Well, it all started when I developed a very strong case of Meniere's disease ( an inner ear disease that is much like vertigo but worse). After months and months of seeing the specialist and trying some of the exercises that he provided me to try to get my balance back I was finding nothing was helping....
Yoga has been a part of my life for over 17 years, and my practice has helped me grow stronger, more flexible and fearless both on the mat and off the mat. Yoga inspires me to live each moment more mindfully.
I dabbled in yoga in high school and for several years after trying to interpret the poses from various books. Then in 1999 I began taking yoga classes on a dare, with friends I thought as inflexible as myself. I have since learned that flexibility isn't everything and the body has a language of its own with a potential for great openness and freedom.
I started practicing yoga years ago, after making a change from tai chi, and received training and certification in Iyengar yoga. I taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for many years.
For the past the past number of years I have been studying with Diane Long, a lifetime devotee to the teaching and yoga of Vanda Scaravelli. Diane was Vanda’s student for over 23 years, until Vanda’s death at the age of 91. Scaravelli’s influential book, “Awakening the Spine,” provided a précis for a new way of working through gravity and breath, and within the natural abilities and function of the body and spine. But the book only hints at the practice that comes from the work.
As very human yogis, we usually pursue goals in asana with a martial determination and with fevered obsession. If those goals/asana are not met or achieved in short order they are often abandoned – our practice dies, and we move on to the next fitness fad, or we continue to strain, push, contort, yank, wrench, and do violence in order to reach the elusive, and ill-defined destination.
Deep down, we admit that strain, contortion, and exhaustion are things we impose on our bodies; they are not what our bodies would choose for themselves. We are dictators.
To bring stress and to structurally defy is not really yoga; it is merely defiance and the undermining of the body’s authority. We ultimately enslave the flesh in the quest for its emancipation.
A Scaravelli-inspired approach to yoga helps us resist the urge to force and intimidate the body into textbook ‘yogic’ asana. We need the mind and ego to get out of the way, to help instead of to bully – and we must observe. What happens when we release expectations and discard old and unhealthy habits?
Vanda Scaravelli’s and Diane Long’s way is to strive less to get what is really needed from a yoga practice. The approach to working asks us to do only less, to do fewer things. It is altogether difficult work, because of its simplicity: it is a deep challenge to our creativity and our imagination.
Please come join my students and me in an exploration of a yoga inspired by Vanda Scaravelli and by Diane Long — come have a listen to what your body is saying.
Tracy Stephensen (CYA-E-RYT200) is an Iyengar trained instructor (JNS Yoga Studio) and has been teaching yoga since 2009. She is a certified Critical Alignment Therapist and had completed a 30-hour Yin yoga training with Joe Barnett. Tracy teaches Yoga4Backs and Yin yoga at Inner Peace Yoga, Saskatoon. In addition, Tracy is a certified Yoga Thrive instructor trained in Therapeutic Yoga for Cancer Survivors Program and a MELT method hand/foot instructor.
Daniel has been studying and practicing Yoga intentionally since 2005. Daniel’s primary Yoga influences have been in the Kripalu, Iyengar, and Jivamukti lineages.
Lisa loves teaching Yoga from an inclusive and myofascial understanding as a way to tap into the body's healing properties to facilitate physical and mental well-being. Lisa's own experience with illness and injuries provided her with inspiration to teach a yoga practice for injury reduction, movement with ease, aging well, and pain-free living. Along with Lisa’s 20-plus years of practical experience teaching, Lisa’s extensive training and qualifications support inner body awareness, and recovery from pain using connective tissue-based teaching. Lisa's certifications include: 500-hour YA RYT, LEVEL 3 CAT, Energy Medicine Yoga, Yin Yoga and MELT METHOD Level 5
I started my yoga journey during a difficult time. I was physically and emotionally depleted from a lifestyle of desk work, stress, inactivity, smoking and bad eating habits. I felt like Joe Cross from the movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead."
I moved to Saskatoon 6 years ago to attend university, and the city has since become home. Now, I am a structural engineer with an exceptional fiance, an independent dog, and a seemingly bright future. I attribute much of my success in life to yoga: improving myself, accepting what comes my way, and doing it all with a grateful heart.
I first discovered yoga in the early 1990’s when my roommate and I found a class being offered at a local community centre. I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of complexity and simplicity of yoga. I continued a self-led practice off and on for many years before I moved back to Saskatoon and once again engaged in a regular practice with others. For me, yoga has always been a private journey of self-discovery. Having spent most of my childhood and teen years participating in various sports I always thought yoga was more about relaxing and less about being fit, strong or athletic. What I soon realized is that yoga quietly creeps into your body and mind to create an unimaginable level of strength and flexibility.
Linda Wilson started her journey with yoga close to twenty years ago. One hour of bliss a week to destress from all responsibilities. It became a passion over time which led to completing a 200+ hour Yoga Teacher Training with Inner Peace Yoga (Saskatoon) in summer of 2021 followed by Yoga4Backs training that fall.
Hi, Im Courtney, I have been practicing yoga for over 12 years, starting as a way to exercise after my son was born and growing into a way of living in a more harmonic, aligned and connected life. Through many mental and physical health struggles, yoga has been my lifeline to remain connected to myself, and the sacred space of my mat has held many triumphs, tears, awakenings and deep introspection.