Weekly Class Theme: Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)



The key to getting into these more advanced postures is mind – body – unity.

“The mind is the king of the senses, but the breath is the king of the mind” — Pradipika

Using the breath, we can calm the mind and not let fear overcome us. Slow exhales are crucial!

Overcoming fear in this posture is great for building confidence, strength and balance. Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) also requires great concentration and body alignment, which are essential in advanced postures.

In Sanskrit, Salamba means supported and Sirsa means head, and asana means pose/posture. This asana is often called the king of all asanas. You can think of it as Tadasana (Mountain Pose), but upside-down.

The Crown Charka (Sahasrara) is activated in this posture through its direct connection to the earth. It is not often that we get this opportunity in Yoga, so let go of fear and enjoy it together and safely 😉.



It’s A Brand New Day !


Everyday is a new day to be a better you, so don’t worry, take it one day at a time making a little better version of you every day.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to make all the changes we want in our lives in one year.  January 1st comes around and we are supposed to jump into a new year as a completely new person. If this actually worked we would not have to do it every year…. just saying 😉


Try to make your goals more realistic.  For example; tomorrow I will get up 5 mins earlier and practice 15 mins of Yoga. Try doing this for one week, after you succeed you can add something else. Example; I have now succeeded at getting up a bit earlier and having a daily practice, I will try to add 5 mins of morning meditation, after that you can maybe add hot lemon water to your morning routine and so on. Taking baby steps, to slowly adding new healthy activities that fit your life style.



This week, in the studio, I will teach you a basic Yoga routine.  A short 15 min routine that we will repeat, like this you can see how much Yoga you can do in 15 mins and begin to add it to your home routine, helping you on your way to a healthy new year.

Treat everyday as a new opportunity.


Sleep more, laugh more, move more, love more, listen more, share more, and above all enjoy life!

Happy New Year!! Love light and good health to you all.

X Om Shanti

Weekly Class Theme: Sanskrit



I am constantly bragging about how wonderful my students are.  This weeks class theme, Sanskrit, was chosen by them and proves just why I am so lucky to have them as students!  They are always eager to better themselves and their practice.

What is Sanskrit you may ask.

“Sanskrit is the classical language of India and Hinduism. The language was systematically developed in regards to the natural progressions of sounds created by the human mouth.

Designed to be an unchanging and perfected mode of communication, it is believed Sanskrit belongs to no one and, thus, belongs to all.

Many words and mantras used within the practice of yoga are of Sanskrit origin.

The use of Sanskrit in India for literary and religious purposes is comparable to that of Latin throughout Europe, as both have been studied for more than two thousand years. Authoritative yogic texts, such as the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, were initially compiled in Sanskrit.

Also known as “the language of yoga,” Sanskrit terminology and concepts are pondered by practitioners of yoga to help better understand the power of one’s actions. Chanting Sanskrit mantras in this ancient language is particularly powerful because it focuses and calms one’s mind as well as promotes overall well-being.”



Also in the Indian traditions of knowledge the sounds of the Sanskrit language are believed to have a profound healing effect. The healing effect of the sequential flow of sounds in the Sanskrit language is said to not only ballance the mind and the body, but even extend further to create harmony in the collective consciousness of society as a whole.

An interesting point is that in order to experience the beneficial effect of the Sanskrit sounds, understanding the meaning is not necessary. This is because in Sanskrit there is a special connection between the sound and the meaning, between the name and the form it represents. In Sanskrit the sound and the meaning are not considered  as two different entities but as one and the same.

In other words, the sounds of Sanskrit carry the qualities of the meaning on the very level of their vibrational frequency. This means that even without understanding the meaning, chanting or listening to Sanskrit verses (or repeating short mantras in meditative procedures, or even reciting the flow of the Sanskrit alphabet) could generate a very beautiful effect on the mind and on the body.

Thus why I am a firm believer in using their names in our asana practice and most of you are already familiar with the use of this language in our chanting, but it excites me hear that you are not only listening but feeling the effects of it and wanting to learn more.

That is why this week I have created a sequence with most of our basic postures/asanas that we will repeat in a sequence a few times in the class to help the names stick into our minds along with a new chant.

Happy to share this experience with you all this week!

X om



Abhyasa /Practice: Weekly Class Theme


Abhyasa means having an attitude of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility.

Sutra 1.13

Practice is the effort to secure steadiness.

Sutra 1.14

This practice becomes well-grounded when continued without interruption over a long period of time.

What does Patañjali mean by practice. Near the beginning of the Yoga Sutras, he gives us some solid, practical advice.

Initially, the goal of yoga is to steady the mind, to clear it of chatter and random impulses. He defines practice (abhyasa) as the effort of will required to achieve stability in that calm and clear state, though not without significant effort:

You may start to feel the benefits of your practice immediately, but you are only going to become well-grounded in the practice—able to summon up a calm and clear state with minimum effort, or even find yourself living permanently in a state of mental ease—after much dedicated effort. Patañjali has something to say about just this point:

Sutra 1.21

The goal is near for those who practice with extreme intensity.

Sutra 1.22

Thus, there will be a difference if the effort put into practice is mild, moderate or great.

8 hours a day, 2 hours a day, three times a week is a lot of asana and out of reach for most. But, of course, the physical practice is only a small part of the equation. The simple techniques we learn and refine in the context of the physical practice we can take out into our daily life, commuting to work, waiting in line at the store, interacting with our coworkers, our family and loved ones. The entirety of your life can become a yoga practice, the hours of training the mind to achieve expertise and mastery of the state of living, moment by moment. And it is the quality of your practice that is important not the quantity.

Come and get some good quality practice in this week with me and your fellow yogis, and achieve the true feeling of Abhyasa (attitude of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility).

X om shanti

Weekly Class Theme: Strength


“Build up your strength to the point where you are not influenced by your surroundings; in fact, you can influence the surroundings instead.” Swami Satchidananda

This week we will work on a core strengthening sequence, so that we can float right up into our more difficult asanas/postures/life with grace, ease, and strength.

Purvottanasana, also know as reverse plank, is an invigorating chest opener and arm balance.  Stretching the shoulders, wrists and ankles, whilst strengthening the arms, legs, back and the entire core.  Wow, right?  So much impact from this asana!

We will work on this asana along with other arm balancing postures this week learning how to correctly engage the right muscle groups.

Come and join the fun 🙂



Weekly Class Theme: Anahata Chakra Vinyasa Flow


Supta Virasana; Photo by Heather Bonker


I have received a lot of great feedback from all of you after our Silent Themed classes last week. Many loved the opportunity to build a better mind body connection, as well as the meditative rhythm and flow.  With that in mind, I have decided to make this week’s class theme Anahata Chakra Vinyasa Flow.  Where you can connect with your heart engery and still enjoy the beautiful meditative sensation of our asana practice.

The word “Vinyasa” in Sanskrit can be translated as “to place something in a special way”. When you break down the root words “Vi” means “in a special way” and “Nyasa” means “to place”. In a Vinyasa Flow class, we coordinate our movement with our breath to flow from one pose to the next in a fluid sequence, like in Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations).

To put the words to test, I have created a nice flow routine, opening the chest to access our Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra). In Sanskrit, Anahata means “unhurt, unstuck, and unbeaten” and Chakra means wheel, a spinning wheel of energy or centers of spiritual power in the human body.

Within the body exist several minor chakras (energy centers) and 7 major chakras. The Heart Chakra is perfectly situated in the middle of your body, balancing the world of matter (our lower three chakras) with the world of spirit (our upper three chakras). We will continue to learn more about charkras in the weeks to come.

See you on the tapis 😉

X om

Weekly Class Theme: Body Harmony


Photo by: Lya Cattel

This week we will go through our standing asanas/poses to help bring harmony to the body.

Standing asanas are the key to all other poses. They are essential for increased flexibility, strength, self confidence, balance within and without.

In these postures we need to keep our focus on bringing together the past and the future to be able to fully indulge in the present moment. Becoming fully aware of our the asana by invigorating the entire body as well as finding inner and outer stillness.

Iyengar often uses the image of flamingos sleeping on one leg with their heads tucked under their wings, and says “that there is what we are looking for, in our postures.”
Standing poses also provide the entire body with knowledge on the principles of alignment, which are essential in performing all poses before moving to more difficult yoga asanas, like Salamba Sirsasana (supported headstand).  Leaving the body wanting more oxygen, activating the heart, allowing for an increasing boost of circulation throughout the body to places that may often be neglected, such as the joints, connective tissues and internal organs.  Making the standing asanas both energising and calming, allowing the body to find its natural harmony with a firm and supportive base.
If you would like to read more about standing asanas here is a good article to read from Yoga International and why its important to incorporate them into your home practice.
Hope to see you all this week to work on your body harmony.



Weekly Class Theme: Heal and Balance Your Fire Chakra


Manipura is our third chakra located at our solar plexus, just behind the navel, and is also known as the fire chakra. Manipura means city of jewels. The color of this third chakra is yellow and it is associated with our ego, will, sense of self, identity of self, sense of purpose, and digestion, not only of food but how we digest everything even emotions.

You will know that your fire charka is out of balance when you are feeling a lack of self confidence, confused, hard to self express making you either irritable, aggressive and in some playing the victim mentality. You may also have digestion issues,  and can make you feel lost or even depressed.

When in balance you will feel empowered by knowing who you are, your purpose. You will be more self confident and have a better understanding of your self and your relationships with others.

This week we will have the opportunity to use our practice to heal and balance our third chakra, Manipura. Using mudra, mantra and an asana practice to active that fire in our belly to better digest physically and mentally who we are and what we are feeling in this moment of our lives.

Another way you can heal your fire chakra is through eating foods associated with it’s color; pineapple, corn, yellow peppers, squash ect….

Here is a positive affirmation that you can use this week.  Say it out loud to yourself first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. Repeat it as many times as you’d like keeping your awareness on your city of jewels, Manipura, visualising the color yellow.

I do enough, I am more than enough, I accept myself and stand confidently in my power. I respect differences and express my identity without imposing my will upon others. I am in harmony with all I see. I live with integrity.

Have a lovely week.

I look forward to sharing this practice with you in the studio this week.

X om


Weekly Class Theme: Duality and Peace


This week we will be celebrating both the International Day of Peace and the Autumn Equinox.

“Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” Read more about the International day of peace. @ http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

Le Centre de Yoga du Marais will be observing the International Day of Peace on Sunday the 24th, with free classes all day.  I will be teaching a small 45mn class at 15h.  I would love to see some of you there to share our practice together in the meaning of Peace.

Here is a link to learn more about the open house.  http://www.yogamarais.com/yoga-workshopsateliers/

To celebrate these two beautiful days, the Autumn Equinox and the International Day of Peace, we will use a heart opening sequence. Allowing us to be more receptive of giving and receiving of compassion, as well as understanding during this time of year that we observe duality in ourselves and the world.

Yogis believe that the change of the seasons is a powerful time for our bodies energetically.  With the Autumn Equinox on Friday the 22nd this is a perfect time to bring balance to the mind, body and spirit.  Its is a time when there is duality between light and dark. The same duality that exists in each of us.  It is a time to prepare the body to rest after all the growth that the spring and summer months brought.  A time to reflect and transform.

Take this time to set intentions, and realign the body mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically so that we can be open for greater growth, understanding, and peace.

I hope this weeks practice will help prepare our mind, body and spirit move into to this beautiful transitional time of year with ease. Balancing the energies of the mind and body to align our bodies to the natural rhythms of the earth and the suns’ cycles so we can enjoy rest, contemplation and renewal during this dormant phase of the year, like trees shedding their leaves, to feel lighter we too can enjoy the sensation of letting go. 

X Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti


Class Theme: Balancing the Sacrum


In Saturdays class there was a question, “Can we stretch and rebalance our sacrum?” The answer. You can not stretch it directly, but you can use stretching of the surrounding muscles with certain asanas/postures to help bring it back to place, and I will show you this week in class.  😉

First a little anatomy.  Where and what is the sacrum?

Your sacrum is a small bone at the base of your spine that looks like an upside-down triangle. Found in the middle of your two hip bones, the ilia. These bones connect the spine to your legs. The sacrum is actually made up of five vertebrae that fuse together between age 18 to 30. The coccyx, which is located under the sacrum, and is made of three to five vertebrae that are naturally fused together. There is also a joint between the sacrum and the ilia, called the sacroiliac joint, or SI joint. I wont even mention all the ligaments connecting all these bones together making the sacrum really at the mercy of the muscles and bones that surround it.

Stretch too far or have a hard fall and it can shift out of place. Any injury to your sacrum you’ll probably only feel a dull pain. Instead of pain radiating down into your leg like some back injuries, a sacrum injury will hurt right in the area of the sacrum, the lowest part of your spine. As mentioned above, with the help of certain asanas stretching the surrounded muscles to reposition and aid in your recovery process.

We will focus on the asanas that stretch the folowing muscles; psoas (runing from the thigh bone through the length of the abs, originating on the lowest thoracic vertebra and each of the five lumbar vertebrae of the lower back, and extending down through the pelvis to attach on the inside of the upper femur, crossing three major joints—the hip socket, the joint between the lumbar spine, the sacrum, and the sacroiliac joint), piriformis (its most fundamental job is to provide stability to your sacrum, it sits behind the hip sockets, extending from the upper, outer corner of each femur to the sacrum), hip flexors (muscles across the front of the hips that affect the position of the pelvis, which in turn affects the position and movement of the lower back), and last but not least rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh, runs down the center of the thigh, and inserts on the shinbone (tibia) just below the knee extending and straightening the knee, and also flexes the hip).

Come join us this week and get a good anatomy lesson as well as bring a little more balance to your sacrum, relieving tension in the lower back.

X Om Shanti