“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!

5 Meditation Tips for Beginners

If you have an active and long-term yoga practice, then you probably also meditate, or are at least have been curious about it. Although yoga and meditation go hand in hand, people seem to gravitate more easily towards yoga than towards mediation.

Why is this?

If the roadblock mainly consists of not knowing where to start, then we have your back! Here are 5 meditation tips for beginners:

Be Aware of the Benefits

It’s more difficult to begin a meditation practice if you aren’t sure why you’re doing it. Like yoga, meditation focuses largely on breath and inwardness. It encourages those who practice to turn their thoughts inward and focus on the present.

Unlike yoga, meditation encourages stillness and cultivates the ability to be both comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. It can help increase your resilience in dealing with stress and anxiety, and helps people prone to unwanted overthinking, otherwise known as rumination.

Understand the Principles

Although many beginners think that the main goal of mediation is purposeful focus without becoming distracted, it’s learning to notice when your mind drifts that results in successful cognitive therapy:

“You can’t restructure your thoughts if you haven’t first developed the ability to identify your thoughts.”[1]

Start with 3-5 Minutes

Beginners don’t have to begin their mediation practice by doing so for hours. Start small. Try sitting in a comfortable and quiet place in your home, eyes closed, for 3 minutes. A great way to try and control your thoughts is to breathe in and out a mantra.

On your inhale, imagine the word “slow” and on the exhale, imagine the word “down.” For every breath, repeat the mantra. You’ll be surprised how after a few times, that 3 minutes becomes 8! (And so on.)

Anything is Better than Nothing

Remember that 5 minutes is better than 2, and 2 minutes is better than zero. By keeping your meditation practice consistent, even if it means only getting in 2 minutes a day, you’re creating a healthy habit that will evolve into something powerful.

Be realistic, and do what works for you and your lifestyle. Which brings us to…

If All Else Fails, Throw the Rules Out the Window

Rules don’t mean much if they aren’t going to be followed. So don’t follow the same ones as others, if they don’t make sense! For example, if one person’s suggested mantra doesn’t work for you, create one that does! If meditating in the evening isn’t realistic, try doing it in your car on your lunch break.

Meditation is about learning to control your thoughts and having the tools to recognize when your mind is negatively affecting your body and vice versa. It’s about aligning your mind, body, and soul for harmony and inner peace.

So it’s worth a try! If you’re a beginner, ask us for more tips on how to incorporate meditation into your life, today.



[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201303/5-meditation-tips-beginners

6 Things to Consider Before Buying Your First Yoga Mat

When you found yoga, you got excited, right? Most people who come to the studio for their first time are amazed at what yoga really is, and what it can help them accomplish. Mostly reputed to require bendy bones and fascia made of Jell-o, people are delighted to learn that they don’t need to be flexible, and expensive yoga gear is not required. You can simply show up in your old sweatpants and t-shirt, borrow a mat, and follow directions while listening and modifying poses according to the wills of your own body.

Pretty rad, right?

But after a few classes, and once you begin to feel really comfortable with the idea of incorporating this invaluable practice into your life on a regular basis, most people want to invest a little and buy their own yoga mat. While it may seem that all mats are created equal, we are here to let you know that they are not.


Here are 6 things we wish we’d known before we purchased our own mats—so read up, and you’ll ultimately save yourself some coin

Not all mats are created equal.

It’s true—they’re not even close. Before you purchase your mat, there are a handful of things to know about the difference of yoga mat quality. These days, you can pick up a mat almost anywhere, but do you want to grab a $20 mat from your grocery store?


Why? Read on…


Buy brand name (aka: spend some coin).

Yep—we said that. We can personally guarantee that when you pick up a cheap mat from Wal-Mart, you’ll be replacing or modifying it within mere months. Less expensive mats break down faster, and are usually made from chemical-smelling plastics, like PVC.

Brand name mats are better, because aside from using better quality materials, that yoga brand knows yoga. They know what yogis need in a mat, and they care about making sure their product represents their brand. Like any brand-name product, it will cost more, but in the long run, it’s a better investment.

Check out this awesome Manduka mat HERE.

Go for thick, not thin.

If you buy a thin mat, you will feel like you’re practicing on hardwood. Even Child’s Pose will hurt the inside of your knees. Look around the studio next time you’re in: if the class is full, we would estimate about 20% borrow a studio mat to place under their own to make it more comfortable.

Thicker is better.

Try it before you buy it.

Honestly—throw the mat on the floor of the store, and get busy. (Doing yoga.)

Test for thickness, stickiness, and texture. While keeping in mind that as your yoga mat breaks in, it will develop more of a grip, try and determine whether or not it feels right. If you’re spending the dough, you want to make sure you’re happy with it.

yoga mat

Think about the environment.

This tip will sound kind of weird, but when you purchase a mat made from eco-friendly, recyclable materials, it will usually break down faster. Although definitely trendy, cork mats don’t last long at all, and 100% cotton mats are not even close to slip resistant—not what you want to discover while in Downward Dog.

The best course of action is to buy something that will be durable; something that will last a long time. It creates less waste, and will ultimately be better for the planet.

Match your mat to your practice.

When purchasing a mat, you’ll want to consider what type of yoga you typically engage in. Yin? You want a pretty thick mat. Hot? You want a mat with lots of texture to give you more grip while you sweat.

That kind of thing.

At Parallel Yoga, we sell mats that we KNOW are quality—our instructors use them, and we can personally endorse their effectiveness and longevity. If you have questions about them, ask us. We want you to know what we know about props and products that will affect your experience in our studio.

Because ultimately, the outcome of your practice depends on the entire experience, not just how well you were able to relax in Savasana (which also depends on the comfort of your mat).


Get Out of Your Comfort Zone & Get Comfortable with Yoga

We all know that stepping into your first yoga class can be overwhelming, especially if the other class members seem to be twisting themselves into a pretzel with no problem.

I mean a pretzel. Come on.

But it’s important to remember that yoga is called a practice for a reason: you’re not meant to be perfect with it.  Yoga is also by definition a really personal journey, and if you can begin to focus on yourself throughout the class, you’ll gain a lot. You can also learn about being more compassionate, both to yourself and to others, by facing your fears head-on. All of those hardcore yogis and instructors are also totally excited to have someone else come and join them in the practice they love so much. So we definitely think you should just get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.

Here are some ways to help you get over your feelings inadequacy in the flex department, and begin to allow yourself to honour your body, mind, and soul through yoga:

Focus On Yourself

One of the major themes of yoga is self-realization, or focusing on your own journey. Sure, you may not be able to get your heels on the mat in downward dog like your neighbour might, but if you begin to focus on your own progress, you’ll see that you’re making big strides. Remember that you are doing yoga for you, not for anyone else. You’ll also notice throughout class that modifications are encouraged, making it possible for any pose to work for you, no matter what your abilities might be.

Arrive Early

Arriving 15 minutes early gives you a chance to chat with your instructor and let them know you are new to yoga.  This will give them a chance to keep an eye on you during the class, and provide assistance by way of cues and help with body positioning. They might also be able to help you out before class with some terms that you may find helpful to know. Arriving early also gives you a chance to relax as you roll out your mat and get prepped before class begins.

Know Others Are Rooting For You

It’s easy to think that hardcore yogis might be judgmental when someone new to yoga steps into the class, but the reality is anything but. Your fellow students and the instructor are excited for you! They all remember what it was like to be the new kid in class, and are genuinely happy to share how much they love yoga with you. Open-mindedness is a big part of yoga, so this is a great first step.

Find a Class That’s Right For You

We all have different goals in mind when we decide to take up yoga. You may be looking for a more meditative type in order to relax and take some time for yourself. Or, you might be an athlete looking to cross-train with yoga in order to gain strength and flexibility. When you find the class that is right for you, and is the right combination of class type and instructor style, you’ll love it even more, which will help increase your comfort level.

Embrace the Nerves

In many ways, the time that you put in on the mat translates into everyday life. Chances are, you’ll encounter nerves and uncertainty again. But the time that you put in to overcome them by heading to a yoga class can help you gain confidence in your daily life and learn to work with the nerves, not against them.

So go on. Get out of your comfort zone and into Happy Baby. You know you want to, and at Parallel Yoga, we’re here to show you how.