Back Bend Challenge | #IBendSoIDontBreak

For the last set of the #IBendSoIDontBreak challenge we chose to focus on our back bends! This challenge is sponsored by Push and Pole, hosted by PoleAsana!


If you’ve participated in our previous two #IBendSoIDontBreak challenges for the splits and shoulders, we hope you’re excited to join us for the backbend series!

So many of you have requested stretching videos and I’m so excited to announce this new challenge and video series! I recently partnered with Tiffany, the amazing illustrator behind all the Push+Pole artwork. Together, we wanted to bring you a new flexibility challenge series to start off the new year for what ever your flexy goals may be 😊. We named the challenge the #IBendSoIDontBreak Challenge after one of her cute design collection. We will be publishing a few full length stretch sequence videos for you to follow along.

Build your own stretch sequence

The sequence will contain five parts for you to mix and match, and create your own playlist on YouTube depending on what you would like to work on. Since everyone needs to warm up and cool down, but may want to work on different stretches, I thought this will be a great idea for you to personalize your work out. The 5 sequences will be:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Splits *January 2018 Challenge*
  3. Shoulder Stretch *February 2018 Challenge*
  4. Back Bend *NEW*
  5. Cool down stretches

#IBendSoIDontBreak Shoulder Challenge for March 2018

For March, we will be focusing on our back bends! The sequence starts off with some simple but fundamental poses to help strength and warm up our backs before we finish off with wheel pose. Feel free to use props such as yoga blocks, straps and pillows to help you in these poses. Oh, and did you know, we’ll also be giving away🎁 3 x $40 GIFT CARDS 🎁 to keep you motivated!

Here’s what you need to do! Take a photo of your wheel pose today (for reference, this would be pose 14). Follow & tag @poleasana@pushandpole, and #ibendsoidontbreak in your post.

Over the next two weeks, spend at least 10 minutes on your backbends by following the YouTube video below. You will be working on all the poses everyday but you just need to post a photo of the pose of the day to enter the giveaway.

 

Each photo you tag with #ibendsoidontbreak will count as one entry so the more you practice the more chances you have to win! Winners will be announced after the last day of the challenge, March 17, 2018!

Best of luck and we look forward to seeing all your submissions!

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you stay updated with our challenge. 💗💗

PoleAsana: Instagram | Facebook
Push+Pole: Instagram | Facebook

Shoulders Challenge | #IBendSoIDontBreak

For the second set of the #IBendSoIDontBreak challenge we will work on opening our shoulders! This challenge is sponsored by Push and Pole, hosted by PoleAsana!


If you’ve participated in our previous #IBendSoIDontBreak Splits challenge, we hope you’ve had a nice 2 weeks break! If you’ve just stumbled here now, we welcome you to join us in the new challenge where we will be working on our shoulder flexibility!

So many of you have requested stretching videos and I’m so excited to announce this new challenge and video series! I recently partnered with Tiffany, the amazing illustrator behind all the Push+Pole artwork. Together, we wanted to bring you a new flexibility challenge series to start off the new year for what ever your flexy goals may be 😊. We named the challenge the #IBendSoIDontBreak Challenge after one of her cute design collection. We will be publishing a few full length stretch sequence videos for you to follow along.

Build your own stretch sequence

The sequence will contain five parts for you to mix and match, and create your own playlist on YouTube depending on what you would like to work on. Since everyone needs to warm up and cool down, but may want to work on different stretches, I thought this will be a great idea for you to personalize your work out. The 5 sequences will be:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Splits *January 2018 Challenge*
  3. Shoulder Stretch *NEW*
  4. Back Bend
  5. Cool down stretches

#IBendSoIDontBreak Shoulder Challenge for February 2018

For the month of February, we will be working on opening up our shoulders! The shoulders are a rather complex joint and we may have several reasons to focus on them. For one, we may be looking to gain flexibility to improve our pole and yoga moves. Other people may actually be looking for stretches to relieve pain and tension in the shoulders. Whatever your reasons are, we hope you enjoy these stretches. Oh, and did you know, we’ll also be giving away🎁 3 x $40 GIFT CARDS 🎁 to keep you motivated!

Here’s what you need to do! Take a photo of your shoulder progress today – this could be a mermaid pose, king pigeon pose with or without straps (for reference, this would be pose 13 and 14). Follow & tag @poleasana@pushandpole, and #ibendsoidontbreak in your post.

Over the next two weeks, spend at least 10 minutes on your shoulders by following the YouTube video below. You will be working on all the poses everyday but you just need to post a photo of the pose of the day to enter the giveaway.

Each photo you tag with #ibendsoidontbreak will count as one entry so the more you practice the more chances you have to win! Winners will be announced on the last day of the challenge, February 17, 2018!

Best of luck and we look forward to seeing all your submissions!

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you stay updated with our challenge. 💗💗

PoleAsana: Instagram | Facebook
Push+Pole: Instagram | Facebook

Splits Challenge | #IBendSoIDontBreak

Introducing the #IBendSoIDontBreak Splits challenge, sponsored by Push and Pole, hosted by PoleAsana!


Hello everyone,

So many of you have requested stretching videos and I’m so excited to announce this new challenge and video series! I recently partnered with Tiffany, the amazing illustrator behind all the Push+Pole artwork. Together, we wanted to bring you a new flexibility challenge series to start off the new year for what ever your flexy goals may be 😊. We named the challenge the #IBendSoIDontBreak Challenge after one of her cute design collection. We will be publishing a few full length stretch sequence videos for you to follow along.

Build your own stretch sequence

The sequence will contain five parts for you to mix and match, and create your own playlist on YouTube depending on what you would like to work on. Since everyone needs to warm up and cool down, but may want to work on different stretches, I thought this will be a great idea for you to personalize your work out. The 5 sequences will be:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Splits
  3. Shoulder Stretch
  4. Back Bend
  5. Cool down stretches

#IBendSoIDontBreak Splits Challenge for January 2018

For the month of January, we will be working on the splits! While we might not be able to get into a full splits after 2 weeks, we do want to introduce a stretch sequence to help you get there eventually! Plus, we’ll be giving away🎁 3 x $40 GIFT CARDS 🎁 to keep you motivated!

Here’s what you need to do! Take a photo of your splits today! Follow & tag @poleasana, @pushandpole, and #ibendsoidontbreak in your post.

Over the next two weeks, spend at least 10 minutes on your splits by following the YouTube video below. You will be working on all the poses everyday but you just need to post a photo of the pose of the day to enter the giveaway.

Each photo you tag with #ibendsoidontbreak will count as one entry so the more you practice the more chances you have to win! Winners will be announced on the last day of the challenge, January 20, 2018!

Best of luck and we look forward to seeing all your submissions!

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you stay updated with our challenge. 💗💗

PoleAsana: Instagram | Facebook
Push+Pole: Instagram | Facebook

SneakyDeez Wrist Support | Product Review

SneakyDeez, the wrist support for pole dancers. Available in many styles!

Lately I’ve seen a lot of pole dancers wear wrist supports when they are on training on the pole. And of course, myself as a pole dancer on Instagram, I spent a whole 2 seconds of detective work and found out they’re #sneakydeez. Ok. They’re what?!

Sneaky Deez is such a catchy and funky name but I wasn’t entirely sure who/what they are. Their own Instagram page features a lot of user photos and I simply love brands that engage with their fans and repost customer photos! In these photos, everyone is sporting a colourful and fun-coloured wrist bands and I wanted to a pair too!

SneakyDeez come in a lot of fun colours and bold patterns. Their photos are just so vibrant and full of character!

What is SneakyDeez?

SneakyDeez are wrist wraps designed for gymnasts, yogis and pole dancers to help minimize sore wrists while training. They’re great for any activities that may put strain on the wrists such as pole fitness, handstands, push ups, strengthening exercises and arm balances.

Masha Pinner is the brilliant designer behind these wrist supports. They’re designed, produced and handmade in Slovenia, EU. I love supporting small businesses and especially those that are eco-friendly too! All their products are made using Lycra and Polyester Jersey samples from big fashion retailers, reducing the amount of fabrics heading towards landfills. As a result of using sample fabrics, most of her designs are limited edition and literally one-of-a-kind!

They come in three sizes (S, M, L) for different wrist sizes, and also different widths (6cm or 8cm) for varying support. Prices are $22 for regular colours and $25 for limited editions. The patterns and colours changes often as they sell out and restock, click here to check out what’s available now!

I chose the Black Paisley (Limited Edition) SneakyDeez because I wanted something subtle but still beautiful.
I think they suit my personality and style quite well!

My wrists are fine… Why do I need wrist support?

At first I wasn’t sure how SneakyDeez wrist supports would complement my training. My wrists have generally been pretty good to me despite all the abuse I put them through. Yes, I love practising handstands, arm balances and pole moves where my wrists would have every right to hate me for! But I normally take sufficient breaks to give them time to recover.

Prior to receiving my SneakyDeez for this review, I actually used my wrist band from badminton when I practice spins on my static pole. I wasn’t using the wrist band as support (even a brand new XS was too loose on my tiny wrists), so it was primarily to prevent wrist burns from the reverse grab.

Since my wrists never gave me problem, wrist supports were not really on my wish list this Christmas… Yet.

 

Upon receiving my SneakyDeez, I wore them for an hour and did my normal training routine. Oddly enough, I didn’t notice any difference and I felt slightly disappointed. Then the next day I felt SO sore everywhere… what is going on?!?!

Before training with SneakyDeez, I would take a break whenever I begin to feel sore in my wrists, Because my wrists were likely the limiting factor, I don’t usually push the rest of my body to train as hard. However, with the wrist support, my endurance and tolerance for wrist soreness was a lot higher! In fact, I became really sore in other parts of my body instead because I was able to train much longer. I can only say I’m really impressed with them!

For me, I personally have been blessed with healthy wrists but already saw immediate benefits of using wrist supports. I could only imagine what a god sent gift SneakyDeez would be to someone that is currently suffering from sore wrists!

Preparation for chest press, handstand variation. This feels so scary!

What I love about SneakyDeez 💜

  1. The pole community is pretty small so I love supporting small businesses, eco-friendly brands and designers that are passionate about making a difference for fellow pole dancers.
  2. They come in different sizes, and the velcro closure allows you to make sure the wrist supports fit you perfectly.
  3. Loud bright colours? Subtle sophisticated colours? Whatever your style is, there is bound to be something for you!
Slightly jealous of the opportunities to pole outdoors… why is it always so cold where I live?

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t checked out their page yet, please do and make sure to tag #sneakydeez to be featured on their page!
____________________________________________

 

Masha from Sneaky-Deez has kindly sent me a pair of her limited edition wrist supports for this review. The links included in this post are affiliate links and help support this blog 🙂 

Things to do in Rishikesh: Kunjapuri Temple at Sunrise

Sunrise at Kunjapuri Temple

Rise and shine everyone! Ever wanted to experience the magnificent sunrise by the majestic Himalayas? Then don’t forget to make a visit to the Kunjapuri Devi Temple to catch the sunrise!

Kunjapuri Temple before sunrise

Even if you’re not a morning person, you definitely would want to try and get up early for this! It’s such a magical experience that I promise you won’t regret.

Twinkles of city lights in the mountains

Most booked tours and hired drivers will set the itinerary for a 4:00am wake up call and pick up at your destination when the sky is still dark. The Kunjapuri Devi Temple is around 25km from Rishikesh and located off of highway 34, taking the Kunjapuri road to the very end.

80 steps up to Kunjapuri Temple

Be wary though! If you haven’t experienced riding in vehicles in Asia, the ride will be quite a surprise. Succinctly put, expect narrow roads, aggressive driving, lots of honking and passing. The drive up the mountain was beautiful! As you ascend higher up you will see the twinkle of the city when it’s just waking up. The skies are still dark but you can slowly make out the faint outlines of the grandeur mountains in the distance.

 Sunrise!

However the ride back was a lot less enjoyable. As the sun was up and I could see the road clearly, I realized how narrow the road was, how close the wheels were to the edge of the barriers less edges of the mountains and with every car we passed or tried to pass us, we felt like our lives could end up tumbling down the steep mountain. The constant acceleration and braking on a winding narrow path was enough to make several people on board the car a little queasy. If you need, ask the driver to take a stop and he would gladly accommodate!

One of the locals visiting the temple

Anyway, back to the temple. Unfortunately we took the tour as part of the yoga teacher training program at the World Peace Yoga School and they didn’t provide us too much information on the temple. This blog post here provides a wonderful story behind the temple. While I didn’t learn of the story before visiting the temple, I did thoroughly enjoy it.

Standing half lotus pose in front of the mountains

The temple itself offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the himalayas and you can see some snow peaked mountains as well. There is a short but steep 80 step climb up to the top but is worth it at the end!

World Peace Yoga School meditating in the sunrise

Things to bring:

  • It gets very chilly in the morning so bring lots of warm clothing.
  • Bring your camera!
  • A yoga mat if you would like to meditate during the sunrise.
  • Water and snacks if you plan to stay a bit, there is a small shop that sells warm drinks as well.
  • If you can, bring your loved ones!

 

Endless sea of mountains illuminated by the sun

I wanted to conclude with how much I loved the sunrise here. Every moment was so magical and beautiful. The photos I share here don’t compare to what the human eye could really see. I cried thinking how I couldn’t share the moment with friends and family back at home and wished everyone would be able to experience this at least once. If you have a chance, please visit!

World Peace Yoga School Review

Greetings all the way from India! I’m currently in Rishikesh, the holy city of India and the birthplace of yoga! It’s always been my dream to become a yoga teacher and I thought there’s no better place than Rishikesh. I’m currently studying at the World Peace Yoga School for my 200 hr yoga teacher training course and thought it’ll be nice to share my experience with you!


I’ve only been here for a few days but it already feels like home. It’s a rather magical feeling to meet so many people from all over the world, all coming with a different purpose but we instantly connect with each other through our desire to learn more about yoga.

World Peace Yoga School Tour

It’s a little out of my character to speak in my videos but I’m slowly overcoming my shyness! I really wanted to share with you what my home for the next few weeks looks like. What better way than to record a video while giving you a tour? Enjoy!

Of course things are not always rosy and perfect, there are positives and negatives like most things in life. No matter the situation, im learning to maintain a positive outlook in life.

 

The Beautiful

Situated by the magnificent mountains and the Ganga river, the World Peace Yoga School offers the perfect serene environment to study and practice yoga. Most rooms have large windows and balconies facing the garden and mountains. The view is something I’ll miss when I leave here!

The students here are so friendly! I feel everyone came with a positive energy and is willing to share and make friends with each other. Afterall you will see these people everyday for the next few weeks so why not make some good friends?

I absolutely love my roommate. When we signed up we had the option to pay 300USD extra for private accommodations. Like many, I love my privacy but I felt it would be so much better to have someone to share the experience with. We weren’t told who are roommates were before our course began, I met her on the first day and instantly knew we would get along fine!

Every Sunday we are taken on different tours around Rishikesh. This was so important for me because I also wanted to see the city outside of the boundaries of the school. With everything planned and going with my classmates, it feels a lot safer for sure! I’ll be uploading photos of the the tours in different blog posts!

 

The Good

The meals and accommodations are included in the course fees. Meals are provided on most days, except for lunch and dinner on Sundays where we get a day off to enjoy some tours and explore the city. The meals are generally very tasty and healthy vegetarian choices. I especially loved the fresh fruits for breakfast and the different types of Indian food. However, I really wished the food was labelled so I can learn the names of what I’m eating.

The schedule is rather packed! Every morning we wake up at 5:00am, and barely have breaks between classes until dinner at 7:15pm. It is a tough schedule to follow but I think I’m training my discipline and will power. I believe changing my lifestyle even for just a month is the only way to really experience the yoga lifestyle.

The gurus all seem so knowledgeable, each full of personality. I never thought I would be excited for a yoga philosophy class but Dr. Garauv Ji is simply amazing! The class is like story time back in kindergarten. We sit on the floor, bolsters, pillows, and blankets while listening to the meaning of yoga, how to be happy and what it means to be yoga. The other gurus are equally amazing, offering their knowledge and pushing us to our limits.

 

The Bad

Booking a month long course half way around the world is a risky choice. Few people have the luxury to scout out what the ashrams and gurus are like before making a deposit. I relied heavily on the website’s photos to shed light on what to expect, I even creeped photos from previous cohorts at each school to see what the ‘reaI’ and unbiased photos show. So here I am paying it forward and hoping this would help you! Back to the bad, the WPYS was hosted at another hotel before I arrived and I committed thinking that was the hotel we would be staying at. One week prior to flying to Rishikesh, I noticed the website changed the photos and location of the school to the Tapovan Resort. There was no email notice or official announcement. It also didn’t help reading on TripAdvisor that the ratings for the new place was significantly lower. Luckily things weren’t as bad, but a little bit more communication would be appreciated.

 

The room we stayed at was alright. I didn’t have high expectations simply knowing it’s a different country and with a lower standard of living from home. However I did not expect the dirty and stained bed sheets and the state of the washroom (this is the ugly). My roommate and I didn’t pay extra for an air conditioner (we didn’t need one since it’s cold here at night) and found there’s just an empty hole in the window where the AC unit should be. It is surprisingly windy here at night and the hole makes the room even colder! We found out after a few days that they were supposed to cover up the hole…

The Ugly

So I previously mentioned the washroom. It’s the worst thing ever. The state of the washroom was horrendous and it smells really bad! I’ve been to Asian counties before where it’s customary to not have a tub and just let water drain from the floor. My poor roommate was in for a shock since this is a completely new concept. There is hot water as advertised but I was only able to get 3 minutes before the water runs cold. Lastly, we aren’t allowed to throw toilet paper in the toilet. There’s a bucket for the toilet paper next to the toilet and we are responsible for emptying it. The washroom is probably my least favourite part of this trip.

The management team and how they handle situations is not the best. As I mentioned before, they changed the location of the school and didn’t tell us. When I arrived there were no instructions. I was just showed to my room and my roommate had to orient me. She later informed me when she arrived at 7am that morning with several other girls, they waited for an hour before someone helped them out. Everything seemed really disorganized and management doesn’t seem willing to help when you ask for things. Housekeeping staff on the other hand are the extreme opposite and are so nice!

We felt there was quite a bit of false advertising with the school. First thing was we were in for a surprise when we found out it is 5am wake up time vs 6am. Ok, I’m just being a child complaining about that Haha. The next thing is the website states the class size is 15-20 students per cohort. I even asked bia email to confirm. Our ccohort had 40+. We were split into uneven groups. Like myself, many of those in the larger group felt cheated. The advertised small classes was what made this school so much more attractive. Lastly, Guru Vishnu is the founder of the school and the website suggested he would be teaching us. We never saw him and some classmates joked whether he’s even in the country!

Summary

Things started off on a rocky boat but I’m not too bothered by it anymore. It’s only been 4 days but I already feel very happy. Exhausted but still happy! Maybe my opinion will change by the end of the course, but I don’t want recency bias to downplay the bad. The points I wrote are those that I wished I read before signing up and I hope it’ll help those thinking about the World Peace Yoga School! Namaste!

Infinity Yoga & Fitness | Studio Review

Beautiful artwork in progress @ Infinity Yoga + Fitness

In the past week, I had the opportunity to visit Infinity Yoga + Fitness, a new yoga studio opened in Richmond Hill! I learned about the place through Facebook when one of my friend, an instructor at the studio shared that she was teaching there.

Of course, I’m always looking to visit different studios so I looked up the website to see what the schedule is like. I wanted to comment on how beautiful the website is! All the information you need is very easy to find as well.

Clean, chic and sharp reception area

Infinity Yoga + Fitness currently offers around 3-4 classes per day, where two of those classes are after work hours. For those who work a 9-5pm job, there are a few classes that conveniently begin at 6:30pm so you can grab a small dinner before heading to class. While the schedule does not offer too many classes, I believe this is only temporary since they’re still fairly new! I’m sure with time, there will be plenty more classes on the schedule.

The different classes offered are also very interesting since it’s a fusion between yoga and fitness. You’ll easily find your vinyasa, hatha, yin and restorative classes on most days. If you’re looking to sweat and try something other than yoga, they also have high intensity training (HIIT) and ballet barre classes.

Loving the red sofa in the waiting area

Feeling a little lazier and still recovering from a surgery (4 wisdom teeth extractions!), I opted for a restorative class with Jenna. I arrived a little earlier to take pictures for the review and chatted with the owner Joanna. From the second I walked into the studio, Joanna was so friendly and I felt like I was visiting a friend I haven’t seen in ages. I’ve never met her but her whole demeanor felt very genuine and she was very happy to answer some of the questions I had about owning a studio, hiring yoga instructors and so on – questions I’ve always been curious to ask but was scared to.

Another angle of the waiting room – it just looks too beautiful!

The practice room was very spacious with lots of mirrors and possibility to turn up the heat reallllly high (I was told it was previously a bikram yoga studio). The room was dimly lit by flameless candles placed throughout the studio. As I unrolled my mat and sat quietly, I can hear Joanna warmly welcoming all the guests.

Gorgeous wall to floor mirrors on all 3 walls give the illusion of an infinite room

Class begins and we were encouraged to think of one person to dedicate this practice to. The idea was we are usually more willing to push ourselves for someone we love than we would for ourselves. In times of struggle and discomfort, think about this person and we will be able to overcome the challenges.

Spotless change room featuring 6 showers

The last restorative class I took was in Victoria at Found City Yoga, immediately after a bikram class. In that class, I was able to snooze off in the poses since we held them for at least 3-4 minutes each. At Infinity Yoga + Fitness, the class was much more dynamic and so you won’t have the opportunity to take quick naps 🙂

Even the soap dispenser matches the red colour accents!

What I really love about the class was the instructor, Jenna, was very hands-on. I am probably very biased, but I love classes where instructors offer adjustments, even if it meant just tilting my arm a little farther back in Triangle pose, or asking me to opens me knees out a little more in Warrior II. Jenna walked around and attentively made adjustments to all 10-12 of us. She’ll add just the perfect amount of pressure to get you deeper in your stretch, offer variations to further challenge a pose you thought you were comfortable in, and most importantly ensure you have the correct posture.

Open concept change room with lockers (bring your own lock)

If you’re looking for some great yoga classes with friendly instructors and a welcoming new owner, please visit Infinity Yoga + Fitness. Their first class is free, so what’s not to love!

Ajna Yoga | Studio Review

 

I’ve been to many yoga studios before, taken many classes and none was quite like the unique class I took at Ajna Yoga!

What is yoga? Traditionally, yoga has always been a practice for the body, mind and spirit. In the western culture, yoga has often been associated with fitness classes, focusing heavily on the postures and movements rather than connecting with ones mind. If we were to take only the physical aspect of yoga, then wouldn’t it be great if yoga instructors had a background in anatomy so they can better explain how these postures actually benefit the human body?

 

Anatomical spine and brain models on the window ledge

This is my first time taking a therapeutic-based yoga class so I wasn’t sure what to expect! Stepping into Ajna Yoga was a very different experience. At first glance, the studio is what you would expect from any other studio, clean open space. Upon closer inspection, you will notice the shelf of props has a lot more variety, including spikey balls, deflated balls, foam blocks in various shapes and sizes, akin to those used in pilates or physiotherapy. I started to cue in the subtle differences from the anatomical models on the window ledge, namely the spine and the brain model.

Once class began, I felt reminiscent of my years studying anatomy in university courses. Jules, our instructor led us through the Hips, Necks, and Shoulders class. The language she used was similar to those in your typical yoga classes, but she occasionally added scientific names of bones, muscles and body parts. What I really loved about therapeutic-based yoga was when she also reported findings from scientific studies to support the beneficial claims.

We used a total of 10 different props for the class!

The class I took was a relaxing class, utilizing a range of props to help target specific body parts in our stretches. The class was relatively small with 12 other students and Jules paid plenty of attention to each one of us. She remembered all of the students by names, and for newer faces, she came by often to make sure we understood the instructions. Unlike the other fitness-style yoga classes I’ve visited, most of the students in the class were older and had more even mix of men to women. Overall, the class was very gentle and very appropriate for the audience.

After spending an hour through a slow sequence of long stretches and playing around with a few props, I laid in shivasana and thought how great it would be if my parents and in-laws could take a class like this regularly!

The therapeutically-based yoga class would be a great addition to your regular practice as it offers gentle stretches and movements to help increase awareness of your body. The instructor was amazing and so knowledgeable! The explanations and little tid bits of scientific knowledge offered also makes you feel smarter after every class!

After the class was over, I thanked Jules and asked if she could give me a copy of her class schedule and highlight the classes that would be suitable for my parent in-laws (I was visiting them in Victoria, BC over the holiday break). Jules explained a lot of the classes offered at the studio are therapeutic in nature and therefore are perfect for an older demographic.

Unfortunately, while the class schedule offers plenty of classes, the times offered doesn’t quite work well with my mother-in-law as she still works during the day time. Perhaps I can recommend Anja Yoga to her once she retires!

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Thank you to Jules Paynes, co-owner of Ajna Yoga for welcoming me to your studio!

Ashtanga Yoga Victoria | Studio Review

Ashtanga Yoga Victoria

Welcome to Ashtanga Yoga Victoria, a studio which specializes in Ashtanga yoga through a Mysore teaching method!
If you’ve never tried a Mysore class or you’re not sure what it is, here’s a little definition from AYV:

“Mysore” is the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga and is named after the Indian city where Phattabi Jois lived. Mysore is a self led practice, through Ashtanga postures (also called Asanas). This “self-practice” is performed under the guidance of a highly experienced teacher, who helps the student advance through the series by teaching new asanas when it is safe to do so.

Reception and boutique

Since Mysore is a self-led practice, you can practice any time you want and for as long as you want. There are long sessions of Mysore classes on their schedule and you would drop in when it’s convenient for you. Another benefit is the individual attention you get from the instructor. Since everyone is doing their own thing, the instructor will walk around and help you with what you are currently working on. Lastly, Mysore is great for working at your own pace. For example, if you have injuries that require modification, the instructor will show you different asanas to work on.

Women’s change room and mat storage

Unfortunately, it was the last day of my short vacation at Victoria, BC so my schedule was rather tight. I wasn’t able to try the Mysore class but I did join their Hips ‘n’ Hammies class, led by Sachiko Walton.

Ashtanga Yoga Victoria is located in the heart of downtown Victoria at 560 Johnson St. As with downtown locations, parking can be a little hard to find but there are definitely options. The closest parkade is the Bastion Square Parkade, which offers the first hour for free! The studio is located on the second floor of a quaint building with high ceilings and beautiful windows.

Men’s change room

The studio spreads out through a few units on the second floor of the building. The receptionist, boutique and changes rooms are located in unit #203 and the main shala is in the unit just adjacent to it. The washrooms are accessible in the building using a key from the receptionist.

When you enter, you will be greeted warmly by the receptionist behind the desk. There is an assortment of yoga gear for sale, featuring Manduka yoga mats, clothing, towels and bottles of Ayurvedic potions. Do be sure to arrive earlier if this is your first visit as the check-in process requires an online waiver form and payment system. I really liked the idea of going paperless since it’s so eco-friendly and they even email you a copy of the waiver!

The women’s and men’s change rooms are small rooms tucked away in a hallway behind the receptionist, with the women’s being slightly larger. Both rooms offer mat storage space should you want to keep them there, although I’m not sure if there is a rental fee.

Main Shala

Since I wasn’t accustomed to yoga studios being in separate suites, I stumbled into an empty room behind the change rooms and thought that was the studio. It was small, but so beautiful – exposed brick walls, gorgeous windows and so warm! Unfortunately, Sachiko chased after me and told me the shala is in the unit next door. Oops!

The main studio room (shala) was even more beautiful. It had almost floor-to-ceiling windows, making the room invitingly warm and bright on a cold winter day. The shala can comfortably fit 12 yoga mats with plenty of space between you and your neighbours and allow the instructor to walk freely.

Props – bolsters, yoga blocks, straps

After committing to a barre class the day before, the Hips ‘n’ Hammies class was perfect to stretch my tired and cramping muscles. Sachiko led the class through a few Sun Salutations A and B series to warm up our bodies for the asanas. The stretches consisted of a variety of standing forward bends, standing hand to big toe (front and side), dancers pose, triangle pose, lizard pose, seated straddle poses and pigeon poses. These poses were great for opening the hips and hamstrings, as advertised in the class name and description. Throughout my yoga practice, I’ve become pretty familiar with these poses and often use them to train for my flexibility. For this class, I was hoping to learn a few more poses to incorporate into my practice, and receive feedback and adjustments on what I was currently doing.

The secret room I stumbled into!

Ashtanga Yoga Victoria specializes in Ashtanga yoga (evident in the name!) and a Mysore style of teaching. AYV embraces the yogic traditions and practice, rather than making significant modifications to cater to the western mainstream fitness classes. The studio is a great introduction to the history and philosophy of yoga – from calling it a shala instead of ‘studio’, dedicating many web pages and resources to enlighten students on what yoga is, and the deity statue and photos of gurus at the front of the room. With the breathtaking high ceilings and grandeur windows, you’re sure to find inner peace as you settle into your practice with AYV.

Found City Yoga | Studio Review

Found Yoga City is a one of the few yoga studios in Victoria, BC that specializes in bikram yoga and they do it very well! 

Happy new year everyone! It’s been a while since my very first bikram yoga class at Bikram Yoga Yonge (in Toronto) and reading my own blog post made me chuckle a bit at how I almost died back then. Just before 2016 ended, I decided to give bikram yoga another try!
So, what’s the longest session you’ve stayed at a yoga studio? For me, I spent almost 4 hours at Found City Yoga (formerly Bikram Yoga Saanich) last week! Was I super tired? Of course! But I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Huge thank you to Owl, the owner of Found City Yoga for generously offering a one week traveller’s pass to me to immerse fully in the bikram yoga experience. In my conversation with her, she highly recommended I join her for a 90 minute bikram yoga sessions, followed by a yin class to fully balance the hard sweaty workout with a delicious flow of deep stretches. And so I did!
View from entrance of Found City Yoga. Beautiful oak-coloured storage and sitting areas.

Location and Schedule

Let’s start off with location. The studio is situated very close to the University of Victoria, nestled among the plazas that serve the residential area nearby. It is easily accessible by walking, cycling, bus or driving. Bonus: There’s plenty of free parking!

Since it is recommended to practice bikram yoga everyday to reap it’s full benefits, finding a studio close to home, work or school is very important! The class schedule was also designed with the community’s schedule in mind so there are plenty of classes for everyone’s availability.

Cute boutique with yoga gear for sale!

Atmosphere

The studio itself was beautiful, spacious and airy to help prepare your mind physically and mentally for your practice. As the receptionists gives you a quick tour of the place, they will show you their unique selection of yoga clothing and items in their boutique, their bulletin board for news and promos, the change and shower rooms, and the huge hot studio.

Inside the hot studio, there are mirrors along the front of the room and on one side of the room. For the bikram class, the instructor stood on a small platform in the front of the class as she led our practice. One thing I wasn’t quite used to was how brightly lit the room was for an evening yoga class but I think this is the difference with Bikram yoga. For the yin class that followed, the studio was dim and lit by an ocean of flameless candles. It was so beautiful and relaxing!

Spacious women’s change room, but can still get crowded before and after classes. Yes, their classes are that popular!

Great Intro Package

As you sign up for classes, you will find mat and towel rentals are included with your $39 introductory month membership. One of my pet peeves with going to hot yoga is having to carry an armload of gear to the studio which is already a workout on its own! At minimum, I need my yoga mat (I’m currently in love with the B Mat!), 3 towels (one for my mat, one for wiping my face, for showering), change of clothes and water bottle. At Found City Yoga, who ever came up with the idea to provide these things as part of the membership deserves a huge praise! They clearly put their students’ convenience in mind and offer them the best they can.
They have a variety of class passes or monthly passes (starting at $79/month autopay) and different pricing options as well. If you’re a student, they also have great discounts as well! Check their website often and bulletin board for promos 🙂
Washroom stalls, sink and vanity area.

Instructor

In the 90 minute bikram session, Owl welcomed everyone and made special shout outs to new students, including myself! The class was relatively full, bordering the 40 student limit in which the studio caps attendance. Despite the large class, Owl still made efforts to make personal suggestions to each of her students, which she seemed to have remember all by name and level of experience! Given the faster pacing of a bikram yoga class, it was not feasible for her to come around to correct everyone’s posture. Instead, it made sense for her to stand on the platform in the front of the room so she can quickly scan everyone’s postures and comment on adjustments. Even for someone hiding in the back (ahem, me) she was still able to see all of us. My previous reservation about bikram yoga was resolved with Owl’s session. Perhaps I had a better expectation of what the 26 poses are and how long it would really feel. However, I attribute my pleasant experience to her level of enthusiasm, energy, motivation and her ability to connect with individuals that made my practice feel so much more fulfilling.
The shower room is very open-concept, can be intimidating for those who are a little shy.

The 90 minute yin session that followed was led by Meagan, in a candlelit warm yoga room. Before we began, she informed us we would be holding each pose on average for 3-5 minutes, so brace yourself! Sounds like a long time right? Well, after a 90 minute bikram session, I was super tired and was hoping yin translated to variations of corpse pose. Unfortunately, we didn’t just lie there for a 90-minute long nap, but the poses surprisingly felt comfortable. In fact, for pigeon pose, I dosed off while we stretched on each side for 5 minutes. I was only woken up when the instructor came by and gave THE BEST massage in the world. Don’t worry if you don’t like being touched because she will ask at the beginning of class, but it’ll be silly to decline!

Large heated yoga room with antimicrobial non-toxic recycled rubber flooring. The floors feel very hot when you first walk in.

Overall Experience

I love everything about this studio! Even though bikram yoga was not my cup of tea originally, I’m willing to be converted thanks to Found City Yoga. The facilities, services, people (super friendly and efficient receptionist to the committed and experienced instructors) are one of the best I’ve seen in a studio. It might be crazy to think about doing two 90-min yoga classes consecutively, but the yin class after the bikram class is so nourishing and the best form of self-love. I highly recommend trying to do a yin class after a more physically demanding class (doesn’t necessarily need to be bikram) and if you can, visit Found Yoga City on Tuesdays and Thursdays when this is offered!