Monday, January 31, 2011

pose of the week: downward facing dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana
How to do it:

1. Come onto all fours into a tabletop position: shoulders over your wrists, knees under your hips.
2. Inhale as you curl your toes under and shift your hips up towards the sky.
3. Exhale, press firmly into your hands, lifting your sitting bones to straighten your legs.
4. Lower your heels to the floor, toes pointing forward. (It’s ok if your heels don’t come all the way down).
5. Relax your head, roll your shoulders away from the ears, firm your thighs and pull your belly in.

Hold for 5-10 breaths then drop your knees and rest in child’s pose.

  •  Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands
  •  Energizes the body
  •  Strengthens arms and legs
  • Calms your mind, relieves stress and mild depression 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

downhill fear

Ski season is upon us! Chilled mornings, the fresh winter air, chairlift fever, freshly paved hills, and the adrenaline rush of speeding down a mountain. For me, those are all great things (when I was younger), but now it’s more like freezing cold, runny nose, fear of falling, icy hills and praying that I get down safely! I used to be a ski fanatic, going every year to Quebec with my parents, skiing down black and double diamond hills with all the excitement in the world. Now as a yoga instructor, my body is really my temple. I need to take care of it; one slip and my career may be over. That joy of going down a hill is replaced with panic, telling myself “please don’t fall”.
Why do I feel this way? Could it be that I’ve lacked practice? My inner child has grown up? Or I’m just a scared? Too many questions, yet the real answer may be to face my fears. Let go, and let the wind take control. I have faith and belief that worrying will get me nowhere.
Practice makes perfect. If you fall, brush it off, and get back up. So…I will continue with grace to ski the hills, steering my way from left to right, facing one fear at a time. Wish me luck! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

pose of the week: triangle

Utthita Trikonasana
How to do it:

1.Stand with your legs comfortably wide apart.
2. Inhale, raise your arms up shoulder height as you turn your right foot out 90° and your left toes in slightly aligning your heels.
3. Exhale, as you shift your hips over to the left, lengthen over your right leg placing your hand on your shin/ankle/foot/floor. Wherever it lands, do not force to go deeper.
4. Extend your left arm up to the sky, keeping it in line with your shoulder and gaze towards your hand. 

5. Do not collapse in your torso. Open the chest and draw your side ribs in. Press firmly into your feet and keep both legs strong and straight. 

Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

  • Strengthens and tones legs
  • Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings and calves; shoulders, chest and spine
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates abdominal organs

Thursday, January 20, 2011

lion, dog, cat, mouse...

Children: innocent, fragile, so full of life. Add in yoga, and you get an abundance of laughter. Yoga offers many benefits, both mentally and physically, and by offering it to young children ages 3 and up will dramatically increase their way of life. It calms the mind, improves flexibility and strength and helps build confidence. 

I love walking into a room before I start a kids yoga class. Not knowing what to expect, the children are curious of what yoga really is. I start explaining what the word yoga means (the joining of mind, body and spirit), the importance of the breath, do some simple warm up stretches, and the rest is in their hands…children have such little attention span that you have to keep them excited and engaged at ALL TIMES or else you’ll lose them. It’s really not about getting the alignment right; it’s about having fun and playing games. I change all the names of the traditional yoga poses to open their imaginations and let their creative side take fold! After all, yoga should be fun, and I am truly a kid at heart. After they have mastered a few poses, they start opening up to me and then you hear: “Jessie, Jessie…look what I can do!” All of a sudden their shyness goes away, and their little bodies go up, down, backwards and forward with no fear at all! I wish adults were more like this: no worry in the world, unafraid and are willing to take a moment in the clouds (as I say for savasana). 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

across the universe

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. We are put on this planet to grow, learn and evolve into this higher state of being. Everyone is unique; how we perceive things may be different from our neighbours, yet how we ACT is the true notion of our character. I, being positive in all aspects of my life, try to bring peace in everything I do, which in turn gives me peace and affirmation that my path is going in the right direction. This to me is Karma: what goes around, comes around. Karma can be either good or bad, however is it a bigger lesson for us to learn. It may not be apparent to you at first, but karma comes when you least expect it. Don't think that if something bad happens to you, you are a bad person. This is how the universe works, which is unexplainable in so many ways. Be grateful for what you have, keep your loved ones close and live your life to the fullest! For every lost, there is a gain. Learn to have patience, kindness and determination and the rest will follow….

Thursday, January 13, 2011

bonjour soleil=hello sun!

Welcome to my first ever blog! I was skeptical at first whether or not I should even have one, but it is only fitting that that I do! I have SO much to say; I am inspired by everything that surrounds me. As a yoga instructor, I strive to be the best person I can be, internally and externally, towards my students, myself and towards the world around me.  Coming from a French background, the word ‘soleil’ means Sun. Staying true to my roots and staying true to my passion, soleil yoga is the creation!

The sun, giving light to this Earth, has lots of meaning in yoga. When taking our practice to the mat, we salute the sun in Surya Namaskar, a guided flow of poses to heat and energize the body, coordinating our breath with movement. As we warm our bodies, we warm our hearts, making yoga a journey to a path of enlightenment.