Reverse prayer in a nifty little alleyway near the studio.
We took this one in an alleyway near the studio on a cold Calgary day in December 2017. There were people coming and going in the rear doors of the businesses and cars parking and honking too.
I practice alone at the studio once a week or so to keep my student energy in the space. I open the blinds to have the natural light streaming in and love the heat from the Mysore class that is still in the room.
My youngest practices with me quite often. She does a few sun salutations then follows along the best she can. Once she is tired she lays down to rest for a few minutes then goes on with her day.
Practicing with a Mysore program is one of the most uplifting experiences I know. The energy of a group of people breathing, a teacher's loving arms to support and encourage you and a safe place for growth and change.
I have been fortunate to have more than 15 trips to study with my teacher Nancy and two extended trips to practice and study at the KPJAYI in Mysore, India. I leave those experiences bubbling with motivation and happiness, usually planning for my next trip.
Most of the time my practice looks like this. No group or crowds, just my mat and a couple of candles. Sometimes it's bright, sometimes it feels like the middle of the night. Most of the time I'm alone with Spirit to guide me and an image of Guruji watching over me.
I have been a home practitioner for over 21 years now.
Memories of our old shala…
A view from our old shala
We bought this Old-Style 4 series Ashtanga poster about ten years ago with the intention of one day having a studio space to hang it up in. The day this went on the wall brought tears to my eyes as I realized the 20 years of planning and dedication had settled and we birthed a space to hold for the practices of Ashtanga Yoga.
We moved our shala a few months after this picture was take but this moment in time still is close to my heart.
Guruji, Nancy and a few pictures from an Advanced adjustment clinic on Maui in 2015 with a lovely bunch.
Upward facing dog
Taken by Vanessa Gilgoff at my home shala on Maui, The House of Yoga and Zen. This posture is eka pada viparita dandasana from third series.
Me and a couple of good friends practicing together. Neil, Teacher and Director from Ashtanga Yoga Exmouth, and Aharona, Director and Teacher of Ashtanga Yoga Santa Cruz.
Aha and I making shapes on Maui
Me and my bestie making shapes at our home shala on Maui. We have the same birthday and practice together as much as possible. I can't wait to see Aharona again soon. You can practice with her at Ashtanga Yoga Santa Cruz, she's awesome.
Christine Hoar workshop 2017 with Ali
Chakorasana, everyone's favourite posture :)
Vanessa, Christine and Sandy
I wish I could tell you in words how much I love these three people. They support me and my vision for AYC unconditionally and for that I am so very grateful.
Christine and Dana
At AYC we only bring in the absolute best workshops and teachers to share their experience with our community. We focus on bringing visiting teachers who share the experience and vision of the practice that we do.
This picture is of Christine Hoar and Dana, two long time friends of mine in the yoga community. Christine shared her passion for yoga and Ayurveda with us through meditation, chanting, asana practice, discussion and a teacher clinic. She is planning to come back in 2018, so make sure you register as soon as it opens - it sold out in 24 hours last year!
As a yoga student and teacher I have the immense privilege of travelling and sharing the practice with wonderful people. When this picture was taken I was just coming back to teaching workshops after being at home raising my kids for a a few years and they welcomed me with open arms. I left this workshop in 2015 buoyant and excited about teaching again - thank you YCL.
Lesley and Janet
Lesley Brown and I after my first workshop at Yoga Cold Lake in 2015. I adore this lady and admire her dedication to the practice and development of the yoga community in Cold Lake, Alberta. Did I mention she runs a Mysore program up there? Ashtangis should travel there to work with her, I highly recommend YCL and Lesley.
Yoga Cold Lake Workshop 2016
This workshop was deep and very well organized. We had students come from all over Northern Alberta to share in practice and community over this weekend. The community in Cold Lake is one of the friendliest I have ever taught in, and many of the students arrived with siblings, mothers and children. The spirit of yoga is alive and well in Cold Lake, I highly recommend practicing up there if you have the opportunity. Did I mention they have a Mysore Program? The teachers are strong leaders, experienced practitioners and dedicated to learning - totally worth the trip!!
Sheep Creek Yoga Collective Solstice 2017
The path to the yurt
This was taken during a class I taught at the Sheep Creek Yoga Collective solstice gathering in September 2017. The building is a fully functioning barn! Classes were held upstairs in a spacious and beautiful room, I can't wait to attend another event out there.
I love pictures of shoes outside of yoga classes. This was taken outside the yurt at the Sheep Creek Yoga Collective Solstice event in the fall of 2017.
Janet and Kristian sans enfants!
In Santa Monica for our week of practice with Sharath we stayed at a lovely hotel that had a pool. So we practiced and laid at the pool, talked and reconnected. It was one of the best weeks ever.
Sharath US Tour 2016 Los Angeles
This was an incredible week for my husband and me. We traveled sans enfants (!) for a blissful week of practice and reconnection. I had the opportunity to practice in the Led Intermediate group and it was a real challenge for me. Did I tell you about the time I got to 60 breaths in Kapotasana? Well I did - and survived - so no complaining about 5 breaths ;) Anyway, this was a lovely experience for me even though I could not hold my arms up after practice.
On this trip I also turned 40 and enjoyed a lovely day with Kristian basking in the afterglow of the Ashtanga Practice by the pool in the California sunshine. Total bliss!
Kristian and Janet with Sharath
This was taken on my 40th birthday and was a very special moment to me. During led intermediate that day, I had many assists from Sharath on postures that are challenging for me. I felt like an intention had been set for my next decade to take my practice deeper, to pay closer attention to details and to pay respect to my teachers - Nancy, Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati.
Our old location!
This was taken at the end of a photo shoot in the inner city that I did in December 2017. It was pretty chilly outside so we took a snap then jumped into shoes and jacket and then took it all off and did it again. I have a lot of respect for people who can get their picture taken and feel settled in the process because this was challenging for me!
Bow Valley Quickies - Forward Fold with arms
This particular class had a challenging time focusing their attention (right before lunch!) so I demonstrated a couple of postures to get their attention. Their innocence and amazement at the movement was pasted on their faces with huge smiles and wide open eyes. After we breathed and moved they went for lunch with their families and I many parents commented to me that the kids were excited but grounded, had no idea their bodies were stiff and interested to give the yoga another try.
Bow Valley Quickies - planks for days
Hard at work in their series of plank variations. Big smiles between the groans of effort! These young athletes work hard and ski fast so they need a strong core to support them.
Bow Valley Quickies - downward facing dog
Long days in ski boots can make for restrictions in the ankles and legs. We work consistently to bring some suppleness to their athletic frames so they can use their muscle and tissue without causing injury.
Melissa and Janet
This is Melissa Perret, Director and Co-Founder of Ashtanga Muse in Edmonton, Alberta. She comes to visit and practice sometimes and we have a lot of fun making shapes and breathing together. In Spring I typically head North to my old Home Town of Edmonton to lead a workshop at her Shala. We have piles of fun and dig deep into yoga practices.
Ashtanga Muse - Padmasana 2018
This room was packed with only a couple of inches between mats and there was mist in the room from sweating and breathing. These yogis know how to put in the hard work.
Ashtanga Muse Resting - 2018
Time for rest and integration is as important as moving and breathing. The simple act of stillness takes practice and concentration to let go and allow the energy of the practice to steep the body, mind and soul in tranquility.
Ashtanga Muse - Sarvangasana - Shoulder stand 2018
Finding a way into the posture that supports strong steady breathing takes skill and these yogis are figuring it all out. Amazing.
Take a look at some of our pictures! We have images from the studio before/during/after renovation, pictures with our Ashtanga family on Maui, images from Sharath's US Tour 2016, and even some pictures from our very own early morning Mysore Program at Ashtanga Yoga Calgary. Take a look and let me know which one is your favourite :)
Support Local & Family-Run Businesses!
AYC is managed by myself and my family. Every pass you purchase, every class you attend and membership you register for supports my family and children directly. Dance classes, ski helmets, medication for my kitties and healthy food for all of us. We keep our space and offerings simple so we can focus on cultivating practice. Thank you for supporting us.