Moments of Stillness

‘…and breathe’. The words I need to hear when my shoulders are rigid and tense below my ears. I can’t remember a time outside of yoga where someone has specifically told me to exhale. With the gush of carbon dioxide that flow out of my lungs, I felt the last reserve of toxins coming out. I close my eyes and follow the rhythm of a voice that invited me to extend a leg and ‘whenever you’re ready, find yourself in downward dog’.

This is why I love yoga, the coolness of the mat against the skin of my fingertips and the strength in my body I didn’t know was there come out during my practice. The feeling of letting go of the thoughts I carry with me through the day is liberating on so many levels. The rooms in the nest, the judgement-free moments during class, the quiet hum of the electric lights above have, over the years, become my safe haven.

This is also what drove me to yoga. I remember the sleepless anxious nights during my first year at UBC – the nights where I stay up late studying and finally collapse to the refuge of my bed only to find my eyes wide-open from the tension in my skull and the racing thoughts tomorrow may bring. Something was desperately wrong and I needed to get out. Through yoga, I adopted a habit of mindfulness – one where I have learned to convince myself to be present, to be grounded, to know faithfully and true that the earth is beneath my feet and the sky is above my head. Simple things.

‘…and breathe’. My muscles awake from their slumber and respond instantly to synaptic connections from my brain. Yoga is shown to be an effective stress-reliever making it an important practice for busy people everywhere. The feeling of my mind getting stronger and my body following suit is empowering. Yoga helps remind me that I am in control – even when my circumstances fail me, I have the power within me to change my present realities. I can choose not to dwell on the moments of pain but to look towards what possibilities lie in the future.

Now when I find myself overwhelmed by the copious amounts of work I am obligated to do, or struggle to organize my life I simply close my eyes, take a moment for myself,  ‘…and breathe’.

I am glad to be sharing a little taste of my yoga journey through the first post of the year. Looking forward to more yoga stories to come!

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Thanks to our monthly sponsor!

Logo-Two-Colour   The Good Stuff is a Vancouver-based “ready-to-blend” smoothie company, offering the easiest way to eat healthy and organic. They buy their supplies from local growers, including UBC Farm.

They are offering UBC Yoga members 20% off online orders (thegoodstuffco.com), or $1.50 off smoothies in-store at 4515 West 10th. See a yoga club exec to give you a personalized discount card!

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Yoga Exec Spotlight: Nancy

Hey there,

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My name is Nancy and I am the new Co-President for the UBC Yoga Club. I am currently a third year Integrated Sciences student, meshing physiology and immunology together. Besides school, I work, I do research, and I love to go on hikes, volunteer with kids and animals, hang with friends, and do YOGA!

I was introduced to yoga through a friend in my first year where I attend a couple classes, and really wanted to get more involved with the club. I was a volunteer and by the start of second year I was the treasurer for the club – it has been such a rewarding experience.

My Yoga philosophy is that as long as you breathe, you will be okay. What I mean by this is that so many times we are moving at a really fast pace and we forget where we are and how far we come. Sometimes just taking a minute to really notice this makes all the difference since you realize how far you have come, and what you have done – it is something to be grateful for.

I think Yoga has changed my perspective in the sense that I feel more mindful. I have always struggled with balancing health, fitness, school and fun, but Yoga has taught me to really understand when I am struggling and simple ways to restore balance. After a Yoga session, I feel more happy and in tune with my body, which has really help me in every aspect of my life, so I am really thankful to have been apart of this club.

Yoga, as I have mentioned before, makes me really happy and energized. I always feel like I can kick butt after a good session of Yoga, and I get a lot more out of day – plus I get to do it with a smile! My favorite style of Yoga is Cobra pose, because with cobra I get a really nice elongation of my spine, and a great back bend really releases the worked up stress from hours of sitting and doing work.

I decided to become president with Chin-Vern Tan, because I had been a VP for two years for the finance department (role of treasurer) and I really wanted a change, and more responsibility. I felt like I could offer from my past experiences and my knowledge from other volunteer aspects in order to continue growing this club into something wonderful – a fact that I think our current president Dana Chan has done a great job constructing! For next year I envision more events, a better financial organizational system, stronger ties within our UBC community, stronger relationships with our exec team and with our teachers, and more perks for our members! I am the most excited for hosting more amazing events!

Happy Valentine’s Day! – from yoga club execs to you ♥

YOGA CLUB EXECUTIVE EVENTS: AERIAL YOGA SESSION

In the midst of looming midterms and unending assignments, our executive team recognizes the importance of destressing and making time for ourselves- not just as students but as humans. Part of this is the recognition that disturbing our daily routines to try new activities is healthy for our minds and bodies! Though all of us regularly practice yoga, many of us were first-timers at aerial yoga. During the first half hour we struggled even in learning how to get into our hammocks and where to place our feet so that we don’t fall to the ground! We braved the difficulty of balancing on unfamiliar materials at the start but by the end of the session many of us successfully swung upside down and attempted small aerial tricks. Though many of us started off a little hesitant, we were encouraged by our peers and slowly flow-ed our way into happy yoga bliss. With the support of our President and Tantra Fitness, the exec team spent a lovely Sunday afternoon perched atop these silks- laughing and stretching both our ligaments and our comfort zones.

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This experience I think is analogous to the yoga community in Vancouver which can often seem daunting to dig into! There is an infinite amount of studios available – each with their own specializations and classes. This is why I would highly encourage you to try out the classes at we offer through the UBC Yoga Club. There are often those who are new to yoga in each of our classes and our instructors and executives create a judgement free atmosphere so that you can enjoy your practice no matter what skill level you are at.

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We offer a range of different classes- from restorative hatha to ease away your negative post-exam feelings all the way to upbeat vinyasa to help you power through your afternoon meetings. We have certified instructors and all the amenities like mats and blocks that other yoga studios offer. Though thanks to free rental space on campus, our rates are only $2 per class once you become a member making yoga an affordable way for you to get some exercise into your busy schedules!

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It’s never too late to try something new and though venturing outside daily norms may be uncomfortable at first, remember that choosing to take up challenges and face difficult roads – maybe the uncertainties of placing our feet on the wrong side of the hammock or your decision to start-up yoga—can lead you to beautiful destinations.  

Instructor Spotlight: Shayne

Hi everyone! My name is Shayne; I am a 4th year student at UBC, studying kinesiology and psychology. My unwavering passion for the practices of yoga and meditation have lead me to start teaching for the UBC Yoga Club, so I figured that I would write an introductory blog post, offering some insight into my life and yoga journey!

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As an undergraduate student, I am heavily involved in both academic and non-academic pursuits; over the years, I have worked as a NSERC research assistant in the Neural Control of Posture & Movement Lab, helped teach yoga to individuals with neurological impairment at ICORD, served as an Orientation Leader and Squad Leader for the School of Kinesiology, became a member of the 2017 Kin Games Team, served on the Kinesiology Grad Committee, volunteered in the Psychology of Exercise, Health, and Physical Activity laboratory, presented at Conferences such as the Student Leadership Conference and INDspire, participated in UBC REC Intramurals, taught yoga with Fast & Female, worked at PhysioWorksBC, served as a brand ambassador for Karma Athletics, and most recently, became the Founder and President for SisuGirls of UBC! (*sigh*) As you can see, life can get pretty busy! So, with a million things happening at once, how have I managed to find balance between academics, extracurriculars, social life, and health?

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Yoga is my constant source of grounding; it is my key to remaining calm and optimistic through times of chaos. My yoga journey began 6 years ago, when my grandmother bought me my first yoga DVD; I would set up a cheap, worn-out yoga mat in my basement, and practice for hours. There wasn’t enough space for me to stand up in this basement room, so naturally, I gravitated towards a more restorative, floor-based flow. Despite the obvious spatial limitations, I fell in love with the practice and, over time, began to observe subtle and beautiful shifts in my mental state. Life was more vibrant; daily tasks were more mindful; I was more patient, resilient, and filled with a sense of wonder and adoration for my body and its capabilities. 

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Finally, I decided to take my practice outside of the safe, four walls of my basement room. I started attending classes at Buddha Rider in Collingwood, Ontario, wherein I met some incredible yoga teachers who inspired me to build upon my restorative practice, incorporating more challenging poses and breathing techniques. Naturally, I fell heels over head in love (handstand joke). In the 6 years to follow, I have developed a practice that now incorporates all styles of yoga, ranging from Hatha and Yin, to Vinyasa and Kundalini. Yoga has provided the freedom to explore my body with heightened curiosity and awareness. It has become an opportunity to embrace aliveness, cultivate mindfulness, and develop an unwavering fascination for life as we know it.

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In August 2016, I partook in the Semperviva Yoga Teacher Training in Vancouver, BC. My decision to pursue a teacher training course was influenced by a desire to share my knowledge of the human body, enhance my sense of spirituality, and dive deeper into the mechanics, philosophy, and lifestyle of yoga. Thanks to my fantastic teachers, I completed my training with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. I was filled with excitement to begin sharing my passion for yoga with others. However, contrary to popular belief, it takes more than a 200 hour RYT course to become a self-assured yoga teacher; in fact, I clearly recall the excitement and nervousness that lead up to my teaching debut. Not only was I shaking from excitement and anticipation, but also from insecurity. A wave of doubt overwhelmed me before the class, as I questioned my ability to teach. “Am I really meant to teach yoga? Am I good enough?”

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5 months later, I can answer my own question: “Yes, in fact I am.” I have learned that there is no mould for becoming a yoga teacher; there is no prescription, no “correct” way of teaching. I have learned that making the transition from student to teacher involves time, dedication, creativity, and patience, as well as a total relinquishment of expectation and perfectionism. I still get nervous before teaching, but I no longer let feelings of inadequacy or insecurity consume me. I teach authentically, filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share my life views and passion for yoga with such receptive and caring students.

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Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career in physical therapy, specifically working with communities in northern, rural British Columbia. I foresee yoga as being a huge part of this goal, not only as a de-stressing tool through graduate school, but also as a complimentary method of treatment and healing for my future patients and clients. I am a strong advocate for the multifaceted benefits of yoga and mindfulness, and am confident that my life will be infused with these practices for all years to come.
If you have any questions about my story or experiences, feel free to contact me through email (shaynecaseyshaw@gmail.com), find me on social media (@mymicroadventures) or chat in person at one of my weekly classes: Mondays & Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30pm. Namaste!

The Three A’s the UBC Yoga Club Guarantees

We all know that achieving three A’s is not the easiest academically, but the UBC Yoga Club has its own three A’s to offer you.  The UBC Yoga Club guarantees:

Accessibility: Our locations are easily accessible as we offer all our classes on campus mainly in the Nest (The Student Union Building) and the Hillel building (the building next to Brock Hall). Obtaining a membership has also become more accessible with our new online platform. On this link,  https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=628006 you can buy a membership with a credit card. You can also pay for classes ahead of time with the MindBody app. We understand not everyone wants to buy the membership with a credit card, that is why we also allow for people to buy memberships with cash before a class. Just come to class ahead of time and we will sign you up. You can also pay for drop-in by cash when you show up to class.

Availability: The UBC Yoga Club provides a plethora of classes which are available throughout the week. Our club guarantees at least 15 classes per a week with 1 class everyday (no classes on holidays), in order to make our classes available with your schedule. There is no commitment either as all the classes are drop-in. We provide all the props and mats, so all you have to do is bring yourself with a few bucks. Everyone knows how hectic the academic year can be, and that is why we try to make sure we have a comfortable environment available with certified yoga instructors to relieve the stress.

Affordability: Being a university student, sometimes it can be hard to go to yoga classes at a studio without breaking the bank. That is where the UBC Yoga Club comes in. We try our best to provide a comfortable and affordable environment to do yoga. Drop-in with a membership is only $2 per a class. Our membership also provides deals with our sponsorships. Head over to the “Work with Us” section and click on sponsorships if you want to find out more about the deals. The UBC Yoga Club’s membership for students before September 23rd, 2016 is $15 with our early bird promotion, and after this date, it will be $20. If you are not a student, then membership will be $30. This membership is until August 2017. We also now provide a one-term membership which is only $10 as not everyone wants to commit for an entire year or may be a student on an exchange. If you are not sure about yoga in general and do not want to commit to a membership, you can always drop in for only $5. When you come to a class, you do not need to worry about having your own mat and props , because we provide it for you since we know it can be expensive buying all the items needed for yoga.

Hope to see everyone soon!14047169_1034100586704520_3057555030976319110_o

10 Facts You Never Knew About Yoga

You learn something new every day. 

  1. Yoga originated over 5,000 years ago in India, and was inspired by Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism
  2. The word yoga means “yoke” or “union”
  3. There are 19 different forms of yoga and 66 OFFICIAL yoga postures (of course there are always variations to them)
  4. Bikram (hot yoga) is practiced in 40 degrees Celsius and 50% humidity
  5. Hasyayoga/Laughter Yoga is practiced in over 60 countries
  6. Yoga can make you live longer
  7. Yoga can improve sexual performance
  8. Yoga can alleviate allergy symptoms
  9. Dawn is the best time to practice yoga because the air contains the most prana which means “life energy”
  10. The world’s largest yoga class took place in Jiwaji University in Gwalior, India on November 19, 2005, lasting 18 minutes and involving 29,973 participants

A little bonus I found…

YOGA RECORDS… say what?!

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  1. Longest Crow Pose on fists
  2. Longest held Boat Pose on a balancing board
  3. Longest held Lotus Pose
  4. Longest time holding Toe Squat

Everything mentioned in this post was found on the internet. Thanks Google!

Getting Certified While Travelling!

Seeing as this is the last week of classes before exams, and summer is fast approaching, I thought it’d be appropriate to spread a little knowledge about yoga travel.
Through my research, I have discovered there are several options to get certified to teach yoga. Not only can you get various levels such as 200 hours, 300 hours, and 500 hours, but you can also get the certification in various locations around the world. I have posted about the offer to get 200 hour certification at UBC, in where you would attend classes on weekends for an extended period of time. Although, if you are similar to me and seek to use yoga as an excuse to travel – abroad might just be for you!

First, you need to decide which type of yoga you’d like to get trained in. There are schools specifying in Vinyasa, Kundalini, Hatha, Flow, etc. and each is different in their execution of teaching.

When searching for the right school, you need to be aware of the cost and whether it includes accommodation, food, excursions, flights, and books. There are some that are less expensive, though do not include a fair amount of costs that you’d require to pay for on top of their tuition.
Also, be well aware of the location you’re travelling to. India is the home of yoga, but is also a higher risk location. In these high risk locations, you may want to consider going with another person, and also arrange transportation beforehand. Furthermore, look into the vaccinations generally required to travel there. It’d be a bummer to travel the distance for a short amount of time only to get sick.

Speaking of which, the length of time is dependent on the level of certification you’re looking for. They range in weeks to months. And if you wish to extend your trip after you get certified to attend mediation retreats, you’ll want to plan that well in advance. Also, make note of the daily schedule. They are almost always very early, to later in the evening. This is also generally six times a week, with Sunday’s being free. Some schools include excursions in the tuition cost which is awesome because it gives you a chance to travel the area with people who are familiar with the location.

When researching the particular school, seeing as there are several and I’ll leave the searching up to you, it is super important to see if it is recognized internationally. Yoga Alliance is the most popular, so if you see that, you’re set.

Of course, credibility of the school and also credibility of the teacher is super important. Some people decide to actually attend the classes of their instructor prior to booking, although travelling all the distance for that is highly unlikely. Instead, wrack the brains of people you know who’ve travelled to do yoga. Most importantly, you can never go wrong with the internet. There are several posts and reviews online that can lead the way to you feeling confident in the school you choose.

That’s just a little food for thought as summer may be free for you and this may just be the idea of a vacation you were looking for.
Hope the tips help!

Welcome our 2015/2016 Exec team!

Last Friday, we elected our new executive team for the 2015/2016 school year! We’ve got a big team and we’re excited for to start another great year of yoga!

Welcoming our new executives:

Dana Chan – President
Adrian Wong – Vice-President
Nancy Manhas – Treasurer
Teresa Fabbriccino – Volunteer Coordinator
Georgia Wilkins – Events Coordinator
Chin-Vern Tan – Events Assistant
Katie Cardinal – Communications Officer
Rachel Maj – Social Media
Shayne Casey-Shaw – Karma Class Coordinator
Ellie Liu – Sponsorship Coordinator
Jeremy Antepyan-Ruckenstein – Secretary
Marika Laird – Webmaster & Equipment Manager
Yun Kang – MHN Officer & Promotions
Elgan Moses, Fabia Zutt, Jacob Silverman & Laura Rozko – General Exec Members