Free Your Feet

Here’s a quick video with Leena on a great way to stretch your toes and bring some more mobility to the joints for your feet.

Each foot and ankle has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments! One quarter of all bones in the human body are in the feet. This means our feet are exquisitely designed for weight-bearing and movement, and they are the foundation for whole body alignment and healthy movement patterns. Unfortunately, due lack of movement and poor footwear choices many folks have lost healthy mobility in their feet and have related pain in the ankles, knees, hips, and back.Continue reading “Free Your Feet”

Going Beyond After Feeling Defeated – An Update from Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell has been regularly practicing at Queen Street Yoga for the past two years and has written some wonderful blog posts for the QSY blog about his yoga journey. In this most recent post, Glen shares more about his personal transformation and how he sees yoga as a major part of his learning and growth. We deeply appreciate hearing from students about what the impact of yoga has been on their lives, and we celebrate Glen’s effort and openness to the insights that have come as a result of engaging with the practices of yoga and meditation. We hope you enjoy reading this. Glen told us ,“It comes straight from my heart”.

Every spring, summer and fall my life is filled with many camping trips to my favorite Provincial Parks located throughout Ontario. One of which is Killarney located at the top end of Georgian Bay. Killarney is truly the jewel of the Ontario Provincial Parks. The turquoise colored lakes and two billion year old rock face spread out far and wide can leave you in awe! I get very excited and can feel my heart getting warm whenever I come back. There are many trails and lakes to explore by hiking, biking or canoe/kayaking. One hike I love to do is called the Crack. It is a bit of a hike and climb getting to the top but the view is amazing! Also there is a 26km canoe/kayaking day trip I have come close by canoe but never completed which includes 3 portages with the longest portage of about 500 meters. This will take you into four different lakes from George Lake into OSA lake and from pictures I had seen is spectacular. I thought that this hike and kayaking trip would no longer be available to me due to my heart issues. I was very disheartened to think that some of the things I love to do had possibly come to an end.

Stepping back to the fall of 2014, that was when I decided to really take control of my life. My doctors had advised me of my condition 8 months earlier, and I started seeing positive results from about six months of yoga practice. I decided to dedicate myself to practicing yoga as much as possible. I would get my mind in a very positive place. I would get rid of the extra weight I was caring. I would eat even healthier by educating myself and keep fine tuning the quality of my food intake. I would exercise at least once a day. I would find more ways to be more active like riding my bike to yoga or picking up my favorite tea. I would taper back my business hours. I would do all I can to reduce and manage stress. I was very motivated to avoid a risky surgery and to keep at a minimum or even reduce the medication prescribed to me.Continue reading “Going Beyond After Feeling Defeated – An Update from Glen Campbell”

Movement, Massage and Healthy Pregnancy

by Melissa Miller, RMT

Movement is vital to life and is a cornerstone to a happy and healthy pregnancy. Movement prevents joint stiffness, improves circulation and increases energy levels. Staying active also releases positive endorphins which helps with discomfort, especially towards the end of the third trimester. A focused exercise and stretching routine will help build an awareness and confidence in your body and its ability to adapt to the physical and emotional changes during this exciting time.  

Aches and pains are normal as your baby grows and can vary from trimester to trimester. Taking even 15 minutes out of your day for some basic movements can make all the difference throughout pregnancy and into your labour experience.  Here is a basic movement sequence that I have offered to plenty of pregnant clients that is safe for all trimesters and can be modified to your fitness level. Prenatal Home SequenceContinue reading “Movement, Massage and Healthy Pregnancy”

Roll Out Relief – Keeping Your Feet Supple during Boot Season

Last Sunday I was delighted to try Yoga Tune-Up for the first time at Queen Street Yoga. Guest teacher Tara Kachroo took us through massage techniques from our feet all the way up to our necks, and I left feeling as wiggly as a noodle. I was happy to find that some foot pain I have been experiencing recently had lessened the next day! I am really looking forward to participating in Tara’s upcoming 6-week course at QSY (see below for more info) and learning more ways to incorporate “rolling” (with grippy Yoga Tune-Up balls) into my yoga/movement/strengthening practice.

Here is a short video created by Yoga Tune-Up founder Jill Miller. There are all sorts of great videos on her channel for using the Tune-Up balls for all different areas of the body. I’ve chosen one that outlines a few exercises for the feet. Especially in this snowy weather, when we are wearing heavier boots, it’s important to make sure our feet get enough movement.

Foot Pain and Plantar Fasciitis Stretch Yoga Tune Up YouTubeContinue reading “Roll Out Relief – Keeping Your Feet Supple during Boot Season”

Yogi Gift Giving Guide

The season of gift-giving is approaching. At Queen Street Yoga we are stocking up on all the yoga props you could ever need for enhancing home practice and self care. We’ve got plenty of items for yogis and non-yogis in your life. Check out our gift-giving guide below.

AND…ANNOUNCING OUR HOLIDAY SALE!

Get 15% off all retail items at QSY between Nov 27-Dec 24. We can also special order any Half Moon props for you – our last order will go out Dec 4th, in order to have all items arrive before Christmas. Please check out shophalfmoon.com and email us by Dec 4th with any requests you have.

QSY gift giving guideContinue reading “Yogi Gift Giving Guide”

Introducing the Loop Strap & A Wonderful Variation of Downward Dog

Typically I try to be fairly minimalistic, but when it comes to yoga props I cannot help myself. All the props! The more the merrier! I love trying out new props, and finding out ways that props can support my body in different poses so I can release or rest a bit more. So basically, I’m a lazy yoga prop hoarder.

Halfmoon Yoga, which is an awesome made-in-Canada prop company just came out with a brilliant twist on the yoga strap. They’ve made a sturdy strap that has a loop at one end, and with the buckle on the second end you can configure it to have two loops.

It opens up all kinds of possibilities. If you had some sewing skills, you could probably easily convert a yoga strap to also have a loop in, and save a few bucks. Continue reading “Introducing the Loop Strap & A Wonderful Variation of Downward Dog”

Leena’s Learning Break

This post is from QSY Director, Leena Miller Cressman about her plans to take a 6-week break from teaching. Leena will be back to teaching January 12. In the meantime, all her classes will still be on the schedule, and will be taught by our other excellent teachers. You can check out the live schedule here.

I love teaching. I love guiding folks through these embodiment explorations we call yoga. I love watching a student take a deeper breath, or release tension from their jaw. I love seeing the exhilaration on someone’s face when they kick up to their first handstand. I love the peaceful, resonant sound of a whole group singing the sound of Aum at the end of class.

Getting to teach yoga as a profession, and lead our community at QSY is an enormous privilege.

When you love something deeply, it can be easy to forget that you still need breaks and healthy boundaries. You still need time to refresh and explore things from a new perspective.

I recently had a great conversation with a university professor friend of mine. I shared with her that it felt challenging to juggle the administrative work of running the studio, teaching public classes, workshops and yoga teacher training, and also make space for research and development and learning. Without much time for my own learning, it was feeling difficult to be as refreshed and innovative as I’d like to be when I teach. She pointed out that this is the precise reason for sabbaticals in the academic world. Every three years or so, tenured academics get a period where they are free from their teaching load, they lessen their administrative duties, and they get to pour themselves wholeheartedly into their research and learning. Since I don’t have a PhD I’ll just call what I need a “learning break.”Continue reading “Leena’s Learning Break”

Honing our Internal Senses: NEW Slow Flow Classes & A Free Home Sequence

By Leena Miller Cressman, QSY Director. You can find Leena teaching Slow Flow on Monday nights at 5:30pm. Her classes include exploration of balance and joint proprioception, aspects of the Tensegrity Repair Series, and space for deep breathing and relaxation.

LEARNING NEW WORDS

As a kid, I always loved learning new words. I loved the sounding out the unfamiliar configuration of letters, and discovering a new way to describe or convey the meaning of something. I still love new words, and this is one of the many reasons I love studying and exploring anatomy and physiology, it gives me the chance to learn all sorts of new (and sometimes strange) words and ways of describing the human body. Like gastrocnemius! Listen to it pronounced it here. It is just so much more fun to say than “calves”.

Two words that I think should be on every yogi’s vocabulary list are interoception and proprioception. Interoception and proprioception are two distinct types of perception. Here’s how I’d define them:

  • Interoception: Our perception and sensing of internal sensations, feelings, movements, and responses of the body. If you sense a pang of hunger in your belly, or notice pounding of your heart when you’re nervous that is introception. It is the opposite of exteroception, which is an external sensation on the body, like feeling wind in your hair, or the warmth of your hand in your pocket.
  • Proprioception: Comes from the latin “one’s own”. It’s our sense of where our body is in space. It’s our ability to sense the relative positioning of our joints, joint angles, and muscle length, and to feel our movement and what will bring greater equilibrium. Proprioception is what allows you to feel how deeply bent your knee is in Warrior 2 without looking at your leg, or allows you to navigate a dark, unfamiliar room at night.

Continue reading “Honing our Internal Senses: NEW Slow Flow Classes & A Free Home Sequence”

Hamstring Strength and Flexibility Sequence

By Leena Miller Cressman, QSY director and resident body-nerd.

One of my favorite well-informed yoga/anatomy-nerd bloggers, Jenni Rawlings, recently had a great blog post and video exercise reminding yogis to strengthen their hamstrings. A lot of yoga sequences and postures encourage flexibility and lengthening of the posterior chain of muscles, specifically the hamstrings.


posterior_kinetic_chain_blog44Due to the amount of sitting we do in North America, the posterior chain becomes shortened for many people, and we lose range of motion in the hips and hamstrings in movements such as forward bends. Think of the difference in the geometry of the knee and hip, and the different loads and length of the muscles and connective tissue lining the back of the leg (from the ankle, up the calves, up hamstrings, up to the butt) in a standing position vs. a chair sitting position. In a seated position, the chair (or couch or car seat) acts like a sitting vs standingsort of cast, holding the body in one static position and the
posterior chain can become shortened in that resting position. When it comes to mobility, when you don’t use it you lose it.

But, stretching isn’t the only way to improve range of motion and mobility. Strengthening is a great way to help increase range of motion too. This is commonly misunderstood. Much research has found that contrary to popular belief, strength training does not make you more “tight”, in fact it can help increase range of motion and functional mobility just as much, or possibly more than stretching. Continue reading “Hamstring Strength and Flexibility Sequence”

Yoga to Rest & Rejuvenate

Fall has arrived, on a bright and airy Monday in September. While typically we celebrate the turning of the year on January 1st, September can feel like the true start of the year for anyone who is in school. Our Yoga Teacher Training begins this friday, so we are certainly in the back-to-school spirit!

Preparing for the Teacher Training and our Open House has Leena and I quite busy. We anticipate that the fall’s events and gatherings will keep up their regular pace from now until Christmas, so we are taking extra care to encourage ourselves and students to practice #selfcare this fall and find little pockets of time to slow down, breathe and renew ourselves. Leena put together this restorative sequence as a resource for anyone who might want to try slowing down at home. Continue reading “Yoga to Rest & Rejuvenate”