Let’s Talk Shop: Collaborative Learning for Yoga Teachers

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? Ever since my 200 hour YTT ended, I’ve been squeaking away about wanting another opportunity to learn in relationship with others, in community.

I remember how awesome it was to move, observe and discuss the intricacies of anatomy, philosophy and politics with a diverse group of people, and I miss that. I’ve kept on learning on my own, and while self inquiry and practice is important, it’s just not the same thing, watching videos on my laptop and farting around on my mat at home.

Good news: with the announcement of the Queen Street Yoga Teacher’s Immersion, Leena and Emma have just greased up this squeaky wheel big time, and now I’m swirling like a merry-go-round! I know what it’s like to learn at QSY because I did my initial 200-hour training there, and what I experienced was excellent pedagogy, diverse and forward-looking perspectives, and outside experts brought in with intentionality and purpose. Beyond that, Leena and Emma are masterful at holding space, nurturing community and guiding both individual and group learning with consistent and clear support and care. The way they lead trainings with both wisdom and curiosity, experience and reflection is inspiring and makes for a true learning community.

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Let Someone Else Cook – Fall Retreat

I called it my artist’s retreat, to describe to others why I was going away all by myself.  I have always been one to juggle too many balls in the form of jobs, socializing, craft projects and learning new things. A few balls in particular had been dropped for too long, so I decided to set aside some time just for them. I began constructing an agenda of how I’d spend my time on my fantastic retreat: yoga practice, meditation, plenty of sleep, hikes and bike rides through the wilderness, and above all, making a lot of art.

I booked a cabin for the week leading up to the Summer Solstice. I was ready to get up early, tackle my art and get somewhere with my meditation and yoga practice. But my retreat had something else in store for me.

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Why we’re jealous of yoga teachers in KW

Emma from Queen Street Yoga here. And if you are a yoga teacher in KW, I’m jealous of you.  😉

When I did my teacher training, I had to travel. Not to glamourous locations like Costa Rica or India, but to small studios in freezing Winnipeg and land-locked Cincinnati. I travelled because I am picky – I knew who I wanted to study with, and I was willing to go the distance. I slept on couches, spent hours on Greyhound buses. One time I even got turned away from the US border (that is a story for another day). It was exciting to see new places and learn new things, but it was also a slog.

I experienced wonderful bonds and community with the people in my trainings (200hr and beyond), but it was hard to sustain the excitement and conversation once I returned homeLeena was the only other yoga teacher in KW that was studying the same type of yoga as me. So for a long time, it was just her and I, talking about teaching and practicing together.

Leena and I took over the leadership of Queen Street Yoga in 2012 and since then, have created the kind of yoga teacher trainings that we wish we could have taken. Leena also travelled a lot for training, and while it was cool for her to study with Ram Dass in Maui (just a little name-dropping for ya), it lacked the continuity and growth that comes with ongoing community. Our teacher trainings in the last few years have aimed to connect individuals to a lively and regular sense of community – that “thing” that most of us are seeking in our lives. With the practice of yoga and mindfulness at the centre, our trainings have evolved to become transformative communities.

Here’s where my jealousy comes in. This year, Leena and I have curated a Continuing Education program for yoga and movement teachers with some of the top teachers in Canada. All of them are leaders in their fields, and they are doing wonderful things for the world of movement education.

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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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Thank you Amanda!

Amanda Soikie, one of our core teachers at Queen Street Yoga, will be moving on from teaching yoga as of September 1st. We are sad to see her go and excited that she has chosen to take a new direction in her career. We will miss Amanda so much and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge her invaluable contributions to the Queen Street Yoga community.

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Amanda has been a core teacher at QSY for the past 5 years. She has taught a wide range of classes and workshops both at the studio and in the community, including kids yoga, and classes for women recovering from addictions and folks facing housing instability. Amanda brought so much care and authenticity to her classes and the relationships she cultivated with her students. We learned so much from Amanda and we imagine you’ll see her around the studio practicing on the mat next to you. As she leaves us to begin a new chapter in her professional life, we wish Amanda success, learning, joy and peace.
All of Amanda’s regular drop-in classes will stay on the schedule, and will be taught by our other wonderful teachers; Carin, Leslie and Amanda Ingall. Amanda Soikie will be teaching her regular classes until the end of August, so stop in for a class to give her your well-wishes.
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Emma’s Teaching Break

2014-09-07_1410113541This summer I am taking a four-month break from teaching, and I’ll be getting on a train and going out to the west coast of Canada. I’m intending to spend some time on the beautiful island of Haida Gwaii, and also visit some friends in Alberta, B.C. and Oregon.

I am excited to take a break from teaching, as there are many things that I am currently learning and churning about human movement, and I want to give myself some time to digest and practice outside of the space of teaching. Continue reading

Introducing Naturopathic Medicine at QSY

 

We have been offering Registered Massage Therapy and Registered Acupuncture for several years at QSY in our wellness space. This June we are excited to welcome Laura, a Naturopathic Doctor, to our wellness practitioner team! Here’s a post where Laura introduces herself and her approach.

lauraHello! My name is Laura Tummon Simmons, and I’m a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) in Ontario. I’m very blessed to say I’m starting my private practice at Queen Street Yoga (QSY) in Kitchener in June of 2016. I grew up in the Waterloo Region and attended Cameron Heights, just down the street, before completing my degrees in Toronto. Currently, I’m transitioning back to the region, while completing an additional clinical residency program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I became an ND because I believe in the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, and I wanted to establish long-term care with my patients.

People often don’t know about naturopathic medicine apart from what they may read in the public sphere, so for my first blog entry here with QSY I thought it might be a good place to start explaining a little bit about naturopathic medicine in general, and what you can expect if you or someone you know chooses to see me.

First of all, what is naturopathic medicine? Naturopathic medicine or naturopathy is a field of health care which involves the treatment of individuals with natural therapies and behavioural changes. These therapies aim to support each patient’s condition uniquely. Depending on your case some of these various treatments may include: acupuncture, botanical medicine, nutrition/dietary changes, supplementation, lifestyle changes, hydrotherapy, and counselling. Ultimately, the goals of treatment are to help identify causes of disease in a whole-person model, provide you with sustainable changes and education to help manage symptoms, and potentially prevent future harm. Naturopathic doctors are a self-regulated profession under the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. Continue reading