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Breathe Yoga Studio

Toronto's Best Rated Yoga Studio

Happy New Year, folks!

 

As 2020 commences, and we have the inevitable resolutions that come along with a new year, I’d like to share some strategies that have been useful for me in sticking with the changes I wish to make in the new year.
The first strategy is a simple and obvious one: choose attainable goals. Small, bite size things you can do that you will actually succeed at. Failed resolutions out number successful ones, but there are simple ways around that.

 

Firstly, it’s helpful to apply resolutions targeted to specific goals, such as towards your health, exercise, study, sleep, or behavior. As well, I like doing things that include numbers, because when you count (such as minutes or repetitions) you can see if you’ve reached your goal.

 

For example, for a resolution towards health or diet, you could make a simple resolution to drink one glass of water first thing in the morning before doing anything else. That small addition has been shown to lead to greater dietary improvements by behavioral economist Dan Ariely.

 

If you have a hard time practicing yoga regularly, make a resolution to do five sun salutations five days per week. If some days you do more, that’s great. But set a minimum bar, not a maximum, and stick to the minimum. Who knows, over time, your minimum might expand naturally.

 

If you don’t practice yoga but do other exercise and have a hard time sticking with it, make a simple plan. For example, with cardiovascular exercise, you don’t need to do a whole lot for it to be effective. Try 25 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, 25 squats, and perhaps 25 seconds of mountain climbers five days per week and you’ll be pretty well situated. Or choose a reasonable amount of just a few exercises that you can do regularly.

 

My particular desire this year is to read more and finish the books I start. I’ve made a resolution to read 25 pages per day. So far so good. I started in December (a little early) and have finished five books since then and am feeling pretty good about myself for that!

 

If you want to start or keep a meditation habit going, you can use the idea in some of the yoga texts that moments of concentration added together equal meditation. Each time you bring your mind to concentrate on one breath, or one mantra, it equals one moment of concentration. So, if you are looking to start or keep up with a meditation practice, you could start by trying to do 25 moments of concentration on either each breath, or on a mantra. It takes several minutes to do so, and if you do it in a relaxed manner, pausing slightly between each moment of concentration to remind yourself what you are doing, your mind can stay relatively thought free during that practice. An easy mantra to use is the So’ham mantra, inhaling the sound “so” and exhaling the sound “ham”. This is a contraction of “sah” and “aham,” which means, in Sanskrit, “I am That.”

 

By repeating any of your resolutions on a regular basis, your activity gets wired into your brain through neuroplasticity, and that becomes a new pattern of behavior for you. If you can keep any of your resolutions up for at least five to six weeks, they start to become automatic as they become a part of you, and thus are easier to maintain.

 

Another way to look at resolutions is through the Sanskrit word sankalpa, which means a resolve (like a resolution), an intent, a vow or determination to perform a ritual or observance, or a conception or idea formed in the mind or heart. Remembering why we formed the resolutions that we do, on a regular basis, can sometimes be the best support we can find within us for actually sticking to them. It can keep us going when we start to lose steam.

 

If you look at a resolution as a vow, we can also find vows as the foundational practices of Ashtanga Yoga, the five yamas, which were described by Maharishi Patanjali as the maha vratas, “great vows.” These can be observed (to a certain degree) by anyone, anywhere, born at any time, who is desirous of spiritual liberation… or if not desirous of that, then perhaps of just trying to be a good person. Here is a great commentary on the great vows. 

January 8th, 2020

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Why Do Yoga Teacher Training
From the outside, my life seemed picture-perfect. I had a promising career and made it to the company of my dreams, a beautiful place to live and a large social circle.
But here’s the thing. If you’ve lived long enough, you find out that things aren’t always what they seem.
My superpower was the ability to hide how I felt: stressed, exhausted, and constantly depressed and anxious.
As the years went on, my body and mind started to give me warning signals that I wouldn’t be able to keep this up. I constantly ignored and suppressed the signs until the soft beeps turned into loud sirens.
Committing to yoga teacher training was one of the first times I made a decision just for myself and not to please anyone else. It was the start of what would be one of the greatest journeys of my life.
I want to be very clear: focusing on the practice of yoga is not easy.
It has put me face-to-face with my past trauma, unhealthy belief systems, and destructive patterns. I have broken down and sobbed on a mat more times than I can remember.
Although this process has been painful and at times, extremely difficult, yoga has also shown me what’s possible in my life.
I have made such beautiful friendships and cultivated a sense of community. I got the tools to put myself first. I learned to fully love. I discovered how to heal.
Now, I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher with a dedication to making yoga accessible for all bodies and abilities. What I’ve gained in myself, I hope to give back to others.
Instead of feeling constantly empty, there is hope.
I’m crafting the life of my dreams, and yoga helped me get here.

 

Breathe will be hosting a Yoga Teacher Training Information Session on December 15th. Click here to attend and meet Program Director Margot Stokreef.

December 10th, 2019

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AnnMarie Wolf, Breathe YTT Alumni doing a yoga pose

AnnMarie Wolf on Transitioning
from Dabbling Yoga Student to Certified Yoga Teacher. 

 

After retiring and moving to Toronto, AnnMarie Wolf went from what she calls a “once a week yoga habit” to immersing herself fully into her yoga practice, and becoming a certified yoga teacher.

In the midst of entering a new phase in life, which at the time she felt was “not an exciting one”, AnnMarie decided to “do something for herself.” She chose yoga.

 

What brought you to Breathe?

“Toronto is home to many yoga studios and I thought, ‘I am going to find one that really clicks with me’. And then I found Breathe. I really loved the atmosphere – the warmth, the peace.”

“I loved the teachers, the practice, and decided I wanted to pursue yoga even more.”

 

Why become a yoga teacher?

“I became passionate about bringing yoga to my age group, because they need it.”

As a retired high school physical education teacher, AnnMarie knew she can teach. She did, however, have reservations about being physically able to complete her training.


Why Breathe YTT?

“Svitlana was the only studio owner that found the time to meet with me personally. And she gave me complete faith in my abilities. Until then I questioned whether I would be a candidate a studio would accept for their program. I was thrilled Breathe embraced me, my age group and my vision.”

 

Since completing the YTT Program

AnnMarie embraced what she initially perceived as her limitations. The program has given her “the ability to understand herself and her body better.”

“Physically I was amazed at the changes that can happen to the body at this age. And the changes that continue to happen. I continue to grow and change and find deeper ranges of motion.”

Yoga, YTT, Yoga Teacher Training Toronto, Breathe YTT, Retirement

“When you study yoga, your own practice will grow. You will develop a new sense of empathy for yourself and for others.”

 

AnnMarie’s advice to anyone considering becoming a certified Yoga Teacher

“Just do it. What they said on the first day of the program is true – it will change your life, whether you become a teacher or not.”

 

To learn more about the Breathe Yoga Teacher Training, click here.

Written by: Magda Mroz
Photos by: Waverly Wyld

 

June 7th, 2018

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