue. The yoga shaming had to end. This Yoga Phenomenon was apparently here to stay and it wasn’t going away until it at least took another middle-aged man’s life. It was time to Man-Up. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the request of my 17 year old son: “C’mon Dad, it’ll be fun”. I wasn’t about to let my fragile male ego be squashed by my not-one-inch-of-body-fat child.

It was time that I attempted a first-ever yoga session at the world famous Parallel Yoga. With much hesitation and trepidation, I made my way to the facility hoping for a quiet Monday night of torture (like who would ever subject themselves to such pain on a Monday night?). Despite my high hopes of relative obscurity, the class was jammed — full of seasoned, in shape, young yoga pros. I could almost read the minds of several whom surely thought that I had entered the wrong building, as the liquor store was only one door down (smart move: yoga then wine, I get it).

I am in relatively decent shape, but there was no question that I was way out of my element. I thought that I could fudge my way through this evening and not make a complete spectacle of myself. Out of sync and as graceful as an angry giraffe, I was only hoping that I looked nothing like Chris Farley in his SNL Chippendales routine (a reference lost on, well, not-middle-aged men).

As I sat down on my unpadded 1/2 millimeter (why?) mat, I couldn’t help but wonder why Instructor Kara sat me so close to the front door. It crossed my mind as perhaps she was allowing me all the grace in the world to make an early, quick and uneventful exit. Perhaps she was allowing herself that very same option with a swift kick to my rear.

 

 

 

 

In all seriousness, it was an incredible experience that left me exhausted and feeling great. It was ever so apparent that I was being led through the routines by a real professional. Kara took us through the program with the grace and orchestration of a maestro.

Thank you Kara! Fair warning, I will be back!

 

 

 

 

Darcy is a father of four amazing young humans, who also happens to be an amazing human himself.  Thank you Darcy for allowing us to post this great review!

November: A Month of Reflection

 

November is a month of remembrance: to remember and honour the people that we’ve lost in our community and in our history. Though specific events may always be with us, it is uplifting to see us rise up and be there for each other. Poppies are a symbol of this remembrance, but closer to home we see people choosing to show their strength in different ways: By wearing their Abby Strong shirts or red and black clothing; entire schools have even been participating, either wearing Abby Senior colours or their own; to see the people rallying together in black and blue to remember a prominent member of our community who’s job was to keep us safe.

People learning and growing rather than fearing is a beautiful thing, and we should be proud to be a part of this community. We have proven our strength time and time again, and will continue to do so.

These things may be especially hard to face if you are one where the weather affects your mood this time of year. The darker and colder months might tend to bring you down, but it is important to make your mental health a priority. Here are some ways you can practice self care through Fall and Winter:

1) Keeping Healthy Eating Habits:
The holiday season is filled with turkey dinners and Christmas cookies, but adding some nutrition into our meals is essential.
2) Meditate:
Take even just 5 minutes of your day to calm your mind.  Meditation takes many forms: sitting or lying in stillness, a moving meditation like a walk or yoga, downloading a meditation app on your phone or listening to a guided meditation podcast. Which ever you choose, it can significantly — and positively —  affect your mood to start or finish your day.
3) Bundle up:
Wrap yourself in sweaters, scarves, socks, and blankets; whatever it takes to get you comfortable. Maybe make yourself a warm drink and cozy up to read a book or watch some of your favourite movies.
4) Diffuse your favourite essential oils:
Essential oils have certain healing powers that will make you feel so good! Some good ones for stress are lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass.
5) Move:
Exercise is important all year round, but it is easy to fall out of your routines during the holidays. Not only does yoga help you move in a mindful way, it is also a great way to relieve stress.  Check out our schedule, or book your private consultation with one of our experts.

If seasonal changes affect you at all, remember to take care of yourself ahead of all else. When the days start to get shorter we generally are weary and find ourselves to be more solitary. This is not a bad thing; take it as a time to reflect and recharge. As part of such a beautiful community, remind yourself you are not alone. These seasons are for bringing people together. Be sure to take advantage of them as they come, and remember your strength through it all.

Back to School? Back to Yoga.

Back-to-school time doesn’t need to be stressful, but even a little bit of stress caused by the excitement of a new school year can throw kids (and you!) a off your game.

Here are some ways to consciously slow yourself down when you recognize you’re stressed–and you can teach these coping mechanisms to your littles, too!

Take Five

(Breaths, that is.)

When you notice signs of stress, give yourself permission to close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. The extra oxygen increases blood flow to your brain, and restores a sense of calm and well-being. Doing this simple exercise can greatly assist in relaxation of your body.

Taking 5 deep breaths is an easy way for kids to calm themselves and allow for clearer thinking.

Stretch Your Neck

Sit up straight, let your arms hang at your sides, and slowly lower one ear down to one shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, return to a neutral position, and repeat the exercise on the other side.

After that’s done, slowly bend your neck towards your tummy and simply let go. Carefully return to a neutral position, and repeat all three stretches if necessary.

Create a Personal Mantra

Softly chanting something soothing to yourself can be incredibly stress-relieving. This works great with kids, too. Choosing something like “I am calm” or “Be soft, be slow” can really work wonders.

Close your eyes, then breathe slowly and evenly while either verbalizing or thinking your mantra to yourself. Do this five times.

Meditate

Finding a quiet spot to sit with your eyes closed is key. Focus on your breath, and how your body responds to breathing deeply. Try to take a time out for five minutes, but even doing this for two minutes is helpful.

With meditation, it’s a great idea to create a routine each morning in which to start your day with a sense of calm. Meditating during acute times of stress is great too, but making it an everyday habit can help ward off that stress to begin with.

CLICK HERE to find some guided meditations for kids.

Come to Class

It really is the BEST. Practicing yoga regularly helps to combine everything we just recommended above. For a class schedule, visit our website.

By practicing the above tips, you and your kids can take charge of your back-to-school stress so that everyone experiences a better transition.

Namaste.

 

20 Ideas for Cultivating a Mindful Summer

Ah, summer. Here we go! While it’s usually a fun-filled, busy time of year that we all try to fit as much into as possible, it’s also important to remember to take some time.

(Like, for doing slow, meticulous, quiet things.)

But first, what is mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness

Here are 20 ideas to help you have a mindful summer:

  1. Walk in the rain
  2. Meditate outside
  3. Go for a walk by yourself without your phone
  4. Go for a hike
  5. Sit by a waterfall
  6. Read a book on mindfulness
  7. Practice conscious breathing
  8. Pet an animal in silence for 5 minutes
  9. Go earthing
  10. Paint on canvas
  11. Commit to keeping a journal
  12. Write some poetry
  13. Eat an entire meal in silence
  14. Take a 24-hour technology break
  15. Create a peaceful space in your house
  16. Intentionally watch a sunrise AND sunset
  17. Practice daily gratitude
  18. Initiate a conversation with a homeless person
  19. Volunteer somewhere
  20. Stretch for 5 minutes every day

Wanna be especially mindful? Try going through this list every month! Or sharing it with others. Or adding your own ideas to it.

To be extra awesome, try attending a yoga class three times a week or more! By the end of the summer, you’ll be thanking yourself for both upping your mindful game and getting in shape, both physically and mentally.

And spiritually!

And because we’re big fans of yoga and nature in combination, we’re offering Yoga in the Park on Wednesdays at 8:30pm starting in July. Attending this class each week can help you add yoga to your schedule while practicing with the birds and the bees.

For more information, visit our website or stop by the studio. Happy Summer, friends!

Namaste, lovely yogis.

 

 

Creating Space in the Spring

Guys. It’s officially spring, and for many of us, the opportunity to purge our crowded, winter-dictated lives is exciting.

In the winter, we collect. We hunker down and surround ourselves with comfort, whether that be food, people, habits, or whatever. We often become fragile versions of ourselves and feel the need to look inward and reflect on the year’s events.

But now? Now, it’s spring, and spring is a time for new growth—and not just for newly budded plants or the arrival of animal babies. Spring is a time of blossoming for us, too, to purge what we’ve collected and organize our priorities.

We often shed a little bit of weight, we remove the dust that’s settled on the furniture for many dark months, and we begin to adjust our faces towards the increased sunshine that grants us permission to clean up and refine our lives.

Spring also affords us to opportunity to ask ourselves if we’re present in our ideal mental state. With extra vitamin D coming our way and being earthlings who crave all the elements of our planet, we smile more and ask ourselves if we’re okay. We assess the events of the past months and finetune to create increased happiness and subsequent health.

So let us ask you this: how are you feeling?

How do you want to roll out this beautiful year? Is your mental health an accurate reflection of your physical well-being and your daily habits? Of your intentions?

This is where we come in.

At Parallel Yoga, we strive to inspire connection; always connection. To connect with each other, and ourselves. To create space where everyone who walks through our studio doors in given the opportunity to ask themselves how they feel and then work on their desired outcome.

We want to promote tranquility and peace. Not just with those around us, but within ourselves. We’re here to help you spring clean your whole self, and in turn, the environment in which you choose to surround yourself in.

So again: how are you? Let’s connect.

Namaste.

Intuition and Connection

Your body is intuitive.

We are remarkably designed beings, capable of knowing physically, emotionally, and spiritually what we need and when we need it. Although sometimes difficult to remember or wrap our heads around, we are complete and perfectly molded.

Your body is not separate from your mind, which is not separated from your soul. Intuition flows seamlessly though these moving parts of each one of us, and we need only to pay attention to know the answer to this question: what do I need?

When our eyes feel tired, we close them and gift them rest. When our stomachs growl, we eat, and feel fulfilled. When we are sad, we shed tears, and become cleansed. We know, intuitively, how to care for ourselves, and by extension, others.

Even Albert Einstein, who of course is known as a scientist, has been quoted as saying: “I believe in intuition and inspirations…I sometimes feel that I am right.”

The practice of yoga helps us to connect the seemingly separate parts of ourselves, because it emphasizes connection. We use our breath to connect our muscles and our minds. We chant together to enrich and liven our souls; to connect to one another. We close our eyes and place a hand over our heart to connect everything that is us.

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” –Deepak Chopra

At Parallel Yoga, we like to help inspire connection within ourselves, as well as others and the community. If you’re new to our studio, we hope you leave your mat feeling above anything else, connected.

You and I and everyone within our studio—we are the same, and we are intuitively connected because we are divine.

Namaste.

 

 

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.