Why Your Feet Hurt

You are not going to want to hear this.

Your feet hurt because of the shoes you wear.

Hold on a second! I can hear you saying. I wear practical, supportive footwear. I don’t even wear high heels! It is *not* my shoes.

I know. Your shoes may seem like a smart choice. But…it’s probably still your shoes.

Alright, the shoe thing is a bit of an oversimplification. Your feet probably hurt for a number of reasons. One is that our culture has created a flattened world so that our ankles, calves and feet are conditioned to walking only on artificially flat and hard terrain. This has consequences for our feet and our whole bodies, as our feet are deprived of the different kinds of movement and conditioning they would get if they had to walk on different textured and varied ground. And don’t even get me started on how much we sit. So partially your feet hurt because they don’t move enough, in enough different ways.

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“If you can’t do crow pose, you’re not a good person.” Nah. We don’t think so.

Sometimes when I am teaching, I feel a bit like a stand-up comedian. Depending on the mood and tone of the class, I might crack a lot of jokes, and add silly sound effects. Like a stand-up comedian, I try to poke fun at assumptions in our culture, usually those particular to the context of a yoga class.

With a sense of irony, I say things like:

“And if you can’t do crow pose, just know that you’re not as good of a person as everyone else.”

or

“Come out of this pose whenever you want. But you might not. Because peer pressure is real.”

When people laugh, I know I have struck a chord. The laughter denotes recognition of some sliver of truth. The truth that we still might be holding ideas about our physical abilities being equated to our moral character. Or how we have been conditioned to go along with a group, instead of listening to our individual needs.

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What Canada Can Be

At the start of June, I began our Wednesday Yoga in the Park sessions with a land acknowledgement.

I asked people to gather together near my mat, and I acknowledged that we all live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. And that a land acknowledgement is only the first step in growing awareness and beginning to redress the harm that has been done and continues to be done to the land and the First Nations people.

I was nervous. I am always nervous to do a land acknowledgement.

I think I am nervous for several reasons. One is that I am afraid people might be angry that I am bringing a political issue into a space where they might not have been expecting it. Another is that I am afraid I will somehow do it wrong, say it in a way that somehow shows my ignorance about the issues. Should I say First Nations or First Peoples? Should I say Indigenous or something else?

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We can’t believe what people are saying about us: a heartfelt letter from a QSY student

A Message from Leena & Emma

A few weeks ago we received the following email from a student named Melissa who has become a regular at QSY since January. Her email really struck a chord with us. Melissa shared what a difference the atmosphere at the studio has made to her yoga practice, how it has helped her shift her relationship to pain, to internal competitiveness, to what she needs to cultivate a happy life. It was so wonderful to hear how the attitude of kindness that we cultivate at Queen Street Yoga resonated with her, and allowed her to be kinder to herself.

It is beyond wonderful when students share with us what a difference yoga has made in their lives. Because often as teachers, we don’t know! Folks might say “thanks, that was great!” after class, but since yoga is really an internal conversation that each person has with themselves, we as teachers don’t often know what the impact is.

Writing realizations down, or verbalizing them can be powerful. This is why we are working harder to share more of our story in our newsletter and our blog. Just like Melissa showed us who she is and what she’s learning from yoga, we want to show you who we are, get more of a window into why we teach yoga, what it means to us.

For now, we want to share Melissa’s words with you. This is why we teach yoga: because time and time again we have seen how it opens people up to their relationship with themselves, brings them into conscious conversation with their lives, their bodies and the world. Continue reading

Introducing new offerings July-Aug 2018

Last week I experienced a huge win while teaching my Wednesday night Intro to Yoga class.

I have been teaching Intro to Yoga for 6 years. I have re-written the curriculum three times, trained numerous teachers to share it, and this spring it is undergoing it is fourth reincarnation.

The Intro includes all of the basic poses of yoga: downward dog, plank, lunges, Warrior poses, bridge, etc. Over the years I have learned how to integrate props into the class, making the poses more doable for more people. I have learned how to sequence the classes in a step-by-step way, introducing the poses and transitions slowly over time.

But something was still missing.

People who found certain poses challenging, for example a lunge, would come up into the lunge and wobble side to side. Their balance might improve a bit from week to week as they tried it again and again, but I noticed it would usually take the wobbliest students several months before they started to seem steadier in their lunge pose.

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Where did all the Chatturungas go?

Emma here!

You might have noticed some gradual changes in classes at QSY. Leena and I and many of our teachers have been incorporating movements like squats and push-ups into our yoga flows. “Where did the Chatturungas go?” you might be wondering. “Why are we doing squats in a yoga class?” You’re not alone in wondering this! This post will let you in on how and why our yoga teaching is changing and evolving

Functional Movement

You might have heard this term, as it has been getting a lot of buzz in the last few years. Functional Movement refers to movements or exercises that prepare the body to do the things that you do in everyday life – like get in and out of your car or bed, stoop down to pick up your toddler, carry groceries or keep yourself from slipping and falling on the ice. A lot of yoga poses can help you feel stronger and more able to do these movements, but many yoga poses are not that functional – they don’t help you become stronger or more flexible in “useful” ways. There can be different kinds of benefits to some of these poses – maybe they invoke a quality of reflection or introspection, even if they don’t help you move better in your daily life. We think there is room for all different kinds of movements in a yoga practice, whether they are immediately useful to you, or useful in a less tangible way. Continue reading

QSY’s 2017 Gift Giving Guide

The season of gift-giving is fast 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 7-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. Send your emails to info@queenstreetyoga.com!

1. Treat your feet! – Toe Spreaders

 

As we exchange our bare feet and sandals for winter boots, our feet will get less and less natural movement and spread. To keep your feet more supple during the winter months, we suggest Joy-a-Toes Toe Spreaders! Joy-a-Toes have been known to help address and correct bunions and foot pain by waking up the lines of connective tissue in the feet. Wear them while reading a book, doing restorative yoga, or watching a holiday movie. Your feet will thank you.

2. Treat a Friend! – Gift Certificates

Encourage your friends to try out our studio with a Queen Street Yoga Gift Certificate! Let them know that we offer drop-in classes of varying levels, and Intro to Yoga courses if they’d like to learn the fundamentals in a progressive way.

You can purchase gift certificates online,  and print them at home. We also have beautiful printed gift certificates at the studio when you purchase them in-person at the studio. Gift certificates are available in any amount.

3. Calm your Mind – Meditation Cushions

Check out the beautiful new patterns that Half Moon released this fall! We love them. We can order any colour or pattern for you. If you want your cushion in time for Christmas, email us your order by Dec 4th. Check out shophalfmoon.com to see the variety of colours offered!


4. Give yourself a Massage — Anywhere, Anytime

Who doesn’t love a good massage? With an Acuball  or a set of Yoga Tune Up balls, you can give yourself a massage at home anytime. There are lots of instructional videos online with different ideas of how to use them. Watch an Acuball video here  and a Yoga Tune Up video on upper back here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. For Deep Relaxation 

Do you ever feel like you just need to lie down? That’s what our Rest & Renew class is all about. Rest at home with some of our favourite props:

Eye Pillows (unscented or with natural lavender) are a nice compact gift that can help someone rest their eyes – either on the couch or in a restorative yoga pose.

 

 

Therapy pillows are larger, and can be heated or cooled and placed on the body to promote rest and healing.

 

 

 

Bolsters can be used for supportive restorative poses, meant to rest the nervous system. Learn various ways to use a bolster in our Thursday 7:45pm Rest & Renew class or  download a restorative yoga sequence from our blog.

 

6. For the Committed Yoga Practitioner – B Mats

We love B Mats. Many people have reported that their wrists and knees are much happier in their yoga practice after practicing on one of these mats. They are an investment, but they last a long time and endure the test of time.

Just this week we got these lovely leather B Mat straps in to the studio! These luxe straps are a lovely gift to yourself, or your closest yoga-mat-toting friend.

 

 

 

 

 

Images in this post created by B-Mat, Half Moon Yoga Products, Acuball and Yoga Tune-Up.