Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Revitalize Your Life 2 Hour Workshop

For so many the Holiday season can be chaotic! Getting all the shopping done, keeping up with family obligations, events and just trying to juggle it all! By the end of it all you are worn out and exhausted. Make the New Year the YOU year. Take some very important time for yourself this year. If you are clear-headed, rested and relaxed then you will be more present and mindful in your daily life.

Join Cathy Benjamin, a certified Yoga instructor, and Krista Harrison, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Reflexologist for this WOMEN'S ONLY 2 hour workshop. We'll fill your mental toolbox with everything you need to start living a happier, healthier and more mindful life! Meditation, yoga and guidance on healthy foods choices for your mental, emotional and physical health!

Where: Queen Street Yoga (44 Queen St S, Kitchener)
When: Saturday, January 17th, 2015 at 1:30-3:45
Cost: $45 per Person

For more information: Contact Cathy at:
yogaalterego@gmail.com or visit: www.alteregoyoga.com
or www.kristaharrison.com

Register by December 22nd and receive a complimentary reflexology treatment!!


Space is limited. Secure your spot today! Registration ends: January 12th,2015

Open for all levels of Yoga experience. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned Yogi!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I taught Yoga to 400 Kids Last Week...My Experience

As a still fairly new Yoga Instructor I am experiencing a lot of "Firsts". My first workshop, my first corporate event, etc. Well, last week marked a very giant first for me: I taught Yoga to 400 Students in Grade 7 and 8. To say I was nervous would be an understatement! The classes would go over the course of 2 full days, 60 kids per class. To know that at the end of the second day 400 students would have been taught by me was a little intimidating! Kids are lovely, creative and open-minded beings...And very honest! For many students, this would have been their very first experience with Yoga. 

How did it go?

Teaching to those kids was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. Not just the best Yoga experience, but one of the best experiences I've ever had. The energy that radiated every class from these students was contagious. The welcomed me with open arms and a huge eagerness to learn and practice Yoga. Their excitement to learn Yoga made me giddy with happiness. We did Yoga(and they all did AMAZING), we laughed and we got silly. Our peak pose for every class was Crow Pose and seeing these students spreading their wings and take flight filled me with pride. They had courage and faith in themselves and as a teacher, that is all that I could have asked for. 

I was shocked and flattered when I was bombarded by students after every class to sign autographs and to share some tips and advice so they can practice Yoga at home. These children made me feel like a Rock star when they were the true superstars. 

This was an epic "First"! One that will stay with me for the rest of my life. All 400 of those kids earned a special place in my heart. Their willingness to learn and their open-hearts and minds was truly inspiring and by the end of Day 2, they were the ones that were teaching me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is an Intention?

You will be asked in most Yoga classes to "Set an intention" for your practice. What does this mean to you? For some, you may be wondering what the heck an intention is. Well, let me do some explaining:

To me, Yoga is about living a more mindful life. To move with purpose on and off the mat. My "intention" changes from day to day(sometimes by the hour). You never know what life can throw at you, so having an aspiration to guide me has often been a life savor.

An intention is something that is personal to you. We have goals in life, but what drives these goals? Something much deeper. If you wish to write or Paint on a canvas, what drives that thought? To express yourself. To be creative. That main goal to write a book or Paint, comes from a little seedling that is telling you more. This seedling wants you to open up and express yourself. That seedling is there to guide you to reach your goal. That, to me, is what an intention is. An aspiration. Something to guide me to my main goal: To life mindfully and purposefully. 

An intention can be a phrase, a word, a quote...Anything! There is no right or wrong way to set your intention in your practice. Your intention is something that will guide you not only through your Yoga practice but off the mat as well, into your daily life. 

Here are some examples that you are welcome to use anytime!

Gratitude: During all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we can sometimes lose track of what is most important in our lives. Be grateful for YOU. For the things you have in your life. For everything that contributes to your happiness. Be grateful.

Breathe: Again, sometimes we just need to breathe. Whether a posture is challenging us, or life is challenging us. Just breath, Give yourself that time to just be. And give yourself time to metabolize what is going on. 

Forgiveness: Forgive. This can be challenging depending on the scenario but think about the good that it will do you. To let go of whatever is clinging to you. Forgive, let go and move on.

Ahimsa: The first Yama in the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Ahimsa translates to non-harming or non-violence. Compassion to yourself and to others. We can be so hard on ourselves; Harsh words, negative criticism, self-sabotage, etc. We can also be very hard on others as well. Practice Ahimsa. Be kind to yourself and to others around you. There is a quote from Buddha:

“The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”
This quote speaks volumes to me. If we are always putting ourselves down, always negative towards ourselves and others. If we are always limiting our self worth and potential, well then eventually we will start believing that we aren't valuable.  Put those negative thoughts to bed. Start believing in yourself!

Strength: Whatever life throws at us; Be it on the Yoga mat(I'm talking to you headstands!) or in our daily lives, sometimes we need to call upon our strength. Reminding ourselves that we are strong and vibrant can do wonders on our mat and off the mat.

I hope this post helps you! I hope I have explained in clarity what an intentions purpose is. An intention can be called about any time of the day. It is there to guide you! <3


Friday, November 7, 2014

Just Be

How often do you take time to observe the world around you? To actually open your eyes and listen to everything that is happening around you?

When you are outdoors taking a walk or going for a run, do you have your headphones in? Are you oblivious to your surroundings? Did you notice that beautiful goose flapping it's wings in the water, playing in the pond? Can you hear the crunch of the fall leaves beneath your feet? Do you smell that crisp Autumn air that is a mix of morning dew and burning fireplaces? That bug that zipped by your ear, was it an annoying interruption or a friendly reminder of the different lives and species that live all around you.

Some of my best moments, thoughts and self observations have come from these beautiful little details. The squirrel jetting in front of me, racing to get that acorn before any other squirrel. The chirping birds singing their morning songs, sounding as if they don't have a care in the world. I have learned to take out those headphones anytime I decide to go for a walk. My cellphone(if I even have it with me) will never be pulled out during these moments of solitude. During these moments of observing the beautiful world that I live in. Too often, we see on the news the ugliness that the world can hold. It scares us. It makes us angry. But really, we have so much beauty around us that can put everything back into perspective. A simple step out the front door and deep breath in can change the darkest day for me. I am alive. Today is a new, fresh day. A rebirth. Whatever happened yesterday is no longer. Let it go. Don't let something that happened in your past, imprint onto your future. Every day is a new day.

So I challenge you, just for today: Go outside for a few moments. Leave any distractions behind. Take those moments to listen to the world around you. Breath in the fresh air, listen to the birds chirping or the dog barking or anything else going on around you. How do you feel?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When in doubt, Savasana

I like to think of myself as an organized, balanced individual. I love 'To-Do' lists. I love a schedule or daily itinerary. I like to know what is ahead of me before my day begins. But we all know that not everything goes as planned. There will be things that will pop up in a day that you didn't except. Suddenly, you are left juggling commitments, and at times be left completely frazzled. That 60 minute slot I left for myself in the afternoon for my Yoga practice is now filled in with something else demanding my attention. But how can I be fully present and responsible for a task when my head isn't in the game? When all I really need is just a few moments to ground, recharge and just be.  I may not have the 60 minutes anymore for my Yoga practice that day, but I know that I can fit in at least 5 minutes to find a quite space, close my eyes (maybe even put on some soft music) and just listen to my breath. Allow myself to be still. I owe that to myself. Nothing is more important than my well being. And I can't tackle my day if I am feeling run down or overwhelmed. It never fails that after that 5 minutes I am ready to restart my day with a fresh view and clear mind.

Next time you find yourself being bogged down, slip into a quiet corner or room or someplace where you can just give yourself a few moments; Even if this means going into the bathroom and locking the door. Go somewhere where you can close your eyes, listen to your breath, and give yourself a few moments of stillness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beyond the Pose

I hear countless times: "I would love to try Yoga but I'm not flexible enough". And yes, with some of the photos you see floating around on Social Media of beautiful women, bending themselves into some advanced(and beautiful) postures, it's hard to break the cycle of not having to be flexible to do yoga. If you have a body, you can do Yoga. If you can breath then you can do Yoga. Yoga is a journey. Whether you are first starting out strictly for the physical perks of yoga(the very popular "Yoga butt"). You are on a journey to becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. 

Stepping onto the mat, you are surrendering yourself. You are taking the time to breath, move and release. It's a moving meditation. You will feel yourself getting stronger, but the real work is what is going on in the inside of your body. You are moving and breathing, you are releasing endorphins that will make you happier, you are stretching which will release tension in your muscles and joints. The Breathing Techniques will release stress, anxiety and even aid depression. That chaotic day you had at work will most likely become a distant memory after your practice. Or perhaps that argument you had with your friend, spouse or loved one will have you looking at things with a different perspective. Maybe you'll even learn to let go of everything that doesn't serve you positively. You'll learn to let go of that hard work day once it's over. Maybe you'll learn to not react to that driver that cut you off.  Yoga goes far beyond the pose. What you are learning on the mat: Following the breath, listening to the body, observing; That will eventually transcend off the mat into your daily life.

Yoga does not discriminate against age, weight or flexibility. Yoga has an open heart that will welcome anyone with open arms who wants to take their first step to discovering their best selves.

Yoga is the journey of the self,

through the self,
 to the self. – The Bhagavad Gita.