April 18, 2012

Roadblocks, Fears, and Misconceptions About Yoga

I often hear from people that they "can't" do yoga.  A common one is "I'm not flexible", but there are many other misconceptions, fears, and legitimate concerns out there holding people back. The main practice of yoga is breathing (and if you're reading this you must be breathing - see you can do yoga!)  It doesn't help that we are inundated by media representations of the physical postures (most often models).  I just came across a great blog post about our roadblocks.  Finding the right teacher and venue for yoga can be the key you need to unlock the world of yoga. (we're not all cut out for power-yoga group classes!)

April 12, 2012

Ayurveda: Science That I Can Dig

            I am currently studying to be a holistic health practioner and am bound to study many interesting subjects throughout the next few years.  My most recent class, Ayurveda, spoke volumes to me.  Our teacher, Dr.Nitin Shah, clarified on our first day that we would not become experts in this introductory course.  After studying Ayurveda full time for 10 years he still considers himself a beginner.  I know I have just dipped my toe into the sea of Ayurvedic knowledge, and I look forward to the continued journey.            
  Here are some of the basics: Ayurveda is the 5000 year old “science of life” that originated in India.  It is a holistic philosophy that believes mind, body & spirit are all factors in our health, as is living in harmony with nature. This science places an emphasis on understanding and accepting your own nature, also known as your dosha. You are born with a particular dosha, and when your dosha is in balance you are healthy.  Many factors contribute to imbalance throughout your lifetime, such as diet, climate, emotions, experiences, etc. Understanding your individual constitution will help to guide you in maintaining the balance of your dosha, and therefore your health. “One size does not fit all” was one of Nitin’s favorite quotes.  Ayurveda rejects nothing, and promotes diversity. It includes food, herbs, yoga, massage, meditation, and lifestyle in its approach to both preventative healthcare and healing. You can get an idea of your constitution/dosha by trying this quiz. Answer the questions based on how you have been primarily throughout your lifetime, not just your recent attributes.
            Once I figured out my dosha, and those of my family and close friends, I was able to digest the science of Ayurveda better, and also gain a deeper understanding of my relationship with myself, others, and the world.  It is fairly impossible to sum up Ayurveda into a short blog post, but I’m hoping this will pique your interest, and perhaps encourage you to dip your own toe into this sea of knowledge. If I haven't caught your interest yet maybe these last Ayurvedic gems will speak to you: "Let your kitchen cabinet be your medicine cabinet" and "No breath = no life.  Know breath = Know life."

April 2, 2012


I'm teaching free yoga classes for the amazing HTA Program, 519 Community Centre. Fridays 5:30-6:30 p.m, April 13- May 4, 2012.  More info below:

Healthy TransActions is a drop-in program for trans-identified, gender queer and gender questioning youth. You will have the opportunity to explore the fun and fascinating world of active healthy living – sport, social recreation, nutrition and education. This is your chance to get active, enjoy a meal, learn about good food, and share ideas and experiences in a space which is welcoming and tailored to your needs. Join us at The 519 and on our many field trips as we explore indoor and outdoor recreation and nutrition spaces in and around the Greater Toronto Area.
Healthy TransActions welcomes youth of all abilities. Instructors will be on-hand to teach you basic skills and to lead fun non-intimidating games.
Healthy TransActions will provide all sport specific equipment. Come dressed comfortably for fun and ready to participate. Private change room facilities are at all programming locations.
This group is open to anyone age 27 and under who is trans, gender queer or gender questioning and runs every Friday night 5-9.
Healthy TransActions is a drop-in program, so there is no need to sign-up ahead of time.
If you would like more information about Healthy TransActions, have any suggestions for future programming, or would like to sign up:
Barb Besharat
Healthy TransActions Project Coordinator
416-392-6878 x. 4044
Blog Link: http://www.the519.org/blog/2010/11/05/healthy-transactions/