I’m certainly not a person who has regrets, and certainly not because I haven’t made a ton of mistakes or got stuck on the wrong path for too long. But really because I know that all of these experiences, and probably mostly the ones that didn’t feel so great at the time, have helped shape me to be the person I am today. The one thing I do wish I knew about a little earlier is Yoga. I found Yoga (or really it found me) in my mid-30s. I had been teaching fitness already for 7 years by way of BodyFlow, which is a Les Mills pre-choreographed program incorporating Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga. This was amazing, but it also wasn’t Yoga. So, while my body received the strength and conditioning it loved (I am also a former dancer) through yoga-based postures I was only experiencing one simple part (or limb) of Yoga, which was the asana or poses. I had no idea at the time that there was so much more to this practice that would completely change the way I think, take care of myself and present myself to the world.
When Liz from PŪR Yoga Toronto asked me to lead a Yoga class for Teens this Fall, I jumped at the chance. I see this as my opportunity to introduce what I consider a super-power to teenage girls. While the class will be set up for anyone to do, no matter of fitness ability, the lessons of Yoga will go far beyond the physical. Teaching us to create better balance in our life, tools to reduce stress and maybe most importantly, self-confidence and inner strength.
When we look at Yoga as a practice, even while we practice physically on the mat it can also be so much more. The classes I will lead will be structured around the koshas, or layers to our subtle body. If we think of an onion, it is made up of many layers which we can peel back to reach the bulb or inner core of the onion. Each layer is important to the whole and yet the essence of the onion is still all the layers itself. This is how I think of the koshas.
The outer layer is the physical, how we take care of our body. Our exercise regime and the food we use to fuel our body. This is where we start. When this is aligned we move to our energy body. Are we getting enough sleep, how often do we pause to just take a big breath? From here to our emotional body. How are we honouring and moving through our emotions and what practices do we have to get in touch with how we are feeling. Yoga can be very empowering here as can journaling. As we feel balanced emotionally we move to our intellect body and clarity of mind. We are able to think more clearly. To pause and reflect over jumping in to react. As all of these layers work together we come to our final kosha, our bliss body or our true Self. We feel connected to who we are, and through this our connection to others (those we know and don’t) also deepens.
If you are between the ages of 14-18 or know someone who is, I hope you will consider trying us out. We are experiencing a massive period of support and of raising the bar for women of all ages right now. What an incredible way to find some inspiration, empowerment and connection to take us through the first few months of school.
For more information about this class: https://puryogatoronto.com
Photo by Elyssa Zornes on Unsplash
P.S. This was originally posted in July 2018 in anticipation of my teaching a teen yoga class at The Women Who Influence as part of canfitpro 2018. I’ve updated my teaching information to reflect my new class series being added in Sept 2019!