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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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

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.




Research Proves that Yoga Helps Us Live Longer

We’ve all heard that yoga is good for us. Right? And we don’t need to read the research to know that there are specific things about the practice that contribute to a better life. Things like:

  • Pain relief
  • Self-acceptance
  • Nixing negative self-talk
  • Body awareness
  • Learning to be full— grateful, mindful, and thankful

And more!

We even know that yoga is amazing at actively reducing stress. But what you may not know, is that it’s scientifically proven to do so; that there is a huge correlation between those who do yoga, and those who live longer. Here’s why:

Breath = Improved Mental Health

In an American research study conducted in 2009, researchers concluded that conscious “breath work can affect longevity mechanisms.”[i] They also provide clinical evidence that links yoga breathing to the positive treatment of “depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and for victims of mass disasters.”[ii]

Poor mental health is associated with a decreased life expectancy, but the opposite is also true. If you can improve your state of mind by practicing yoga, then you’re making conscious and mindful strides towards a longer, healthier life.

Meditation = Stress Relief + Clarity

Another research study conducted in 2009 found that meditation can ultimately be linked to slower cellular aging. The idea is this: how slow or fast one ages is determined primarily by one’s telomere length. The telomeres in a person who experience consistent stress are significantly shorter than those who perceive themselves to be “stress-free.”[iii]

“We can actively change the length of our telomeres by changing our lifestyle habits.”

Meditation is an effective way to reverse the aging process by helping to assist us in dealing with our stress, and enabling us to think more clearly about what we prioritize.

Exercise = Decreased Body Mass + Medication

Yoga lowers your body mass index (BMI). In 2011, the International Journal of Yoga published a research study that concluded that regular and consistent yoga practice was a predictor of “lower body mass index and reduced medication use in women over 45 years.”[iv]

Since both higher body mass indexes and regular commercial medication use has been linked to a shorter lifespan, this means that yoga helps you to live longer.

So there you have it! Three scientifically-proven ways that yoga helps us increase our longevity.